This spring, Currier House resident Matt Kozlov ’04 has spearheaded a successful campaign to create an interdisciplinary class. The subject? Wine. Anthropology 107: Intoxicating Agents in Comparative & Historical Perspective will feature a number of guest speakers on the topic, ranging from the sommelier of Boston’s No. 9 Park to the owner of New England’s largest vineyard.
Though the class is listed in the anthropology department, the class will approach its subject from multiple angles.
“Hopefully everyone can look at this topic from a different perspective,” says Kozlov.
Last spring, six seniors, also from Currier house, were able to combine their great passions—learning, beer—in a credit-garnering independent study. Kozlov has big glasses to fill.
Six Currier House seniors planned and executed a study of beer from six different academic perspectives. With topics ranging from beer as literary trope to the impact of age limits and taxes on beer consumption economics, the endeavor was not all foam and fizz.
“I got back from a recruiting dinner one night and talked to Dave [A. Goldenheim ’03] about ways to take crazy classes our last semester, and we decided one on beer would be great,” said Nicholas H. Horbaczewski ’03. Initially, he says, “We thought we were going to get laughed at or ad-boarded.”
Horbaczewski and company crafted proposals, complete with reading lists, of each of their topics. Carole Mandryk, Senior Tutor of Currier, took on the mantle of faculty advisor to the class. Each class consisted of a presentation by one of the members, followed by lively discussion, all well-lubricated by multiple six-packs. “I was just amazed at what I learned,” says Mandryk. “Maybe the students even worked extra.”
It was the duty of each week’s presenter to supply the class with beverages, ones that were often themed, such as Tabatha L. George ’03’s “Shakespeare Stout” for her talk on beer in literature. “It was Saturday night every Thursday,” says Paul R. Maasdorp ’02.
Perhaps the most useful presentation came from Goldenheim, who spent one semester at Le Cordon Bleu, the culinary institute, and bestowed the knowledge of beer tasting upon his classmates. “We learned about beers from around the world, different kinds of hops...I now know where on the beer list to find the ones I like,” says Horbaczewski.
It’s a safe bet that the wine class will follow in Beer 101’s footsteps and continue to be, as Horbaczewski puts it, “not a sober operation.”