WRITING

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Mathina Calliope is a writer, teacher, editor, and writing coach. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Outside Magazine, Longreads, Cagibi, the Wall Street Journal, Off Assignment, Northern Virginia Magazine, and elsewhere. She has studied at the Yale Writing Workshop, holds an MFA in creative nonfiction from Goucher College, and is working on an anthology about badass outdoorsy women. Learn more: www.mathinacalliope.com

This workshop will home in on the aspects of craft and habits of introspection that writers use to elevate their good drafts to compelling essays. Dates: Four Mondays, starting July 27 and August 3, 10, 17 from 10 a.m. to Noon. Online Class.

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Tara Campbell (www.taracampbell.com) is a writer, teacher, Kimbilio Fellow, and fiction editor at Barrelhouse. She is the recipient of the following awards from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities: the 2016 Larry Neal Writers' Award in Adult Fiction, the 2016 Mayor's Arts Award for Outstanding New Artist, and Arts and Humanities Fellowships for 2018 and 2019. Prior publication credits include SmokeLong Quarterly, Masters Review, Jellyfish Review, Booth, Strange Horizons and Escape Pod/Artemis Rising. She's also the author of a novel, TreeVolution, a hybrid fiction/poetry collection, Circe's Bicycle, and a short story collection, Midnight at the Organporium, which received a starred review from Publishers Weekly. She received her MFA from American University in 2019.

How do you fit the world into 1,000 words or less? Explore the genre of flash fiction and create your own compact masterpieces to send out into the world. Four Saturdays: August 15, 22, 29, September 5, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Online Class.

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Aaron Hamburger is the author of the short story collection The View From Stalin’s Head (winner of the Rome Prize in Literature), the novels Faith for Beginners (a Lambda Literary Award nominee), and Nirvana is Here (winner of a Bronze Medal in the 2019 Forewords Indie Awards). His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, Poets & Writers, Tin House, Subtropics, Details, O, the Oprah Magazine, Boulevard, and The Village Voice. He has received fellowships from the Edward F. Albee Foundation and the Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Umbria, Italy, as well as residencies from Yaddo and Djerassi. He has also taught writing at Columbia University, NYU, the Stonecoast MFA Program, and George Washington University.

One of the first signs that a piece of writing needs some work is a lack of humor, though not as that term is generally misunderstood. Humor comes in a range of shades, from slapstick ha-ha laugh-out-loud funny to the mordant wit of gallows humor. In this workshop, we’ll explore the range of ways humor can be used to develop the complexity of your writing, no matter the genre.  We'll go from making jokes to using humor in order to access and compliment more serious themes in writing. We'll examine examples of humor writing from different genres and talk about different styles and uses of humor, such as satire, parody, the zany, and dark humor. Two Wednesdays: September 16 and 23 from 6 to 8:00 p.m. Online Class.
 
With

Joyce Winslow is a national award-winning fiction writer whose seven years as Travel Editor for two national magazines saw her selecting manuscripts for publication. She has written hundreds of articles and for a time was in a different country every month. Her website is: www.winslowandmayfair.com

Redbook and Mademoiselle Travel Editor Joyce Winslow will teach you how to write so people feel like they’re with you, and how to query a magazine. Four one-hour classes for writers, whether first-timers or seasoned. A combination of lecture and workshop with exercises that can take your writing to the next level. Four Saturdays: September 12, 19, 26 and October 3, from 10 to 11 a.m. Online Class.

LIFESKILLS

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Jerry Webster presently serves as the Shastri, or head teacher, with the Shambhala Buddhist Meditation Center in Washington, D.C.  He began meditation with a ten full-day retreat in India with the Burmese teacher Goenka in 1974.  Since 1976, he is a student of the Shambhala Buddhist tradition and he has taught in this tradition since 1977.  He obtained his PH.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Maryland in 1999.  He has taught numerous courses in literature for the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University and numerous courses in multiculturalism for Montgomery County Public Schools.  He has taught English full-time in public school systems for forty years; he began teaching with the Peace Corps in Afghanistan in 1973.  During the past six years, he has led six full-day week-long meditation weekthuns and a variety of programs along the East Coast, including multiple local courses for Politics & Prose, Johns Hopkins University, the U.S. Peace Corps, and Frederick Community College. 

