Heritage Museums and Gardens
One Day University
Most of us remember college as days when we lived a life of nearly total intellectual stimulation. We were free to explore the world of ideas, books, and learning. Unfortunately, very few young adults fully appreciate the opportunity college affords them, until long after they’ve graduated. Once they have settled into a busy career, or started raising a family, they no longer have time for purely intellectual pursuits.
The men and women who come together at One Day U understand that learning is a rewarding lifelong process, not a chore that ended on the day they received their diploma. Most return again and again and describe the experience the same way: Enrolling in One Day University is like returning to the college environment of their youth. They feel like they’re 19 again! The pace of the day is brisk and stimulating, the professors eager and enthusiastic, the classroom electric with the excitement of learning! But unlike “regular” college, at One Day University there are no grades. No tests. No homework.
9:30 AM – 10:30 AM
What Makes Mozart Great?
Jeremy Yudkin / Boston University
What is it in Mozart’s music that makes it among the most sublime ever written? Using music and video clips from operas and films, we will explore the enormous diversity of Mozart’s music. At the same time, by examining color photographs of his autographed manuscripts and draft sketches, we will witness Mozart’s attention to the smallest detail. By the end of this session, we will come to see that not only is Mozart’s music great, but Mozart himself was unique, and arguably the most extraordinary creator ever to set foot on this planet.
10:45 AM – 11:45 AM
Why Public Opinion Polls Are So Often Wrong
Jennifer Lawless / American University
The 2012 elections were as much a victory for many pollsters as for Barack Obama. Nate Silver – among others – managed to predict with precision and accuracy the outcome of the presidential election in all 50 states, and the results of U.S. Senate races in nearly all cases. Given the limitations of polling and public opinion data, the pollsters’ success was remarkable. After all, more people can name the judge who presided over the O.J. Simpson case than the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. More women and men know the color of Monica Lewinsky’s infamous dress than the statute that conferred investigative power on Kenneth Starr. And each year, more Americans watch American Idol than the State of the Union Address. Yet Americans are polled – on a daily basis – about their attitudes regarding the fiscal cliff, marriage equality and reproductive rights, and – already – candidates likely to seek office in the 2014 midterm elections. Considering how little Americans know about politics, why have politicians, policy makers, and pundits come to rely so heavily on public opinion polls? How do pollsters and analysts ever manage to use public opinion data to generate accurate conclusions? Better yet, why are Americans so disgruntled when the pollsters get it wrong? Professor Lawless explains the common pitfalls associated with gathering “snapshots” of what Americans are thinking, suggests that we raise an eyebrow to everything we read, but ultimately underscores the value of polling, statistical evidence, and careful analysis.
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
What Makes Shakespeare Great?
Joseph Luzzi / Bard College
Where would we be without Shakespeare? The romantic love of the “star-crossed” Romeo and Juliet, the Oedipal complex of the eternally indecisive Hamlet, the “vaulting ambition” (Shakespeare’s phrase) of the tortured Macbeth… all of these characters and so many more are an integral part of our collective memories. It is indeed impossible to imagine the English language and Western literature without Shakespeare, who many believe to be the greatest writer of all time. However we rank him, one thing is certain: when we read Shakespeare we encounter an inventiveness and intellectual energy that will change our understanding of language – and literature – forever.