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History and Culture

  • Explores Varying Interpretations of Historic Events
  • Identifies Patterns and Trends
  • Provides Lively Discussion and Debate

To understand the present, we first must know the past. These courses focus on the origins of civilization, explore the causes and effects of world events, and debate conflicting interpretations of past events. From the world stage to New York City’s five boroughs, examine how history impacts our lives today.

This Spring, study from anywhere in the world in the safety and comfort of your home through online or remote instruction.

From Central Park to the High Line: New York's Urban Landscapes

Through lively online discussions, trace the history of the design of public spaces in New York City.

2021 Spring
1 section

Leaders in Crisis: American Presidents Who Saved Our Country

Examine some of the key moments of presidential leadership throughout American history, with an eye to our own time.

2021 Spring
1 section

Race and Ethnicity in the Ancient Mediterranean

Examine race and ethnicity in the ancient Western world through art, literature, and archaeology.

2021 Spring
1 section

The Design and Architecture of New York City's Public Transportation System

Discover the aesthetic treasures of New York City’s public transportation system, both present and past.

2021 Spring
1 section

The European Middle Ages: The Rise and Demise of a Civilization, 400-1500

Explore the history of Europe, from the end of the western half of the Roman Empire to the eve of the Reformation.

2021 Spring
1 section

The Evolution of the Right to Privacy

Explore what privacy means today and how the right to privacy has varied over the course of American history.

2021 Spring
1 section

The Fight Against Black Voter Suppression

Understand how voter suppression works and learn ways that allies can advocate for communities of color and fight voter suppression.

2021 Spring
1 section

The Rise of Italian Fascism

Explore how socioeconomic conditions, fear of communism, and the use of violence led to the rise of fascism in Italy after World War I.

2021 Spring
1 section

The Three Branches of Government in the 20th and 21st Centuries: Do They Form a "More Perfect Union"?

This course explores the history of the relationships among the three branches of the US government in the 20th and 21st centuries.

2021 Spring
1 section

Traveling the Silk Road: The Evolution of China and What It Means for the United States

Learn the postwar history of China from the perspective of political, diplomatic, and economic history.

2021 Spring
1 section

Understanding Race in a Global Context

Learn to understand and discuss race in a global context.

2021 Spring
1 section

Italian I

Acquire the basic pronunciation, vocabulary, useful expressions, and fundamental grammatical notions for effective communication in Italian.

2021 Spring
1 section

Jane Austen's Regency Insights

Explore Regency England through the writings of Jane Austen.

2021 Spring
1 section

American Gothic: Films of the Midwest

Explore films depicting the American Midwest, discussing the movies, directors, history, and themes that distinguish them from other films.

2021 Spring
1 section

An Introduction to Intersectionality: Positioning and Situating Identities

Learn how our different identities relate to social norms and how we can become better allies for every member of our society.

2021 Spring
1 section

An Introduction to Islamic History

Explore Islamic history during the first six centuries of its existence.

2021 Spring
1 section

International Relations

Gain an in-depth understanding of the post-Cold War world order and the Cold War’s impact on current geopolitical and economic landscapes.

2021 Spring
1 section

Microaggressions and Racial Stress: Reducing Harmful Interactions

Learn to identify and reduce microaggressions and to communicate effectively with people of color.

2021 Spring
1 section

Reading Ancient Greek

If you have a basic knowledge of ancient Greek, use your skills to read and discuss an ancient Greek work that changes each semester.

2021 Spring
1 section

Seeing Things Our Way: Art as Propaganda

Explore how art has been used as propaganda from early Greece to the United States in the 20th century.

2021 Spring
1 section

The Art and Architecture of Sicily: Byzantine, Islamic, and Northern European Influences

Explore the multicultural history, art, and architecture of Sicily.

2021 Spring
1 section

The Rise of Hip Hop Music: From America's Urban Centers to the Heart of American Culture

Learn about the history of hip hop and its influence on global music, fashion, and culture.

2021 Spring
1 section

People of the North

Learn about the Inuit and Yupik peoples, including the hunting culture, storytelling traditions, and other forms of literary and artistic expression.

2021 Spring
1 section

A Brief History of Wales

Study Wales from the Middle Ages to the present to learn about its history and cultural heritage.

A Day at Machu Picchu

Explore the rich cultural history of the Inca from ancient and colonial to modern times.

