FICTION

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Kimberly Clarke is a writer, independent scholar and educator based in Alexandria, Virginia where she pursues her research interests in 19th century Transatlantic studies, Classical studies, and Caribbean Literature. She is committed to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the education sector. Dr. Clarke has over a decade of experience engaging in outreach programs and initiatives that pursue cross-cultural partnerships with diverse populations. 

Who are your people?” A simple question to ask, but often a difficult one to answer if you consider that we are all a heterogenous mixture of cultures, ethnicities, and categories. These readings will prompt us to probe the history of race and identity in the United States and the ways in which that history continues to live on. Four Wednesdays:October 7, 14, 21, 28, at 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Online Class.

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Christopher Griffin studied literature at Trinity College and University College in Dublin and in US colleges. He taught humanities for 28 years at Strayer University, Irish literature at George Washington University for eight years, and classes on various topics (including Joyce’s fiction) at Politics and Prose for over 25 years.  He was a study leader on 18 Smithsonian Journeys and has lectured at Smithsonian Associates.

This course is an introduction to James Joyce’s Ulysses, which many consider the seminal novel of the 20th Century.  If Ulysses has been on your bucket list but you never got round to reading this great novel, this course will make it easier for you. The class will explore the depths of this complex novel, both beginner and veteran students are most welcome to partake in the class and as Joyce said: "so many enigmas and puzzles that it will keep the professors busy for centuries arguing over what I meant." In our five sessions we will look at the overall structure of the novel and concentrate on the more accessible and humorous sections. Five consecutive Fridays: October 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Class Online.

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Maria Frawley is a Professor of English at George Washington University, where she teaches courses in nineteenth-century literature and regularly offers seminars on Jane Austen. She has authored books and articles on nineteenth-century women writers, including Jane Austen, Anne Brontë, Charlotte Brontë, Elizabeth Gaskell, and Harriet Martineau. Co-editor of the forthcoming Companion to Jane Austen with Routledge University Press, she is also at work on a book titled Keywords of Jane Austen’s Fiction.

Charlotte Brontë's last novel Villette (1853), though less frequently read and taught than Jane Eyre, is arguably the nineteenth-century novel's most sustained study of a character's interiority. (Take that, Henry James!). In this class, we will explore and discuss this often overlooked text. Four Saturdays: October 10, 17, 24, 31, from 10 am to noon. Online Class.

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Richard C. Sha is a Professor of Literature and Philosophy at American University, where he has been honored with three teaching awards. His latest book, Imagination and Science in Romanticism, is forthcoming in paperback in 2021. The book won the Jean-Pierre Barricelli Prize in 2018, and was recently recognized by the National Endowment for the Humanities. He has taught courses with Nathan Harshman, Professor of Physics at AU.

Science and literature have long been thought to be enemies. The humanities specifically excluded science, because science was thought to reduce imagination and creativity. Mary Shelley and Tom Stoppard show that nothing could be further from the truth. In this class, we will examine how both authors consider science. Two Wednesdays: October 28 and November 4, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Online Class.

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Morgan Harding is an avid reader and the host of Politics and Prose’s A Seat at the Table book group. She holds a MA in Literature from American University.

Bernardine Evaristo, the first Black woman to win the Booker Prize, paints a broad picture of the lives of twelve different characters that mostly identify as Black women living in the UK in her novel Girl, Woman, Other. In this class, we will discuss how each character is defined by their race, gender, and class identities and how those identities define their lives. Two Sundays: November 1 and 8, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Online Class.

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Howard Norman received the Lannan Prize in fiction. He is the author of nine novels and three memoirs, and a number of books for children. His latest novel, The Ghost Clause, which is set in Vermont, was published in July, 2019.  He has taught for thirty years in the MFA program at the University of Maryland. He is on the faculty of the Napa Valley Literary Conference and the Squaw Valley Literary Conference. His forthcoming memoir, The Wound Is The Place The Light Enters You, is about friendship and the painter Jake Berthot.

