Friends of the Heyman Center

The Friends of the Heyman Center, under the direction of Gareth Williams, Violin Family Professor of Classics and Chair, Department of Classics, comprises people who help ensure the advancement and vitality of the Heyman Center for the Humanities. For more than twenty-five years, tuition and donations from the Friends colloquia have contributed to a variety of activities, most significantly, the Lionel Trilling Seminar, which is free and open to the public.

The Friends of the Heyman Center offers discussion courses led by Columbia's most renowned teachers and scholars to alumni and friends of the University who wish to continue organized education without the need for academic credit. These colloquia, titled the Carl Hovde Colloquia, are planned as active discussions rather than lectures, and the faculty leaders are among the best teachers in the University. No papers or examinations are required. We charge only a small fraction of normal tuition, and after expenses, these funds help both to improve our programs and maintain the building -- one of the most congenial on campus.

If you would like to donate to the Friends of the Heyman Center, you can do so here. Please enter “Friends of the Heyman Center” in the comment box so that your donation is properly credited.  Thank you!

Spring 2012 Colloquia

Anton Chekhov and the Short Story

Cathy Popkin
Tuesdays, 5:30pm-7:30pm

This colloquium will be led by Cathy Popkin, Jesse and George Siegel Professor in the Humanities, former Chair of both Literature Humanities and the Department of Slavic Languages, and editor of the forthcoming Norton Critical Edition of Anton Chekhov’s Selected Stories.  While Chekhov is best known in the west as a dramatist, it may be his stories that the Russians cherish above all.  As boldly innovative as his plays, Chekhov’s stories virtually redefined the genre, sparking the development of what we now know as the modern short story; even today, more writers cite Chekhov as their principal influence and source of inspiration than any other author.  Indeed, Chekhov’s stories make for remarkably enjoyable—even easy—reading.  And yet things are not as simple as they seem, and interesting things emerge when you pay extremely close attention.  Since the best possible understanding—and the greatest pleasure—comes of reading Chekhov’s stories both in detail and in plural, we will read a great many of them for a sense of the whole tapestry and how artfully each element illuminates the others, but we will focus closely on selected individual stories, not only for an appreciation of how they work, but for what they have to tell us about living deeply and well.

Download Syllabus and Schedule

Transatlantic Crossings

Deirdre David
Thursdays, 5:30pm-7:30pm

In this colloquium, we will place three pairs of British and American novels in dialogue with each other as a means of exploring connections between British and American literature in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Some important issues for discussion will be thematic similarities (for example, the social and political importance of money, the position of women, ideas of social justice); differences in historical moment and setting; divergences from and resistance to the presence of transatlantic connections; and overlapping histories of transatlantic literature.

Download Syllabus and Schedule

General Colloquia Information

We offer two courses each term, typically one dealing with East/West topics, and another about some aspect of Western thought. Classes meet from 5:30-7:30 every other week for six sessions. This fall and spring the charge is $500 for one course and $800 for both - and at this higher level, spouses are welcome without further charge. You would pay far more for courses carrying academic credit, and at the Heyman Center, you will be studying with Columbia's finest teachers.

Books for both courses can be purchased at Book Culture (formerly Labyrinth Books), located on 112th St. between Broadway and Amsterdam Ave, and can be reached by phone at 212-865-1588. These courses are not listed in the regular University Bulletin; if there is confusion, ask for the text-book department.



Additional support beyond our fees is very much appreciated and brings notices of the Lunchtime Lecture Series at the Heyman Center. All support beyond the course charge is fully tax-deductible. A gift of $25 or more also brings a subscription to the Columbia University Record. Acceptance is on a first come, first served basis, and you will be notified of your registration status upon the Heyman Center's receipt of your registration form with payment.

To register for one or both of this semester's colloquia, download, complete, and return the

Registration Form (pdf)

Please contact Christina Dawkins at 212-854-4631 with any questions. Classes are held in the Second Floor Common Room at the Heyman Center.