Insight Seminars

image: trees and mountain reflected in lakeUniversity of Oregon Insight Seminars

2014-2015 Season - REGISTER NOW

Enjoy a Taste of the Upcoming Seminars with a Free Introductory Lecture
(Location: Knight Library Browsing Room)

  • Taste of Shakespeare's Early Plays (Lara Bovilsky) - Monday, September 29 (7:00 pm)
  • Taste of Mythology (Jim Earl)- Monday, October 27 (7:00 pm)  
  • Taste of Italian Renaissance Villas (James Harper) - Monday, January 5, 2015 (7:00 pm)
  • Taste of History & Art of the Book (James Fox & Marilyn Reaves) - TBA
  • Taste of Boccaccio's Decameron (Gina Psaki) - Monday, March 30, 2015 (7:00 pm)
  • Taste of The Beatles & Their Time (Carl Woideck) - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 (7:00 pm)

Fall Classes

Shakespeare's Two Gentlemen of Verona and Richard III  REGISTER
Saturday mornings October 4, 11, 18 & 25 
9:30 am- Noon
Lara Bovilsky (English Department)
Registration $99
Join us for discussion of Shakespeare’s first insights into the nature and dramatic uses of villainy. Two of Shakespeare’s early plays reveal a fascinating mixture of his later approaches to character and language and some very different techniques and artistic choices. In Two Gentlemen, love remakes the self, blighting friendship and the promise of courtly development. In Richard, villainy is a charismatic historical force, facilitating the emergence of a new English dynasty. Note: Both plays are being performed this year at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
Class books are available at the UO Bookstore:
1. Two Gentlemen of Verona, ed. Roger Warren (Oxford) ISBN 0192831429  
2. Richard III, ed. John Jowett (Oxford) ISBN 0199535880

Mythology - REGISTER
Saturday mornings November 1, 8, 15, & 22
9:30 am- Noon
James Earl (English Department)
Registration $99
What are myths, and how can we understand them? Anthropologists, philosophers and psychologists all want to know. Myth is one of the great intellectual problems of the last century—a natural form of human cognition, but largely unintelligible to moderns. Utterly irrational but weirdly compelling, like dreams they resist interpretation and explanation. Why did pre-modern peoples create them, and how did they understand them? What is the relation of myth to religion, ritual and poetry? We’ll examine Mesopotamian, Greek and Norse myths, like the Descent of Inanna, Prometheus and Pandora, Valhalla and the Twilight of the Gods—and we'll be surprised. Myth is nothing if it’s not surprising.
Class books are available from the UO Bookstore
1. Myths From Mesopotamia, trans. Stephanie Dalley (Oxford World Classics)
2. Hesiod, Theogony and Works and Days, trans. M. L. West (Oxford World Classics)
3. The Prose Edda, trans. Jesse Byock (Penguin)

Winter 2015 Classes - Registration link coming soon

The Italian Renaissance Villa
Saturday mornings January 10, 17, 24, 31
9:30 am- Noon
James Harper (History of Art and Architecture)
Registration $99

History & Art of the Book
Saturday Mornings February 7, 14, 21, 28
9:30 am- Noon
James Fox and Marilyn Reaves (UO Libraries Special Collections and University Archives)
Registration $99

Ethnic America After the Gold Rush: The Chinese Immigrants (half-day seminar)
Saturday March 7
9:15am - 1:15pm
Kevin Hatfield (History Department)
Registration $45

Spring (2 class offerings in April)

Boccaccio's Decameron
Saturday mornings April 4, 18, 25, & May 2 (no class on April 11)
9:30 am- Noon
Regina Psaki (Romance Languages Department)
Registration $99
A generation before Chaucer cheerfully began “What that Aprille,” Giovanni Boccaccio opened his Decameron with an unforgettable aphorism: “It is a human quality to have compassion for the afflicted.” As the Decameron opens everybody is afflicted, whether by the Black Death of 1348, or by the pain of love and other desires. The Decameron is one of the most endlessly various, energetic, transgressive, intricate, and laugh-out-loud funny books of the past 2000 years. We’ll spend three Saturdays getting to know the hundred tales in a brand-new translation, and we’ll spend one morning with a few glorious ancient editions in our Special Collections that will show us a little about the Decameron’s reception in history. 

The Beatles and Their Times 
Tuesday evenings April 7, 14, 21, 28
6:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Carl Woideck (School of Music and Dance)
Registration $99

Native American Photographs: The Art of Edward Curtis (half-day seminar)
Saturday May 16 – 9:15 am – 1:15 pm
James Fox and Jennifer O’Neal (UO Libraries Special Collections and University Archives)
Registration $45


Questions: Jan Smith (

Ideas for Seminar Topics: Barbara Jenkins (

Mission & History

Campus Map





Make a lasting gift to the Insight Seminars.

Created by jenkins on Jun 18, 2012 Last updated Sep 11, 2014