One of Franz Kafka's most powerful yet enigmatic works, Letter To My Father, is the topic of our discussion.  We will think about Elias Canetti's assertion that the book is "autobiographical by indirection;"  we will discuss, of course, what is known about Kafka's actual relationship with his father and how different biographies address this;  we will talk about the various translations of this work; we will talk about the work in relation to Kafka's notebooks and recorded conversations with friends; we will discuss the work as an autonomously bold act of narrative imagination.  Of course, this all will end in an open discussion. Monday, November 9, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Online Class.
With

Kimberly Clarke is a writer, independent scholar and educator based in Alexandria, Virginia where she pursues her research interests in 19th century Transatlantic studies, Classical studies, and Caribbean Literature. She is committed to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the education sector. Dr. Clarke has over a decade of experience engaging in outreach programs and initiatives that pursue cross-cultural partnerships with diverse populations. 

In the age of Black Lives Matter, Brit Bennett’s The Vanishing Half compels us to probe narratives about racial and gender identity that we inherit, internalize and pass down to future generations. Join us for this spotlight to discuss how the novel is part of a centuries-long lineage of American literature about the act of passing and its psychological consequences. Two Mondays: November 23, 30, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Online Class.

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Michele L. Simms-Burton, PhD is a former tenured university professor and founding board member of the Toni Morrison Society. Her writings have appeared in The Crisis Magazine, DownBeat, DC Metro Theater Arts, Auburn Avenue, and San Francisco Chronicle. She has lectured globally on African American culture.

Join former Howard University and University of Michigan professor Michele L. Simms-Burton for lively and spirited discussions of Toni Morrison’s first three novels, The Bluest Eye, Sula, and Song of Solomon. Four Saturdays: November 7, 14, 21, December 5, from noon to 2 p.m. Online Class.

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Leigha McReynolds has a PhD in English Literature. Her dissertation was on science and the supernatural in 19th Century British Literature, but her current research focus is contemporary science fiction. Leigha is a professor in the writing program at The George Washington University where she uses science fiction to engage students across disciplines. In addition to teaching, she runs a writing coaching business to help aspiring writers of all kinds achieve their personal and professional goals.

The first of Denis Villenueve’s two Dune movies is scheduled for release on December 18, 2020. Join this class to read and discuss the source novel: Frank Herbert’s Dune (1965). The stature and popularity of Dune, and its place in the science fiction canon, are hard to overstate. In this seminar-style discussion-based class, we’ll work through why Dune is categorically considered a masterpiece, how it retains its relevance in our world, and when we might need to critique its monolithic presence.  Three Tuesdays: December 1, 8, 15, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Online Class.

WRITING

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Natasha Scripture is an author with a passion for transformational nonfiction. Her debut memoir Man Fast: A Memoir came out in June 2019, and was featured in The Washington Post as one of The 10 books to read in June. Her personal essays have been published in The New York Times, The Telegraph, Glamour UK, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Boston Globe, The New York Post, Marie Claire, and The Atlantic, among other publications.

Join author, journalist and gender expert Natasha Scripture for an enriching exploration of the power of self-inquiry in women’s memoir writing. Four Thursdays: October 8, 15, 22 and 29, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Online Class. SOLD OUT: To be placed on the wait list, please email classes@politics-prose.com and include class reference, your name, email and phone number.

With

Mathina Calliope is a writer, teacher, editor, and writing coach. Her writing has appeared in Longreads, Cagibi, Outside, Deep Wild, the Rumpus, the Wall Street Journal, and elsewhere. A former newspaper journalist, she has an MFA and more than 16 years’ experience teaching writing to students ages 9 to 89. Learn more: www.mathinacalliope.com

This four-session course will help members write their memories into scenes by responding to writing prompts, by workshopping essays and excerpts, and by studying Dinty W. Moore’s Crafting the Personal Essay. Four Tuesdays: October 20, 27, November 10, 17 from 10 a.m. to noon. Online Class.

