Interesting tidbits from the latest batch of LLI newsletters.

The Academy for Lifelong Learning at Kingwood College in New Caney, Texas recently offered members a stimulating course entitled Kit Carson and Manifest Destiny in the American West: Davy Crockett, Daniel Boone, Wild Bill Hickok, Buffalo Bill, Kit Carson--all heroes of the American frontier. But only one of them had a truly significant effect on American history and the expansion of the American nation to the Pacific as a completion of its “Manifest Destiny”: Kit Carson-- mountaineer, Indian fighter, Indian friend, scout, linguist, Union officer in the Civil War, cold-blooded killer and family man. Unlike the others mentioned above, Kit Carson may in fact be even larger than his legend, and far more interesting. James K. Polk, as President, is given the credit for the final accomplishment of America’s Manifest Destiny, but without the likes of Kit Carson, it may not have happened until much later.

Members of the Academy for Lifelong Learning at North Harris College in Texas took a course entitled PHOTOGRAPHY FOR TRAVELERS: The basics. They found out how easy it is to capture stunning images while traveling. They also learned about the couple of things to keep in mind and what few gadgets they can take in their camera bag which can make a big difference. The class was led by a professional photographer, who taught them all about their cameras, how to take landscape photos that are a step-above the rest, how to capture a sense of place. They also gathered some tips on cataloguing those photos when they get back home

The Center for Continuing Adult Learning at Hartwick College and SUNY Oneonta in New York offered members some interesting courses this fall. Among them was Words & Music: The World’s Longest Marriage. Members took a quick 1500-year journey from the inception of written music and its use as a text supporter. They saw how the composers married text and music to create some very memorable and interesting work. And why…more than not…did the Church get upset?

Members of the Encore Center for Lifelong Enrichment at North Carolina State University in Raleigh recently took a course entitled Religion, Media, and Popular Culture. This five-week course explored the intersection of religion, media and popular culture. Topics discussed the rapid spread of megachurches, televangelism, politics and religion, and the ways in which people of various faiths are depicted in both news and entertainment media. Topics ranged from religious silent movies, through mid-century Biblical epics, up to Mel Gibson’s The Passion of Christ and beyond. Religious humor was also explored.

Members of the Institute for Continuing Learning at Young Harris College in Georgia recently studied the War of 1812. Attention was centered on the conflict’s colorful leaders, unforgettable naval battles, and the great victory at New Orleans fought AFTER the war was over.

Members of the ILR program at Old Dominion University in Virginia recently studied Musical Theatre: Now & Then, Here & Now. This session included a brief overview of the history and development of this uniquely American art form. Emphasis was placed on recent developments, including national tours, contemporary Broadway trends and the growth of regional theatre companies that make musicals accessible to large portions of the population.

Members of the Jefferson Institute for Lifelong Learning (JILL) in Virginia will be studying Prisons in America: An Insider’s View, this fall. The facilitator, a retired warden of a maximum security prison, will discuss the inmate subculture, how various criminal personalities fit into the inmate hierarchy, the issues of criminal activity, violence and drugs within the prison, the causes of prison riots, offender case histories, their crimes and how they adapted to incarceration, and the prohibitive cost of incarceration and alternative sentencing. The course includes a field trip to a correctional facility and provides a rare look at life behind the walls of a maximum security prison.

The Learning in Retirement program at Iona College (LIRIC) in New York is offering a course entitled Medicine and Morality. Six sessions will look at such issues as Abortion and Contraception- Euthanasia – Wrongful Life – Gene Therapy and Eugenics – Cloning and the Manipulation of Stem Cells – Morality and DNR.

This fall, members of the LIR program at the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh, are studying Early Sea Explorers. This course on early seafarers deals with Pirates, Buccaneers and Privateers, some famous and some infamous.

