Monday, 9:30–11:00, March 26–April 9
This course will take place at the Mason Faculty Club (Pilot House on the Main Campus) and will include breakfast and parking. The fee includes a three-hour parking pass for the Rappahannock parking deck in the designated visitor parking area, and a continental breakfast consisting of fruit, yogurt, granola, bagels and pastries, coffee, tea, and juice. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information see the description for this event in the online catalog.
Mar. 26: I Survived: My Name Is Yitzkhak. Dr. Harry A. Butowsky. When World War II began in 1939, more than 3.5 million Jews lived in Poland. By 1945, 90% of them would be dead. I Survived: My Name Is Yitzkhak presents the remarkable story of one man who made it out alive. Born in 1912, Yitzkhak (Isadore) Neiman began life as a handyman’s son in the rural village of Czuczewicze, on the eastern border of Poland. The town's Jewish and non-Jewish community lived together in relative harmony until 1941. One year later, almost every member of the Neiman family was dead, and only Yitzkhak's conscription into the Russian Army saved his life. Interviewed by Dr. Butowsky in the 1970s, Neiman described his imprisonment in a Soviet work camp and his escape to the United States in stunning, heartbreaking detail. At every turn Neiman's memories reveal the struggles and small kindnesses of everyday life under total war as he crisscrossed borders, battled hunger, and escaped violence. His story represents an invaluable addition to the oral history of World War II and honors the grit, determination, and intelligence of regular people in extraordinary circumstances.
Dr. Harry A. Butowsky retired in 2012 from the National Park Service in Washington DC, where he worked as a historian and manager for the National Park Service history
e-library web site. He is the author of “World War II in the Pacific National Historic Landmark Study,” as well as numerous articles on military, labor, science, and constitutional history. Butowsky teaches history of World War I and World War II at Mason. His PhD is from the University of Illinois.
Apr. 2: The Economic and Social Effects of the Black Death. Noel Johnson. Between 1347 and 1352, approximately 40% of the population of Europe was killed by the bacterial epidemic known as the Black Death. This had profound effects on the economy and on political and social institutions. This course will focus on the massive scapegoating and persecution of Jews that accompanied the Black Death, and the demographic shock to the urban network.
Noel Johnson is an economic historian in the Economics Department at Mason. He is also a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center and a faculty member in the Center for the Study of Public Choice. His research focuses on late medieval and early-modern Europe. Most recently, he has been writing on the economic and social impacts of the Black Death. He wrote, with Mark Koyama, Persecution and Toleration: The Long Road to Religious Freedom, to be published by Cambridge University Press in summer 2018.
Apr. 9: Facing the Dragon: Learning about Aging from Beowulf. Dr. Joyce P. Johnston, professor of English, Mason. He was young, handsome, and charismatic. Then he was mature, successful, respected. And then one day, he wasn’t. With his life goals accomplished, there was no future to build toward. With his accomplishments fading into the past, young people stopped listening to him. His family died or disappeared. All alone, he faced an evil dragon and with it, the specter of pain, disability, and tortured death—the embodiment of the fate that every aging person dreads. Across 2,000 years, Beowulf dramatizes issues confronting senior citizens in any era. Note: No knowledge of Anglo-Saxon or the Beowulf poem is required for this session.
Joyce Johnston was trained as a medievalist who reads Anglo-Saxon, Old Norse and Medieval French. These days, she specializes in online civility, digital intellectual property and advanced researched writing, but she has never ceased to marvel at the intensity and excitement of early epics.