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.
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"Explorations in current politics and philosophy"
Prof. David Peritz, PhD
Lecture 1: The Dynamics Driving the 2022 Mid-term Elections and Their Likely Impact A Preliminary Framework for Thinking about the Elections of 2022: Can Midterm Elections Feature a Contest Between Normal and Constitutional Politics? What would it Mean for American Politics to Enter a Constitutional Phase in a Period of Radical Partisanship? Friday, Oct 7th 1:00 p.m. EST/10:00a.m. PST
Lecture 2: How to repair a Broken Economy? Is the Global Economy Broken? Can it be Repaired? Policy Debates on Creating a More Just and Humane Economy in a Post-COVID World. Friday, Oct 14th, 1:00 p.m. EST/10:00 a.m. PST
Lecture 3: Can Global Order be rescued? The Russian Invasion of Ukraine and the Question of Whether Global Order can be Secured in the Middle of the 21st Century in Time to Cope with Climate Change, Pandemics, the Rogue States, a New Cold War, and Other Existential Issues. Friday, Oct 21, 1:00 p.m. EST/10:00 a.m. PST
Lecture 4: Unity or fracture? Race, Gender, Sexuality, Immigration, Religion, and Education: Will the Transition to a Multi-Racial, Post-Traditional Society Fracture the United States? Friday, Oct 28 1:00 p.m. EST/10:00a.m. PST
Lecture 5: Can we control technology or will it control us? Can Unregulated and Radically Accelerated Technological Change be Mastered Before it Completely Disrupts our Knowledge System and Public Sphere, Re-engineers our Attention, Changes our Food and Nutrition, and Alters our Biology? Friday, Nov 4 1:00 p.m. EST/10:00a.m. PST
Lecture 6: Decoding Election Results in U.S. 2022. What Just Happened? Preliminary Reflections on the Outcomes of the 2022 Elections.Friday Nov 11 1:00 p.m. EST/10:00a.m. PST
Foundation in the state of the current scientific
knowledge of climate change.
Prof. David Peritz, PhD
Lesson 1: The Complex but Certain Science of Global Climate Change.
Lesson 2: Climate Change, Pandemic, A Vulnerable World, and the Existential Threat of Inaction.
Lesson 3: From Economy to Energy and Technology: The Nature and Limits of the Response to the Climate Crisis Until Now.
Lesson 4: The Great Derangement: Why Are We Not Changing in the Face of Climate Change?
Lesson 5: Global Interconnectivity, History, and Ethics in the Anthropocene.
Lesson 6: The Politics of an Effective Response versus the Consequence of Failure: From Just Climate Action to Desperate Gambits.
If a normal national election features a contest between parties and candidates that treat one another as respectful rivals with competing conceptions of the common good and a shared sense that free, fair, and regular elections are the most reasonable way to settle such contests, then we have not held a normal election for at least a dozen years. Instead, every couple of years we face existential battles between competing accounts of the very nature of our country. Do we continue a centuries-old experiment in aspiring to realize a democratic ideal in which equal liberty is extended to all and used to build together a mutual and humane society? Or instead chart a different, more populous, and less democratic path, based on the conclusion that democratic principles and liberal Constitutional niceties have outworn their utility in light of their failure to arrest spiraling economic inequality, disorienting social, cultural, and technological change, and other widespread sources of discontent and vulnerability? These fractious politics reveal an emerging pattern in which the electorate oscillates: trying the party that aims to redeem the democratic experiment by passing and implementing policies aimed to address the sources of discontent and vulnerability, but, as these policies inevitably fall short of their target, and as the Democratic Party appears to reflect the priorities of the relatively privileged over the more precarious, the pendulum swings back in the direction of the Republicans, the party of more radical discontent, populist fervor, and authoritarian leadership.
2022 is another highly consequential election: a large majority of Republican candidates deny the validity of the previous election—a good indication that, if elected, they may also reject the legitimacy of future elections they lose and seek instead to hold on to power by subverting the democratic process—while many running to administer future elections vow to use this power in avowedly partisan ways. Gerrymandering, abortion, immigration, climate change, accountability for the effort of former President Trump to subvert the results of an election he lost (and other misdeeds), and more generally control of Congress and so the direction of the country are all at stake. Yet there are also signs that our politics are shifting in subtle ways, a shift that might ultimately change the underlying dynamics of radical partisanship. The focus on abortion, guns, voting rights, and the consistent underrepresentation of the views of the majority of voters in the Senate, Electoral College, and the Supreme Court suggest that American politics may be entering a “Constitutional” phase, an epochal shift in which we focus less exclusively and narrowly on current policy issues and expand the political agenda to include the very nature of the social impact and how well current institutions realize our political aspirations.
This course starts from this framing perspective and employs it to mount a sustained discussion of some of the most pressing policy issues, domestic and global, we face as a society, aiming to debate these issues, not in accord with the low standards of recent elections but as they would be in a well-functioning democracy in which urgent issues received the serious attention they deserve.
Learn with the best and prepare yourself for a better future
Prof. David Peritz
David Peritz (Ph.D., Oxford University), is the Dean of Minerva Academy of Lifelong Learning and also a Professor of Political philosophy at Sarah Lawrence College New York. He is a thought leader in the field of lifelong learning for all age groups. His lectures and webinars cover a wide range of topics in contemporary politics, philosophy, culture, society and technology, and are described by those who attend or watch them as “dynamic…engaging…brilliant…systematic…deep…profound…informative and educational.” Prof. Peritz has over 20 years of experience lecturing at some of the best lifelong learning institutes in the nation (including the Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes at UC Berkeley and the Fromm Institute at the University of San Francisco) and also at many of the premier retirement communities in New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area.
Andrew Rosenthal is a former Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times. He retired in June 2016 after serving for more than nine years as the Editorial Page editor of The Times, overseeing the newspaper’s Opinion section. He previously was also the deputy Editorial Page editor. Before that, Mr. Rosenthal had been an assistant managing editor since September 2001 and the foreign editor beginning in May 1997. He also served as national editor of The Times for six months in 2000, supervising coverage of the presidential election and the post-election recount.