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

Cold War in the Middle East: Saudi Arabia and Iran

This course will consider the rivalry between the two most powerful countries in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia and Iran, as a kind of...

2021 Fall
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 Fall
1 section

The Great Cathedrals of Medieval Europe: From France to Sicily

Take an exploratory journey from Paris to Sicily to uncover the breathtaking ingenuity of Europe’s medieval cathedrals. From the dramatic...

2021 Fall
1 section

The Greatest of American Tragedies: The Civil War and Reconstruction

Explore the major events and fraught legacies of the American Civil War and Reconstruction.

2021 Fall
1 section

The Italian Response to the Holocaust

A majority of Italy’s small Jewish population survived the Holocaust, a fact often attributed to a relative lack of anti-Semitism, as well...

2021 Fall
1 section

The Vanderbilts' America

Explore the Gilded Age through the lens of the rich and powerful Vanderbilt family

2021 Fall
1 section

This Year at the Supreme Court

This one-session course will explore some of the major cases at the Supreme Court from this past year. Using excerpts from the Court's...

2021 Fall
1 section

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.

2021 Fall
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 Fall
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 Fall
1 section

Understanding Race in a Global Context

Learn to understand and discuss race in a global context.

2021 Fall
1 section

Microaggressions and Racial Stress: Reducing Harmful Interactions

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

2021 Fall
1 section

Midway to the Midterms: Politics, Priorities, and Policy

Almost a year into the Biden administration and with the congressional midterm elections next year, the United States continues to face serious...

2021 Fall
1 section

Spies at War: Fact vs. Fiction

World War II was a critical challenge for the intelligence services of the major powers, laying the groundwork for espionage during the Cold War...

2021 Fall
1 section

Global Uncertainty: Money, Diplomacy, and Technological Change in the 21st Century World

What should we expect from the 21st century? A period of Great Power war, similar to the 20th century, or a long and commercial peace, similar...

2021 Fall
1 section

1900: Turn-of-the-Century Culture in Vienna, Paris, and London

Trace fin-de-siècle cultural developments in three metropolitan capitals that proved to be seedbeds of the birth of modernism.

2021 Summer
1 section

Henry James and His Life in London

Gain an understanding late Victorian London through Henry James’s astute observations in his essays about the city he knew so well.

2021 Summer
1 section

America in the World: US Politics and Government in the Post-Trump Era

Explore how studying other democracies can shed light on the troubled present—and possible future—of American politics and government.

2021 Summer
1 section

Behind the Scenes in New York: Preserving a City of Historic Neighborhoods

Gain a community-based view of how neighborhoods use the New York City Landmarks Law to determine the future of their communities.

2021 Summer
1 section

Central Park's Neighborhoods, East and West

Learn about the history and development of the Upper East Side and Upper West Side neighborhoods as we know them today.

2021 Summer
1 section

The Politics of Containment and Its Legacies into the 21st Century

Learn the about the US Cold War policy of containment and its ripple effects that can still be seen and felt today.

2021 Summer
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 Summer
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 Summer
1 section

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 Royal Scandals: Past and Present

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

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.

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.

Great Civilizations of the Ancient Andean World

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

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.

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.

New York Today

Examine the top issues facing New York City today.

Race and Ethnicity in the Ancient Mediterranean

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Wine Online: From the Old World to the New World

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

Italian I

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

Jane Austen's Regency Insights

Explore Regency England through the writings of Jane Austen.

New York in The Age of Innocence

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

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.

An Introduction to Islamic History

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.