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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.

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.

2020 Fall
1 section

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.

2020 Fall
1 section

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.

2020 Fall
1 section

New York Today

Examine the top issues facing New York City today.

2020 Fall
2 sections

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.

2020 Fall
1 section

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.

2020 Fall
1 section

New York in The Age of Innocence

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

2020 Fall
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.

2020 Fall
1 section

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.

2020 Fall
1 section

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.

2020 Fall
1 section

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.

2020 Fall
1 section

Great Civilizations of the Ancient Andean World

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

2020 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.

2020 Fall
1 section

Understanding Race in a Global Context

Learn to understand and discuss race in a global context.

2020 Fall
1 section

Wine Online: From the Old World to the New World

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

2020 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.

2020 Fall
1 section

Italian I

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

2020 Fall
1 section

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.

2020 Fall
1 section

Microaggressions and Racial Stress: Reducing Harmful Interactions

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

2020 Fall
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.

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.

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

Explore famous speeches and the characteristics that made them successful.

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.

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 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 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.

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.

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.

An Introduction to Islamic History

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

History of American Television: The Sitcom

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

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.

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.