quirky / specific lit or art history classes in the east bay?
November 29, 2011 2:12 PM   Subscribe

What cool places can I take classes, preferably accessible to public transit in the East Bay? Things like lit classes on specific subjects / authors, art history classes on specific artists / time periods, women's studies.

I read a lot, but don't often pick books that are challenging or would require a lot of outside reading or research, like I read in college when I took classes in that sort of thing. I also really enjoy art history. I would love to take a class on (as a random example) Moby Dick, where I could learn about all of the background, time period, and references. Or on 19th century women novelists, or on Virginia Woolf. Or an art history class just on the pre-Raphaelites, or Gothic architecture, or Edouard Manet. (Or whatever.) I live in Oakland. Where can I find (affordable) classes like this? Must be accessible by public transit, preferably in the east bay - SF is okay, if it's not too remote.

Reading this, it sounds like I want a book club. I don't think I do - I want the structure of a class and an authority of some kind giving it direction. Classes that only meet a few times are fine.

I've looked at extended ed at some local community colleges, and while I may be mistaken because I found the websites incredibly confusing and poorly laid out and may have been accidentally looking at degree programs, all the classes seem to be broad, introductory-ish classes like "modern lit" or "art history 1".
posted by fireflies to Education (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Community colleges cover the first two years, right? So it's not surprising that you'd see a lot of introductory classes.

UC Berkeley Extension is the obvious answer (disclaimer: it may be obvious to me only because I work at UC Berkeley), but it looks like all of their humanities courses are online.
posted by madcaptenor at 2:23 PM on November 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

Well I know that you can register at CCSF as a non-degree student, and then just take any of the regular classes you want. I cannot, however, figure out if that's true at Laney or Berkeley City. I suspect it may be true though, so you might want to just call the admissions department and ask. I saw a few specialized classes mixed in with the basics.

Unfortunately UC Berkeley Extension classes fairly expensive. The one I checked was $700.
posted by grapesaresour at 3:46 PM on November 29, 2011

At the Peralta College District (which includes Berkeley, Alameda, Laney, and Merritt), what you're probably looking for are 'community services' or 'fee-based' classes. These are aimed at the general public, are not supported by state funds, and are not part of a degree program. I poked around a bit and couldn't find anything offered for spring 2012 except horticulture.

You can enroll in regular UC Berkeley courses with instructor approval via concurrent enrollment. But you'll be paying $585 per unit.

The Albany Adult School sometimes has literature courses in its Personal Enrichment section - in January they're offering modern Indian literature.

If you qualify as an older adult (50 or above), the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute has a bunch of classes that might be of interest.
posted by expialidocious at 4:22 PM on November 29, 2011

You can enroll in regular UC Berkeley courses with instructor approval via concurrent enrollment. But you'll be paying $585 per unit.

Also, regular UC Berkeley courses give higher priority to regular UC Berkeley students; that is, concurrent enrollment students are in general only allowed in the course if it doesn't fill up with regular students. These days a lot of classes are filling up. I've had to turn away a few concurrent enrollment students.
posted by madcaptenor at 4:30 PM on November 29, 2011

Response by poster: Yeah, not only are the Humanities classes at Berkeley online, they're waaaay out of my price range. And I don't qualify as an older adult - I'm 23 :)

Thanks for the link to the Albany Adult School, that looks really promising!

I was hoping just for some small nonprofit org or something like that... I've taken a lot of art classes at small studios, community centers, nonprofits, and just businesses that offer art classes, why isn't there something like this for literature!
posted by fireflies at 4:54 PM on November 29, 2011

Instead of courses, have you considered on-campus lectures that are open to the community? Less structure, but lots of interesting stuff and often free. Here's the Berkeley Events Calendar's lectures tab.
posted by deludingmyself at 5:03 PM on November 29, 2011

As another shameless plug for a school I work at, may I suggest CSU East Bay? We have a Concord Campus as well which is accessible through BART and a free shuttle, and its small and intimate. You may have trouble finding all of the classes you are interested in however.

This might be remedied by the Osher Life-Long Learning Institute which is also hosted by our campus, and holds a lot of talks about literature, history, art history, and such for folks just interested in attending talks and discussions and not interested in majors or degrees.
posted by Peregrin5 at 4:17 PM on December 6, 2011

Here is the link to OLLI btw: http://www.ce.csueastbay.edu/courses/OLLI/events_concord.shtml
posted by Peregrin5 at 4:18 PM on December 6, 2011

« Older Bulk/Discount Buy Group Management   |   I want to watch this movie! Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.