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April 10, 2006

Humanities Division invites alums to ‘Classes Without Quizzes’

By Scott Rappaport

UCSC’s Division of the Humanities will introduce a brand-new program at this year’s Banana Slug Spring Fair.

Photo: Gary Lease
Interim humanities dean Gary Lease is one of 11 faculty members who will present “Classes Without Quizzes” at the Banana Slug Spring Fair on April 22.

Photo courtesy of Gary Lease

Titled “Classes without Quizzes,” it's a series of lively one-hour lectures from 11 of the university’s most distinguished humanities faculty.

Encompassing a wide range of topics—from the history of feminism to why languages are dying at a rate never before seen in human history—the classes are intended to help alums reconnect with university life.

"It's a great way for alumni to become re-engaged with what should be their most important link to the university—its intellectual life,” explained interim humanities dean Gary Lease. “We hope to attract non-humanities grads to the lectures, too, because the topics—from philosophy chair Paul Roth on the ethics of U.S. cancer policy to professor of history Alice Yang Murray on the reliability of WW II oral histories—have broad appeal to our well-read, thoughtful alumni.”

Other lecture topics will include “How Did Dickens Write His Novels and Why Are They So Long?” by Dickens Project director John Jordan; “Classical Myth in American Popular Culture” with chair and professor of literature Mary-Kay Gamel; “Rethinking Anti-Semitism: The Holocaust and the Contemporary World" with history professor Peter Kenez; and “Writerama” with senior writing lecturer Donald Rothman, cofounder of the Central California Writing Project and recipient of the 2005-06 Distinguished Teaching Award from the UCSC Alumni Association.

Interim Dean Lease, an internationally recognized expert on the history of religion, will present a class titled “Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up?” Lease noted that faculty response to the new program has been overwhelmingly enthusiastic.

“The most difficult task we had was in choosing a handful of representative lectures to cover the whole of the humanities,” Lease noted. “We just didn’t have enough classrooms or staff to offer more sessions.”

“Classes Without Quizzes” will be held on Saturday, April 22, in the Social Sciences 2 Building. The first session will begin at 2:30 p.m. and the second session at 3:30 p.m. All classes are free and open to the public.

A complete listing and description of the classes is available online.


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