Covering a wide array of topics, this six-week lecture series examines a different subject for each lecture. Outstanding Rice University faculty and other experts from the arts, humanities and sciences share insights on topics ranging from Rembrandt to the Galápagos Islands to new archaeological findings about Stonehenge. This series offers a unique opportunity to sample the diverse course content and instructors featured at the Glasscock School of Continuing Studies.

Content was previously recorded (originally released March 1, 2021).


Stonehenge: Recent Insights in Archaeology and Genetics. Dirk Van Tuerenhout, Ph.D., curator of anthropology, Houston Museum of Natural Science 
Contemporary Cuba: Arts, History and Politics. Luis Duno-Gottberg, Ph.D., professor, Modern and Classical Literatures and Cultures, Rice University
Making the Galápagos Islands: From the Geology to the Fauna. Cin-Ty Lee, Ph.D., Harry Carothers Wiess Professor of Geology, Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences at Rice University
Broadway Pulitzer Prize Winners. Debra Dickinson, M.A., artist-teacher of opera studies, Rice University Shepherd School of Music
Rembrandt, Ruisdael and Dutch Landscape Art. Diane Wolfthal, Ph.D., David and Caroline Minter Professor Emerita of Humanities, Rice University
Boomtown on the Bayou: The Story of Houston Since 1836. Jim Parsons, M.A., programs director, Preservation Houston


Course Details


Dirk Van Tuerenhout, Ph.D., is curator of anthropology at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. He has participated in several archaeological research projects in Belize and Guatemala. His research emphasis is on Maya culture, settlement patterns, population history, architecture and art. He holds a master’s degree in ancient history and another in art history and archaeology, both from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, as well as a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in anthropology from Tulane University. He has published a monograph on Aztec culture. Dr. Van Tuerenhout has taught anthropology at Tulane University, Shippensburg University, the University of New Orleans and the University of Houston–Clear Lake. Among the exhibits he curated at the Houston Museum of Natural Science was “Lucy’s Legacy.” He is currently working on the renovation of the John P. McGovern Hall of The Americas.

Luis Duno-Gottberg, Ph.D., is a professor at Rice University and has taught at Universidad Simón Bolívar in Caracas and Florida Atlantic University. He specializes in 19th-, 20th- and 21st-century Caribbean culture, with an emphasis on race and ethnicity, politics and violence. His current book project, “Dangerous People: Hegemony, Representation and Culture in Contemporary Venezuela,” explores the relationship between popular mobilization, radical politics and culture. He is the author of “La humanidad como mercancía: Introducción a la esclavitud moderna en América y el Caribe” (2014), Solventando las diferencias: La ideología del mestizaje en Cuba” (2003). He is the editor of “Carceral Communities in Latin America: Troubling Prison Worlds in the 21st Century” (2021).

Cin-Ty Lee, Ph.D., is the Harry Carothers Wiess Professor of Geology with the Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences at Rice University. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University and his B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley. His research focuses on volcanoes, continent formation and the making of ore deposits. Dr. Lee is also a lifelong naturalist and has written numerous articles on the field identification of birds. He dedicates his spare time to documenting the flora and fauna of Rice University, recording 228 species of birds and over 500 species of insects since 2002.

Debra Dickinson, M.A., is an artist-teacher of opera studies for acting and movement at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. She was a professional singer and actress in New York for 15 years before starting her career as a director. She performed with Richard Burton on Broadway in “Camelot” and as Guenevere opposite Richard Harris in the subsequent national tour. Ms. Dickinson has taught master classes for Houston Grand Opera and Houston Ebony Opera, served as the acting instructor for Glimmerglass Festival, Brevard Opera and Chautauqua Opera, and was the recipient of the Marcus Bailey and Betty Graves Shelfer Eminent Scholar Chair in Music Theatre at Florida State University. Ms. Dickinson holds a graduate degree from Hunter College in New York City.

Diane Wolfthal, Ph.D., is the David and Caroline Minter Professor Emerita of Humanities and professor of art history at Rice University. She specializes in late medieval and early modern European art and culture. Dr. Wolfthal formerly taught at Columbia and Cambridge Universities. Her two major current projects are “Household Help: Images of Servants and Slaves in Europe and Abroad, 1400–1700,” under contract to Yale University Press, and an exhibition, “Medieval Money, Merchants and Morality” for The Morgan Library and Museum in New York.

Jim Parsons, M.A. puts a lifelong passion for Houston’s history and architecture to work as programs director for Preservation Houston, the Bayou City’s only citywide historic preservation nonprofit. Since joining Preservation Houston’s staff in 2009, Jim has worked to broaden the organization’s educational outreach through architectural walking tours, lectures, workshops and digital programs. He has photographed and co-authored four award-winning books on Art Deco architecture in Texas, including “Houston Deco: Modernistic Architecture of the Texas Coast.”


Online: Pre-recorded / on demand

This course will be delivered in a pre-recorded/on demand format. Registered participants will receive instructions to access the course page and may view the pre-recorded lectures in any order and as often as preferred. The course page will be accessible until February 15, 2022.



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