Pema Chodron’s When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times topped The Washington Post’s May 19, 2020 Nonfiction Bestsellers List. In this course, we'll ask: what are readers gaining from this book written by a Buddhist nun over two decades ago that allows them to relate to their present lives more deeply? This course will offer writing prompts to deepen our understanding of Chodron's ideas. Two Thursdays: August 13 and 20, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 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 nostalgia and history through memoirs of notable literary authors, scholars and political activists to better understand their era and struggles which still reverberate until the present. Four Tuesdays and One Friday: June 30, July 14 & 31 (Friday), August 11, 25, from 1:00 p.m to 3:00 p.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 examine the Kingdom of Morocco’s contemporary history, politics, and society via non-fiction and novels to better understand the country and its people. Five Fridays: July 24, August 7 and 21, September 4 and 18 from 1 to 3 p.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 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 televisionFive Tuesdays: September 8, 22, October 6, 20, November 3, 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 29th, November 5 and 12, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Online Class.

FICTION

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. 

U.S. and Europe have been grappling with how to value of Black life through centuries of enslavement, segregation, and racism. This timely discussion-based, four-week course will examine how novels of the Harlem Renaissance shaped discourses on race that we continue to see today. Four Wednesdays: August 5, 12, 19, 26 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Online Class.

With

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.  In our five sessions we will look at the overall structure of the novel and concentrate on the more accessible and humorous sections. Five consecutve Fridays: July 31, August 7, 14, 21, 28  from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Class Online.

With

Carrie Callaghan’s debut novel, A Light of Her Own, about 17th century painter Judith Leyster, was published by Amberjack in 2018. Her new novel, Salt the Snow (Amberjack, 2019), is about trail-blazing but little-known early 20th century journalist Milly Bennett and her years in 1930s Moscow and Spain. Carrie’s short stories have been published in multiple literary journals around the country, and she is a senior editor with the Washington Independent Review of Books.

Before Hilary Mantel's blockbuster Wolf Hall series, before her eerie and dark contemporary novels, she wrote A Place of Greater Safety. This novel of the French revolution was her first book but is a masterpiece in its own right. This two-session course will examine the novel closely, while also considering supplementary material about the time period and historical figures. Two Sundays: September 20 and 27, from 2 to 4 p.m. Online Class.

With

Garrett Peck is an author and public historian in the DC area. His eighth and latest book is A Decade of Disruption: America in the New Millennium 2000 - 2010. He frequently leads tours through Politics & Prose, including the Jazz History Tour and Walt Whitman in Washington Tour. Garrett is currently working on a book about how Willa Cather composed Death Comes for the Archbishop, which he hopes to one day turn into a week-long tour of New Mexico.

Satire is a fine and under appreciated literary form, one that combines humor with social conscience, holding up the mirror to society while also making the reader laugh. In this class, we'll explore works from four differents masters of the form: George Orwell, Joseph Heller, John Kennedy Toole, and Julie Schumacher. Four Thursdays: September 15, 22, 29, and October 6, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Online Class.

With

Leigha McReynolds received her PhD in English Literature from The George Washington University. Her dissertation was on science and the supernatural in the 19th Century British novel. Currently, 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.

Defoe, Richardson, and Fielding are often held up as the progenitors of the English Novel. In this seminar-style, discussion based class we’ll read Moll Flanders (1722), Pamela (1740), and Joseph Andrews (1742): novels that follow a low-status protagonist trying to make their way in the changing social world of the 18th century. Six Thursdays: September 10, 17, 24, October 1, 8, 15, from noon to 2 p.m. Online Class.

With

Melanie (Penny) Du Bois did her undergraduate and graduate work at Harvard, has lived in Europe, and taught literature at universities there and here. She has directed a reading group in Washington since 1989. Her recent Politics and Prose classes have been on the work of Coetzee, Penelope Fitzgerald, Tolstoy, Grossman, and Proust.