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Bob Levey spent 36 years on the staff of The Washington Post. For 23 of those years, he wrote “Bob Levey’s Washington,” a daily column about local life. Seven times, he was named one of the most popular columnists in Washington by Washingtonian Magazine. Levey has taught journalism at six major research universities. He is the author or co-author of four books. He has also had extensive careers as a radio and television talk show host and commentator.  

Join prize-winning former Washington Post columnist Bob Levey for a spirited, detailed look at how to write a compelling piece of informed opinion. Students will examine more than a dozen pieces by famous writers, and will learn how to approach and create a worthy column, blog, review or essay. Four Wednesdays: November 11, 18, 25, December 2, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Online Class. SOLD OUT: To be placed on the wait list, please email classes@politics-prose.com and include class reference, your name, email and phone number.

With

Nicole Miller's prize-winning essays have appeared recently in New Letters and Arts & Letters magazines. Her fiction has been published twice in The Mays, edited by Jill Paton Walsh and Sebastian Faulks. She received an M.Phil. in Victorian Literature from Lincoln College, Oxford; a PhD in English at University College, London; and an MFA at Emerson College, Boston, where she held the Graduate Fellowship in Creative Writing. At The Oxford English Dictionary, she has served as a scholarly reader for British Dialects since 2002. She edits faculty manuscripts in Harvard’s English Department and teaches nineteenth and twentieth century British literature at Politics and Prose in Washington D.C.

In this class, we will read a generous heaping of Chekhov’s short stories in translation, and also some of his letters focused on craft, in order to write pieces of 100 lines (Chekhov’s own publishing limit). This class will be part-discussion and part-workshop, with exercises and fiction of your own making. Five Thursdays, November 5, 12, 19, and December 3, 10, from 6:00 p.m.to 8:00 p.m.Online Class.

POLITICS & PLACE

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Heba F. El-Shazli is an Egyptian-American and an avid lover and reader of literature from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. She is an assistant professor of political science at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s Master’s Degree Program at the Center for Democracy and Civil Society. Heba teaches courses on governments and politics of the Middle East and North Africa, Islam and politics, international relations, and the role of civil society and social movements in democratization. She has a Ph.D. in Planning, Governance, and Globalization (PGG) with a specialization in Governance and International Affairs from Virginia Tech’s School of Public and International Affairs and a Master’s degree from Georgetown University. She was the Director of MENA programs at the Solidarity Center (2004-2011) and the Deputy MENA Regional Director at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) from 2001 until 2004. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (www.cfr.org)

This is another class in the series on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) to delve into the history, politics, culture and society of the Arab-Jewish community in the MENA region and their flight from their homes in the Arab countries (post WWII) and currently, the “return” via the arts, novels, cinema and television. Note date adjustments. Five Tuesdays: September 8, 22, October 6, 20, (skip November 3) add Nov. 10, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Online Class.

With

Supriya Goswami teaches courses in literature (with special focus on Africa and South Asia), culture, and politics at Georgetown University. She has previously taught at California State University, Sacramento and at George Washington University. She is the author of Colonial India in Children’s Literature (Routledge, 2012), which is the first book-length study to explore the intersections of British, Anglo-Indian, and Bengali children’s literature and defining historical moments in colonial India. She is currently working on her second book, Colonial Wars in Children’s Literature. She has also published in such scholarly journals as the Children’s Literature Association Quarterly, South Asian Review, and Wasafiri.

In this class, we will consider historical, political, cultural, and economic impact of Empire—both at home and away--through the lens of two classic British novels: Frances H. Burnett’s The Secret Garden and E.M. Forster’s A Passage to India. We will also consider the complex legacy of Empire by discussing Mohsin Hamid’s collection of essays, Discontent and its Civilizations, which gives us an astute look at postcolonial Pakistan in a globalizing world. Three Thursdays: October 29, November 5 and 12, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Online Class.

