Course Catalog and Auditor Only Series

Class Catalog

Community auditors are not eligible to take Visual or Performing Arts courses or Writing courses. Very few courses are offered in the evening. Courses are not offered during the summer.

The fall 2022 course catalog can be viewed or printed by clicking on the fall 22 lecture list pdf. Fall 22 Lecture List

Auditor Only Series - Fall 2022

ASC100 Ways to Listen to Western Music 

Professor: Scott Burnham, Professor of Music, Emeritus

Description: This course will offer ways to sharpen the experience of listening to Western music.  We will begin by identifying some of the features of music that help make it such a powerful human experience.   We will then trace these features as they arise in music from different eras and in different genres.  The course will conclude with a presentation of various listening strategies, as well as a consideration of testimonies about listening to music from a number of prominent figures, all of whom feature in the recent book Ways of Hearing: Reflections on Music in 26 Pieces (edited by Scott Burnham, Marna Seltzer and Dorothea von Moltke, Princeton University Press, 2021). 

Dates: Friday’s, October 7, 14, 21, 28 2022

Time: 11:30 am-1:00 pm (feel free to eat your lunch during class)

Scott Burnham is Distinguished Professor of Music at the CUNY Graduate Center and Scheide Professor of Music History Emeritus at Princeton University.  His teaching and research centers on issues of music criticism, analysis, and reception; historical music theory of the 18th- through 20th centuries; and the music of Western composers such as Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and Schumann.  Burnham’s best-known books are Beethoven Hero (1995), a study of the values and reception of Beethoven’s heroic-style music, and Mozart’s Grace (2013), on beauty in the music of Mozart.  He is the grateful recipient of various honors, including Princeton University’s Howard T. Behrman Award for Distinguished Achievement in the Humanities, the Society of Music Theory’s Wallace Berry Award for Beethoven Hero, and the American Musicological Society’s Otto Kinkeldey Award for Mozart’s Grace. Devoted to the challenge of speaking about music to general audiences, Burnham lectures regularly for Princeton University Concerts, and he has presented pre-concert talks for Lincoln Center in New York, McCarter Theatre in Princeton, the Bard Music Festival, the Cleveland Orchestra, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. 

ASC200 Fiction of New York City

Professor: Alfred Bendixen, Professor, Department of Gender and Sexuality Studies

Description: New York City possesses a special place in the American imagination.  It is the site of enormous aspirations, a place where immigrants come to make their fortune and artists come to make their reputation.  It is also the place where the economic and social divisions of the United States emerge most clearly in the disparity between the rich and the poor. Thus, New York embodies both the best possibilities of the American Dream of transformation and the cruel realities of poverty, racism, and social injustice.  This course explores four novels that demonstrate the various ways in which the fiction of New York City embraces the diversity, possibilities, and realities of American life.  

September 23: E.L. Doctorow, Ragtime (1975)
October 7: Victor LaValle, The Ballad of Black Tom (2016)
November 4: Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1943)
November 18: Ling Ma, Severance (2018)

Our exploration begins with E.L. Doctorow’s Ragtime, one of the finest historical novels in American literature.  Its powerful treatment of immigration, racism, and social change during the first decades of the 20th century rests on a remarkable blending of historical foundation and imaginative vision.  Our investigation then shifts radically as we plunge into the supernatural horror of Victor LaValle’s brilliant The Ballad of Black Tom, a bold rewriting of H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Horror at Red Hook.” We find a more optimistic vision of the possibilities of New York life in Betty Smith’s huge best-seller A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, a lovingly detailed rendition of a young girl’s growth to maturity and escape from poverty. We wrap up with Ling Ma’s Severance, a finely wrought satire of consumer capitalism placed into a new kind of zombie apocalypse (pandemic) novel.  

These texts provide new and very different ways of looking at race, class, sexuality, gender, and the whole process of growing up and growing older in an urban and sometimes urbane landscape. These amazing books vary in length, in tone, in genre, but they share a commitment to moving the reader into a fuller confrontation with New York City and the wider American culture it embodies.

Dates: Friday’s, September 23, October 7, November 4 & 18, 2022 
The class dates are not consecutive. They are designed to give auditors sufficient time to read the books.

Time: 10:00 am – 11:30 am

Alfred Bendixen received his Ph.D. in 1979 from the University of North Carolina and taught at Barnard College, California State University, Los Angeles, and Texas A&M University before joining the Princeton faculty in 2014.  Much of his scholarship has been devoted to the recovery of 19th-century texts, particularly by women writers, and to the exploration of neglected genres, including the ghost story, detective fiction, science fiction, and travel writing. His teaching interests include the entire range of American literature as well as courses in science fiction, graphic narrative, and gender studies. Professor Bendixen may be best known as the founder of the American Literature Association, the most important scholarly organization in his field, which he continues to serve as Executive Director and as a frequent director of its national conferences. His most recent books include A Companion to the American Novel, (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012), The Cambridge History of American Poetry (co-edited with Stephen Burt; Cambridge University Press, 2015), and The Centrality of Crime Fiction in American Literary Culture (co-edited with Olivia Carr Edenfield); Routledge, 2017). His Library of America edition of the fiction and poetry of Charlotte Perkins Gilman will appear in August 2022.