My Simmons

Boston Course

Fall 2021 Boston Courses

BOS-101-01, BOS-101-02 Virtual Boston

Instructor: Kris Erickson
T 11:00 – 1:50 (BOS-101-01)
TH 11:00 – 1:50 (BOS-101-02)

This course, more broadly, combines introductory theoretical and practical approaches to the understanding of how emerging communication technologies mediate and help construct urban experiences. We explore, specifically, how smartphone apps, virtual tours, civic technology, social media, and online maps affect our understanding of and engagement with historical and present-day Boston.

BOS-101-03, BOS-101-16 Boston Writers: Crossroads for Creativity

Instructor: Becky Thompson
T 11:00 – 1:50 (BOS-101-03)
M 11:00 – 1:50 (BOS-101-16)

This course explores writing as an embodied practice influenced by geography, history, politics and culture with special focus on 21st century writers/poets with ties to Boston. In this class, we will read a multiracial range of exemplary writers, visit neighborhood bookstores and cultural centers, and create space to practice the art of writing. Throughout the course, we will study how social location (race, class, gender, sexuality, nationality, language, and culture) shapes one’s creativity. The course is designed to nurture your own creative, authentic voice as you learn from writers whose work inspires brave ways of engaging with and changing the world.

BOS-101-04 Text and Context: 19th Century Boston Writers

Instructor: Sheldon George
T 11:00 – 1:50

This course investigates issues of authority, voice, and persuasion in writing. It examines how an author’s rhetorical choices and strategic self-presentations may be informed by location. Organized around works by famous antebellum and postbellum authors of the greater Boston area, the course focuses upon texts that often engage anti-slavery and women’s rights issues. Some included authors are Nathanial Hawthorne, Harriet Wilson, Henry David Thoreau, William Wells Brown, and Louisa May Alcott.

BOS-101-05 Seen and Unseen: Boston through the Lens of Photography

Instructor: Edie Bresler
T 11:00 – 1:50

In this class, we will focus on Boston’s past and present through the lens of photography. Looking closely at daguerreotypes, salt prints, and albumen prints in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts and the Boston Athenaeum, we will observe and analyze who and what was recorded and why. From the great fire of 1872 to the portraits from Southworth & Hawes’ studio, we will investigate who is seen and unseen. Visits to exhibits by contemporary artists in the SOWA district will complement historical investigations. This is an opportunity to discover Boston with fresh eyes.

BOS-101-06 Isabella Stewart Gardner and the Building of a Culture Palace

Instructor: Gregory Slowik
T/TH 3:00 – 4:20

In this course, we will explore the amazing Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum on a number of different levels. You will read about the founder, Isabella Stewart Gardner, and the Boston she encountered when she moved here in 1860. You will read about the artists, writers, and musicians who were her friends and how she came to believe that she needed to build a museum for her city. As a class, we will study the highlights of the collection and her installation of it. We will also look at how the museum functions today, and, in particular, how it has chosen to provide different kinds of programs to diverse audiences. We will look at the musical program and attend a concert. We will discuss the Gardner museum’s relationship to Boston schools as well as other public programming. We will meet some of the Gardner staff and learn more about what they do behind the scenes at the museum. In the process of this exploration, you will do many kinds of writing and will strengthen and expand your writing and thinking skills.

BOS-101-07 Sustainability in Boston

Instructor: Erin DeCurtis
T/TH 11:00 – 12:20

The course will introduce students to basic concepts of environmental sustainability and strategies for addressing climate change. It will connect students with present day City, nonprofit, and business efforts to support environmental sustainability in Boston and give them the opportunity to compare and contrast those efforts with other cities.

BOS-101-08 Boston Childhoods, Real and Imagined

Instructor: Abbye Meyer
T/TH 12:30 – 1:50pm

This course considers the ways that literature set in Boston imagines and reflects the lives and concerns of young people in the City. Along with child and adolescent characters, students will explore the personalities and histories of Boston’s neighborhoods, cultural institutions, and contemporary movements. Texts may include Francisco X. Stork’s Marcelo in the Real World , Danzy Senna’s Caucasia , and Lois Lowry’s Anastasia Krupnik . While reading and exploring, students will also learn to compose a college paper—employing skills of analysis, argument, and revision to write with intention for various audiences.

BOS-101-09 Creole Boston

Instructor: Abel Amado
T 11:00 – 1:50

Boston is, as a “Creolepolitan” city, attracting a number of Creole communities. This course critically analyzes four different Creole communities, namely Cabo Verdeans, Haitians, Dominicans, and Jamaicans. It explores the local history, culture and politics of these social groups, from both inward and outward perspectives. Through visits to the community and meetings with their leaders, students will learn about strategies developed by Creole communities to combat social invisibility and reinforce their unique identity.