With

Janet Hulstrand is a writer, editor, writing coach, and teacher who lives in Essoyes, a beautiful village in southern Champagne, on the border of Burgundy. She writes frequently for Bonjour Paris, France Today, and France Revisited, as well as for her blog, Writing from the Heart, Reading for the Road. She is the author of Demystifying the French: How to Love Them, and Make Them Love You, and is currently working on her memoir, A Long Way from Iowa. She has taught Paris: A Literary Adventure for the City University of New York since 1997, and literature and culture classes at Politics & Prose since 2011. Janet's 'insider' perspective, developed over more than 40 years of living, working, traveling, and teaching in France, as well as her perspective as a writer/editor, will lend depth and interest to our discussions.

For everyone who can't travel right now, join Janet Hulstrand, a writer who lives in a beautiful village in southern Champagne, for a literary tour of France. This class will take you into the heart of France through exploration of la France profonde as seen by four American writers who are long-term residents of France. No need to pack your bags, no jet lag, no airports! Five Fridays: October 2, 16, 30, November 13, 20, from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Online Class.

With

Heba F. El-Shazli is an Egyptian-American and an avid lover and reader of literature from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. She is an assistant professor of political science at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s Master’s Degree Program at the Center for Democracy and Civil Society. Heba teaches courses on governments and politics of the Middle East and North Africa, Islam and politics, international relations, and the role of civil society and social movements in democratization. She has a Ph.D. in Planning, Governance, and Globalization (PGG) with a specialization in Governance and International Affairs from Virginia Tech’s School of Public and International Affairs and a Master’s degree from Georgetown University. She was the Director of MENA programs at the Solidarity Center (2004-2011) and the Deputy MENA Regional Director at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) from 2001 until 2004. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (www.cfr.org)

This is another class in the series on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) to delve into the history, politics, culture and society of the Lebanese Republic. Lebanon is a unique, fascinating country in the Middle East with a population that is religiously, and ethnically diverse with an incredible “joie de vivre” (joy of life). Five Fridays: October 16, 30, November 13, December 4, 11, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Online Class.

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Joseph Hartman is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Department of Government at Georgetown University, where he teaches courses on political theory, constitutional law and American government. Prior to his time in the academy he spent more than a decade as a litigation attorney in private practice with a large law firm in Washington, D.C. He earned his Ph.D. in Government from Georgetown in 2015, holds a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School (1999), and a B.A. in American Government from the University of Virginia (1996). His academic and intellectual interests focus on the relationship between political thought and theology in the Western tradition and contemporary issues relating to public and constitutional law.

This series of six classes will offer an introduction to and exploration of three significant early modern works of political philosophy: Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan (1651), John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government (1689) and Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Discourse on the Arts and Sciences (1750) and Discourse on the Origin and Basis of Inequality Among Men (1755). Six Mondays: October 5, 19, November 2, 16, 30, and December 14, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Online Class.

POETRY

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Gigi Bradford is the former Literature Director of the National Endowment for the Arts and the present Chair of the Folger Shakespeare Library Poetry Board. She has been teaching at P&P since 2006.

This class features two sessions reading and de-coding the metrically startling poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins with his compressed imagery and fervent religious feeling. We’ll uncover his metrical puzzles and rhythmical experiments together. This is gorgeous work that will lodge in your heart. Two Tuesdays: November 10, 17, from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Online Class. Sold Out.

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Frank Ambrosio is Professor of Philosophy at Georgetown University. After studies in Italian language and literature in Florence, Italy, he completed his doctoral degree at Fordham University with a specialization in contemporary European Philosophy.

He is the founding Director, with Edward Maloney, of the Georgetown University “My Dante Project” a web based platform for personal and collaborative study of Dante’s Commedia. In 2014, he acted as lead instructor for the launch of an ongoing web-based course (MOOC) on Dante offered by EDX (http://dante.georgetown.edu) which currently has been utilized by over 20,000 students.

