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Minerva came into being as a response to the forced closure of many lifelong learning communities at the outset of the global pandemic in the spring of 2020 when it was unsafe to hold in-person meetings and many centers were not in a position to offer online courses to replace their regular programming.

Having taught in such settings for nearly 20 years, and with some experience in online teaching for undergraduates, Prof. David Peritz (Ph.D. Oxford University, Professor of Political Science, Sarah Lawrence College) reached out to some of his regular students in these communities, and from there the word spread quickly.

To date, David has offered two courses through Minerva, “Inequality Rising: The Nature, Causes, and Consequence of the Rapid Increase in Social Inequality in 21st Century America,” and “Race and Justice in America in the 21st Century Historical, Critical and Ethical Perspectives,” attended by roughly 250 online students from all over the US and the world in the spring and summer of 2020.

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Minerva has been dormant for the fall of 2020 as David shifted his focus to his regular teaching duties at Sarah Lawrence and also offered an online course on “Urgent Issues, Extraordinary Politics: National Elections at a Time of Intersecting Crises and National Polarization” via the Fromm Institute at the University of San Francisco.

With the national elections now behind us but the coronavirus still very much at large, we will resume courses in January of 2021, looking to continue our focus on the urgent political issues facing American and world citizens today, as well as examining the larger social, economic, cultural and technological contexts that allow for a deeper understanding of these issues.

But as we enter the new year, we will also look to expand our offerings, bringing in new instructors to cover a broader range of subjects, and also offering a weekly lecture on contemporaneous political developments.