BOS-101-10 Grassroots Boston

Instructor: Meghan Doran
TH 11:00 – 1:50

Boston has a long and storied history of its citizens coming together to make change. How has this activism shaped the City, as we know it today? In this course we will draw on the interdisciplinary lenses of urban and social movement studies to understand how grassroots community groups have shaped and continue to shape the lived experience of Boston–where people live, how they get around, and where they go to school. Along the way, we will identify some critical elements for understanding the role of activism and consider how we define change and success. We will investigate the City in order to uncover the impacts of efforts to make social change and have an opportunity to learn from grassroots activists.

BOS-101-11 Female Political Leadership in Boston

Instructor: Leanne Doherty
TH 11:00 – 1:50

anuary 2018 saw the first female majority take control of the Boston City Council, well behind the curve of many comparable cities. This course will discuss the slow progress female politicians have made in Boston specifically and Massachusetts in general. It will focus on a brief history of political leadership in Boston, issues specific to female candidates and officeholders, and the unique paradoxes that shape the political culture of Boston, which one could argue has been less than hospitable to all under-represented candidates seeking public office.

BOS-101-12 Writing Boston: Place of Imagination

Instructor: Renee Bergland
TH 11:00 – 1:50

In our class, we will explore this place: the Fenway neighborhood. We will write about our own observations and experiences as we consider the human geography that surrounds us. For inspiration, we will read works by writers including Henry David Thoreau, Mary Antin, Robert McCloskey, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Tracy K. Smith. Like all Boston courses, this is a college writing class. The goal is to help students gain the academic skills they will need at Simmons: navigating the campus, the library and the neighborhood; reading challenging texts; taking notes and preparing questions; learning to participate in college-level seminar discussions; working in small groups and individually; and (most importantly), writing college-level essays that address other peoples’ ideas in lively and original ways.

BOS-101-14 Dystopia and Utopia in Boston

Instructor: Christopher Strand
TH 11:00 – 1:50

This course will use works of Utopian and Dystopian fiction to discuss and investigate current social issues in Boston and the U.S. Students will focus on The Handmaid’s Tale , as well as short pieces by Ursula LeGuin, Octavia Butler, and others. This course will require students to analyze texts, research social issues, and create their own creative utopian or dystopian work.

BOS-101-15 A Field Guide to Art in Boston

Instructor: Helen Popinchalk
TH 11:00 – 1:50

A Field Guide to Art in Boston visits Boston’s world-class institutions such as the Museum of Fine Arts, Gardner Museum, Institute of Contemporary Art, university and contemporary galleries. The course is about learning to look and express visual concepts through writing and analysis. The study of different times and cultures will enrich understanding of art of our own time.

BOS-101-17 Boston Science Fiction

Instructor: Bob White
T/TH 11:00 – 12:20

Wonder Woman fought injustice in Boston during the Crisis On Infinite Earths DC Comics series. Women were replaced with robots by their husbands in Stepford. King Ghidorah destroyed Fenway Park. Journey with me now in stories and movies and video games and TikTok as The Andromeda Strain virus, and Boston Dynamic Robots, dance us into the future. Where do ideas come from? For Science Fiction writers, illustrators, designers, producers, gamers, fans, and let us not forget readers late at night long after being sent to bed navigating their spaceship through the stars . . . possibilities.

BOS-101-18 Women Astronomers of Boston, New England, and Beyond

Instructor: Russell Pinizzotto
M/W 6:00 – 7:20

Women have made pivotal contributions to astronomy for millennia. In Boston, a team of women known as the “Harvard Computers” established principles fundamental to astrophysics. Maria Mitchell of Nantucket became Professor of Astronomy at Vassar College in 1865. Sara Seager is currently a Professor of Physics and Planetary Science at MIT. In this course students will discover the contributions that women have made to astronomy throughout history from Aganice in ancient Egypt to Caroline Herschel, the first woman to receive a salary as a scientist, to Katherine Louise Bouman, who led the development of the algorithm for imaging black holes.

BOS-101-19 Food is Love

Instructor: Urshila Sriram
TH 11:00 – 1:50

Food is closely tied to identity. From our self-created identity rooted in current popular culture, to our family’s traditional identity, food reflects many aspects of who we are. This course will explore the role of food in development of identity, highlighting journeys of Boston immigrant populations spanning the city’s history.