A Day with the Maya: Visiting Chichen Itza

Engage in an in-depth exploration of the glories and enigmas of ancient Maya civilization.

A Food History of New York

Explore the history of New York City’s food culture.

A History of Manhattan's Changing Neighborhoods

Join us via Zoom for six “walks” through the history of various Manhattan neighborhoods.

A History of Rome: From the Founding of the City to the Death of Emperor Justinian

Explore ancient Roman history and trace its evolution from a city-state monarchy to a republic and then to an empire.

England's Medieval Heroes and Heroines

Explore Britain’s medieval legacy through some of its remarkable characters, from Eleanor of Aquitaine to Gundulf of Rochester.

England's Royal Scandals: Past and Present

Study past royal scandals to put the more recent events into historical perspective and to explore intriguing comparisons.

From Peter to Putin: The Evolution of the Kremlin and Russia's Place in the World from Empire to the 21st Century

This course provides a narrative of modern Russian history that frames an analysis of contemporary Russian politics and leadership.

Georgian England: From Country House to City Mansion

Explore the trends, tastes, and designs of those who commissioned the elegant 18th-century country houses of Georgian England.

Great Civilizations of the Ancient Andean World

Gain an in-depth introduction to ancient Andean civilizations including the Inca, Moche, and Chavín cultures.

Great Modern Speeches: From Roosevelt to Churchill, from Kennedy to King

Explore famous speeches and the characteristics that made them successful.

Italian Nobility: The Lesser Princely Courts

Examine the political and cultural significance of the Italian princely courts in their proper historical context through a literary lens.

New York Today

Examine the top issues facing New York City today.

Petty Tyrants and Princes: The Fabled Families of Italy

Uncover the politics, influence, imagination, and intrigues of the important Italian families of the early Renaissance.

Race, Criminal Justice, and the Constitution

Explore the major constitutional issues that are involved in the administration of criminal justice, and examine how race pervades them.

Significant and Controversial Presidential Elections and Campaigns in American History

Analyze the electoral process, including the anger and venom that have been part of US presidential elections since 1796.

The Development of the Modern European State: 1914-1989

Study the changes brought about by WWI, which altered the nature of political institutions, governmental structures, and social movements.

The Evolution of American Free Speech

Explore the key free speech debates that have demarcated the boundaries of what can—and cannot—be said in the United States.

The Foundations of the Modern World

Examine the historical and social changes in Europe from the 15th to 17th centuries that influenced science, medicine, and culture.

The Roberts Court and 21st-Century Cases

Examine the political, economic, and cultural influence of the landmark decisions of the Roberts Court.

The Syrian Civil War and Cold War Politics in the 21st Century

Learn about the history of the Syrian Civil War and analyze the involvement and responses of international players to the Middle East crisis.

The Three Branches of Government: Do They Form a "More Perfect Union"?

Explore the history of the relationships, as well as the ebbs and flows of power, among the three branches of the US government.

Walking and Talking New York

Gain familiarity with major events and figures in New York City history through four walking tours and four lively slide-illustrated talks.

Wine Online: From the Old World to the New World

This course will give you a foundation for a lifetime of wine appreciation.

A Holistic Look at Iran: Economics, Religion, Politics, and More

Take a holistic look at the various aspects of Iran: environment, ethnolinguistic composition, religious proclivities, economics, and politics.

New York in The Age of Innocence

Explore New York City at the time of Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence.

1914: The History of the Descent into World War I

This full-day course will trace the origins of World War I, from its beginnings in the French Revolution to its volcanic eruption in 1914.

Global Hotspots Through Foreign Film

Watch powerful foreign films that serve as catalysts for post-screening discussions about present-day issues in the associated geopolitical regions.

History of American Television: The Sitcom

Explore the evolution of the American situation comedy and analyze popular sitcoms from different eras.

The American Jewish Experience on Film

Explore films of Jewish history and experience, discussing the movies, directors, and themes, as well as the contextual history and settings.

The Changing City: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

In eight illustrated lectures, see how New York neighborhoods change with the times, and how the look of the City itself changes.

Themes in 20th-Century NYC Cultural History

Explore New York City’s cultural history from the 1910s to the 1970s through art, literature, and architecture.

The Muslim Ban and Refugee Crisis in a Historical Perspective

This course will trace how the intertwined histories of the Middle East and United States set the stage for the contemporary moment.