His most recent book is Dante and Derrida: Face to Face, (State University of New York Press) (Link)

He has received five separate awards from Georgetown University for excellence in teaching. He is the former Director of the Doctor of Liberal Studies Program, and in 2015, he received the Award for Faculty Achievement from the American Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs.

In October 2009, The Teaching Company released his course, "Philosophy, Religion and the Meaning of Life," (https://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/philosophy-intellectual-history/philosophy-religion-and-the-meaning-of-life.html) a series of 36 half-hour video lectures which he created for the "Great Courses" series. At Georgetown, he teaches courses on Existentialism, Postmodernism, Hermeneutics, and Dante.

In addition to his work at Georgetown, he co-directs The Renaissance Company with Deborah R. Warin, leading adult study programs focusing on Italian Renaissance culture and its contemporary heritage.

Readers and critics alike almost universally praise Dante's Paradiso for the sublimity of its poetry, but sublimity comes at a price. Trying to imagine ourselves toward the outermost limits of human hope at the brink of real Mystery is beyond our capacity as earth-bound pedestrians. Dante had the same experience and his greatness lies in never forgetting that poetry's task is give human beings wings. Six Tuesdays: October 13, 20, 27 and November (skip 3), 10, 17, 24, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. 

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Poet, author, and performer Annie Finch is the author most recently of The Poetry Witch Little Book of Spells and Choice Words: Writers on Abortion.  Her other works include six volumes of poetry, a poetry CD, poetry anthologies, criticism, an award-winning verse play, translation, music collaborations, and the popular poetry-writing guide A Poet’s Craft. She earned a Ph.D from Stanford University, has lectured at universities including Harvard, Princeton, and Oxford, taught as a tenured professor of creative writing at Miami University, and served as Director of Stonecoast MFA Program in Creative Writing. Annie is the founder of the Women, Poetry, & Spirituality retreats at Garrison Institute and the online community Poets & Seekers and teaches poetry, scansion, and spirituality. She can be followed on Instagram and Twitter @thepoetrywitch. For more information, or to subscribe to Annie’s Poetry Witch Newsletter, please visit anniefinch.com

Join poet Annie Finch for a deep reading of Audre Lorde and Slyvia Plath, two of the most monumental and fascinating poets of the twentieth century, with attention to gender, iconography, meter, sexuality, race, and rhetoric. Note date and price adjustment: Four Thursdays: October 29, November 5, 12, 19, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Online Class.

HISTORY & BIOGRAPHY

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Rick Massimo is the author of I Got a Song: A History of the Newport Folk Festival, as well as A Walking Tour of the Georgetown Set (the subject of a popular Politics and Prose tour). He wrote about music for The Providence Journal for nine years and lives in D.C.

Join Rick Massimo, author of I Got a Song: A History of the Newport Folk Festival, for an illustrated look at how folk music has gone from back porches to festival stages, how it’s changed and how it hasn’t. Please note new rescheduled date: Saturday, November 7th, from 10:00 a.m. to Noon.Online Class.

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Brian Taylor is a scholar of US history who focuses on issues related to citizenship, race and national belonging. He earned his doctorate from Georgetown University in 2015, and since has taught at Georgetown and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. His first book, Fighting for Citizenship, (September 2020) is published by the University of North Carolina Press. His current project focuses on the Reno City neighborhood of Washington, D.C. He lives in Laurel, MD, with his wife Diane, son Steve, and three cats.

The Civil War witnessed one of the most dramatic transformations in US history, as enslaved men, women and children wrested freedom, rights and citizenship from a land whose highest court had proclaimed as recently as 1857 that African Americans possessed “no rights which the white man was bound to respect.” Taught by the author of Fighting for Citizenship, this course will examine the contingent developments through which a war fought over slavery became the war that ended slavery, and African Americans’ successful campaign to win freedom, rights and citizenship. Three Fridays: November 6, 13, 20 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Online Class.