Death and social events, hysterical comedy and bewilderment come at us at a rapid, perplexing pace in this section of In Search of Lost Time called The Guermantes WayThis class is a continuation of a series. Some of you may not have read Swann’s Way or In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower. The class will surely bring up impressions from the previous sections, but with minimal help on who’s who, any reader who is new to Proust will soon be swimming along. Six Mondays: September 14, 21, 28, October 5, 12, 19,  from 1 to 3 p.m. Online class.

With

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.

New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color recently won the 2020 Locus Award for best anthology. Join this discussion based, seminar-style class to explore how the world-building and story-telling of the authors in this anthology expand our ability to imagine possible pasts and futures. Three Wednesdays: October 7, 14, 21, from 6 pm to 8 pm Online Class.

MEMOIR

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.

This class brings together two must-read memoirs about politics, nation, childhood, and belonging: Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis and Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime. These coming of age stories are brimming with joy, humor, and sadness, depicting worlds where children are forced to grow up all too quickly. Two Wednesdays: September 23 and 30, from 11 am to 1 pm. Online Class.

With

Jerry Webster presently serves as the Shastri, or head teacher, with the Shambhala Buddhist Meditation Center in Washington, D.C.  He began meditation with a ten full-day retreat in India with the Burmese teacher Goenka in 1974.  Since 1976, he is a student of the Shambhala Buddhist tradition and he has taught in this tradition since 1977.  He obtained his PH.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Maryland in 1999.  He has taught numerous courses in literature for the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University and numerous courses in multiculturalism for Montgomery County Public Schools.  He has taught English full-time in public school systems for forty years; he began teaching with the Peace Corps in Afghanistan in 1973.  During the past six years, he has led six full-day week-long meditation weekthuns and a variety of programs along the East Coast, including multiple local courses for Politics & Prose, Johns Hopkins University, the U.S. Peace Corps, and Frederick Community College.

Contemplative writing and mindful meditation require techniques that tap into deep and vast dimensions of human existence. Who are some writers who have explored these dimensions, such that their work necessarily unfolds from these contemplative wellsprings of life? This class will explore the powerful combination of meditation and writing in the memoirs of one Tibetan Buddhist, one Zen Buddhist, and one Trappist practitioner: Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, Joan Halifax, and Thomas Merton. In addition to analyzing the readings, this course will introduce participants to basic meditative techniques and writing techniques as practiced by these writers. Six Mondays: September 14, 21, 28, October 5, 12, 19 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Online class.

POETRY

With

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. Do give it a try, especially if you have walked the walk with the pilgrim thus far! Six Tuesdays: October 13, 20, 27 and November 3, 10, 17, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. 

HISTORY & BIOGRAPHY

With

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, tentatively titled Fighting for Citizenship, is in the production process at 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.

Jill Lepore’s These Truths takes its title from Thomas Jefferson’s contention that Americans considered certain principles “self-evident.”  US history is defined by struggles over core principles – what they mean, and to whom they apply – and Lepore’s book chronicles these struggles.  In this class, we will discuss Lepore’s interpretation of prominent figures, events and trends from American history, and consider what her book shows us about the remaining work of fulfilling the United States’s revolutionary promise. Six Wednesday: July 8, 15, 22, 29 and August 5, 12 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

With

Scott Patrick is a recent PhD graduate from American University with a concentration in comparative politics. His research interests include critical theory, global political economy, and the intersection of power and politics with culture and the social construction of ideas, norms, and values.

In this course we will be exploring and discussing the persistent myths and misconceptions of the Confederacy and the U.S. Civil War, especially the diminishment and denial of white supremacy as motivation for the Confederate States. We will primarily be reading How the South Won the Civil War (2020) by Heather Cox Richardson. This course will help provide understanding for the ongoing movement to take down Confederate statues and other monuments and why this is essential to reckoning with the legacy of slavery. Three Thursdays: September 10, 17, 24 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Online Class.