Course Registration

Registration is now open for courses offered in November, December, and early January.

Check back soon for our January/February offerings!

Click here to see all Polis offerings for 2013-2013.

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Course Series: Drinkers and Great Thinkers

Registration Now Open!

This course series (one time class events) offers a chance for students who cannot make the commitment to a multi-part class to experience a Polis seminar. Students will read one seminal essay or short story from a “great thinker” and the conversation with be carefully paired with a variety of micro-brew beers. The Drinks With Great Thinkers series provides a good balance of community and meaningful discussion.The drinks With Great Thinkers course series begins in November.

Series Instructor: Mary Finn, When: November (2013), January, March, May (2014) Time: 7:00-8:30 PM    Where: The Women’s Building, 3543 18th St, SF

hand-point-right-2November Drinkers and Great Thinkers Course: Is There Meaning in Everything? What Can We Learn From the Mundane and Routine Parts of Life? The Essays of Michel de Montaigne + Saison Farmhouse Ale

In this one session Polis course, students will discuss a set of short essays (some are just one paragraph!) written by the French philosopher Michel de Montaigne. Those who have never read Montaigne are in for a real treat. Montaigne is curious about nearly everything in his world: from the usefulness of thumbs to the purpose of love. Montaigne is a funny, pithy, and accessible writer. Our class conversation will focus on the essential question: Is there meaning in everything? We will engage in discussion about whether or not the mundane and routine parts of our lives can be instructive to us and if so, how?

All classes in the Polis Drinkers and Great Thinkers series will pair the great thinker with an appropriate great beer selection that we will sample during class. In this case, we plan to pair Montaigne with a variety of Saison Farmhouse Style Ales (rooted in French and Belgian history and culture).

 Instructor: Mary Finn, When: November  13, 2013 (Wednesday)

Time: 7:00-8:30 PM    Where: The Women’s Building, 3543 18th St, SF

Registration Now Open!

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December Course: Do We Have an Obligation to Help Others? What is the Basic Social Contract?

Registration Now Open!

If a family member is going through a rough patch, of course we’ll do what we can to help them out, right? But what about a co-worker? Not so fast. And let’s say you’re on BART late at night and see a guy who looks like he’s had a few too many. Who among us is going to make sure he gets home safely? Of course, we can’t possibly offer help to everyone in the world who needs it. So where do we draw the line? Friends but not neighbors? Bay Area but not Central Valley? California but not Oklahoma? America but not Afghanistan?

In this course, we will be reading two classic short stories: Katherine Mansfield’s  “The Garden Party” and Herman Melville’s Bartleby the Scrivener.” They are different in just about every way (for example, one is short, the other is long; one is creepy and dark, the other is sweet and bright, etc.), with one big exception: They both ask us to consider the ways we’re connected to the people around us, and the responsibilities of our shared humanity. We will discuss these weighty questions, and whatever other questions may come up.

Instructor: Daniel Herman When:  December 3rd, 10th, 17th (Tuesday)  Time: 7:00-8:30 PM

Where: The Women’s Building, 3543 18th St, SF

Registration Now Open!


January Course:  Is There Such a Thing as an Independent Individual? What Does it Mean to Claim Individuality?

Registration Now Open!

The short story “The Nose” by Nikolai Gogol and the novella The Secret Sharer by Joseph Conrad play with the notion of alternatives. What if there were another person or being just like you, but not you, who lived a parallel life alongside of you? These magnificent works explore the tantalizing, horrifying and sometimes hilarious possibilities of having a doppelganger or ghostly double whose appearance makes both characters and readers ask, “What does it mean to claim individuality? Is there such a thing as an independent individual?” During this three-week Polis session, we will examine together the sometimes mutually-exclusive notions of individuality and the longing for connections with others.

Instructor: Elen Greenblatt  When:  January 7, 14, 21 (Tuesday) Time: 7:00-8:30 PM

Where: The Women’s Building, 3543 18th St, SF

Registration Now Open!


  1. How Long Have I Got Left? | Polis - January 27, 2014

    […] Join us for a Polis class in February. Meet interesting new people, read something you’ve always meant to, and chew on the big questions of life. […]

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