UVM Continuing and Distance Education Brattleboro Lecture Series - UVM Continuing and Distance Education

Brattleboro Lecture Series

OLLI Spring 2018 Lectures

Five Mondays Beginning April 2, 2018 10:00 a.m. to Noon


Reading the Qur’an with Rumi
Presented by Amer Latif

Jalaluddin Rumi, the thirteenth-century Muslim contemplative who is one of the best-selling poets in America, considers the Qur’an a map of the self and the characters within Qur’anic stories to be archetypes. Rumi interprets Qur’anic stories through telling tales of his own. Using insights into the nature and function of stories from the cognitive and neurosciences, we will examine how Rumi’s stories orient readers for taking actions that can lead to a life of happiness and flourishing.

Mondays, 10:00 a.m. to Noon

APRIL 2 – The World is Made of Stories: The Human as the Storytelling Animal
From answering questions such as “how was your day?” to watching movies, listening to news, and dreaming, our lives are lived in and through stories. An overview of research from the cognitive neurosciences will help us see why it is fair to call humans “the storytelling animal.”

APRIL 9 – The Qur’an: Map of the Self
Beginning with an overview of the structure of the Qur’an and how Rumi understands the Qur’an to be “the ready cash of our inner states,” we will explore Rumi’s use of archetypes to depict the self, the contentiousness within it, and the possibilities of its harmonious flourishing.


APRIL 23 – Humility and Pride:
 The Story of Adam, Eve, and Satan
In interpreting the Qur’anic story of creation and the loss of paradise, Rumi highlights the human capacity to act out of humility and a desire for repairing broken relationships.

APRIL 30 – The Dragon Within:
 The Story of Moses and Pharaoh
Rumi sees the story of Moses and Pharaoh as yet another manifestation of perennial patterns and archetypes. In retelling and expanding upon Qur’anic episodes of the encounter between Moses and Pharaoh, Rumi shows how pride and selfishness can devastate the self.

MAY 7 – The Metaphorical is the Real: Stories of Lust and Love

THIS IS THE LAST LECTURE IN THE SERIES/SEMESTER. Even though Rumi praises the intellect, he considers the path of love to be the most effective means of transforming the self. We will examine how Rumi draws parallels between the role of desire and yearning in human relationships and in the search for meaning in scriptural interpretation.

About the Presenter

Amer Latif has been professor of religious studies at Marlboro College since 2003. His research focuses primarily on Islamic mystical texts and practices. He is also interested in the issues surrounding cultural translation and has published translations of the poetry of Rumi. A current resident of Putney, Amer grew up in Pakistan and came to the United States to attend Bard College. A former OLLI lecturer (2010), he received his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from SUNY Stony Brook.

WHERE WE MEET: New England Youth Theatre, 100 Flat Street, Brattleboro, Vermont.
Handicapped-accessible parking, ramp, and door are available on the north side of the building.

DIRECTIONS: From the South or the North: I-91 to exit 2. Left off exit ramp onto Western Avenue (VT-9). Follow about a quarter mile, bear left at “Y” in road. At traffic light, Main Street (US-5), turn right. Go 2 blocks to Flat Street and turn right onto Flat Street. The theatre is down the street on the left.

QUESTIONS: Please call Julie Lavorgna at 802-365-7278, or e-mail julielavorgna@gmail.com.

In case of inclement weather, please consult 96.7 WTSA-FM or www.wtsa.net.

Membership Information

$30 individual (6 sessions)
$50 couple (6 sessions)

Individual lectures are open to nonmembers for a fee of $6 per lecture. We encourage attendees to pre-register by mail so as to avoid delays at on-site check-in.

For membership, complete the form on the site brochure or click on this membership form. Mail your completed form with your payment to:

(payable to “The University of Vermont”)
UVM OLLI Registration Office
460 South Prospect Street
Burlington, VT 05401

For a complete listing of all programs, see our listing in a pdf format.

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