This fall, the Lifelong Learning Institute at James Madison University in Virginia is offering members a chance to study Jean-Paul Sartre: Existentialism: Literature and Philosophy. This course will include the following topics: Heidegger and Sartre on Anguish and Self-Deception, Tolstoy’s “The Death of Ivan Illych,” and Sartre on the Desire to be God, Sartre’s On the Problem of Self and Other and the Attempt to Solve this Problem through Godlike Romantic Love, Is Hell Other People? Sartre’s “No Exit,” and is a Sartrean Ethics Possible?

The new LLI at Armstrong Atlantic State University is off to a great start with some excellent courses. Bringing the Great Art Masterpieces to Life was one such course. The course gave members a change to study why painters created their famous work, the symbolic significance of a strange object or person in a particular work, and learn many other answers to questions about the masterpieces, much adored throughout history.

Members of the Lifelong Learning Program at Regis College in Massachusetts have been studying Fire in the Tinderbox: Twentieth Century Balkans this fall. In this course the study leader has been reviewing the history of the Balkans in antiquity and in the Byzantine and Ottoman periods. They have been focusing on the development of the nation states in the area, paying particular attention to the causes of their ethnic diversity. The course also examines the role of regional competitive expansionism and the great powers interventions in the disastrous outcome during the 20th century. The course concludes with a “crystal ball” look into the future alternatives for this battered region.

Sacred Chants from Across the World is the title of a course being given this fall at the Lifetime Learning Institute at SUNY New Paltz in New York. Participants will explore the creative, joyful, and healing power of song through the practice of playful and ecstatic chants from around the world. They will learn and sing chants from a variety of sources including the call and response style of Hindu Kirtan, Tibetan, African, Native American, Mideastern, and Western traditions. And woven through these traditional pieces will be reflections from scientific and metaphysical perspectives on the healing effects of change for the mind/body/and planet. No previous singing experience is necessary.

Members of the Lifetime Learning Institute at Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale recently took a course entitled Petticoat Government. They learned how, throughout history, women in the White House created a niche for themselves as they set precedents, supported social causes and were political partners to the Presidents.

The L.I.F.E. program at Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, New York is offering its members a chance to study American Religion: Homegrown Varieties. This course will cover six varieties of religious denominations that originated in the United States. Class sessions will be devoted to the Puritans, Mormons, Seventh Day Adventists, Christian Science, Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Holiness Movement.

Members of the McGill Institute for Learning in Retirement took some stimulating courses this past spring. Among them was William Morris: Beyond Arts and Crafts. Remembered today for handsome fabric patterns and elegantly simple furniture designs, Morris was much more: a passionate socialist, a scholar of Nordic literature, a father of modern urban planning, a utopian social experimenter, a poet, an influence on artists, architects and designers from the 19th century to modern times, to mention just a few of his spheres of activity. Participants surveyed various dimensions of the life and work of this polymath Victorian genius.

MSU for Seniors at Minnesota State University in Mankato offered some interesting courses over this last year. Among them was Columbus, Loyalists, and Slaves. The story of San Salvador, a Bahamian Out Island and the site of Columbus’ first landing in the New World. Later, the place where 5,000 American loyalists and their slaves relocated after the American Revolution.

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Berkshire Community College in Massachusetts is offering its members a chance to study Dashiell Hammett & Lillian Hellman: A Hard-Boiled Duo. Exciting! Explosive! Extra-marital! Extraordinary! These words describe the lives and writings of Dashiell Hammett and Lillian Hellman. This course will explore the passions that they brought to their work and to their relationship. Their involvement in the politics of their time led to heartache, punishment and public exposure. Their influence upon future authors cannot be ignored,

Members of the OLLI program at Duke University in North Carolina were treated to some stimulating courses this past year. Among them was The New Face of Central Asia: All You Ever Wanted to Know about the “Stand,” and Then Some. This course looked at the history and cultures of the region. They discussed the current political landscape and key economic issues (oil and gas, water, agriculture). Finally they explored the future prospects of the five countries and their relationships with neighboring powers and the U.S.

Rational Discussion: A Weekly Roundtable is a program held every Wednesday at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Rutgers University in New Jersey. The purpose of this program is to expose members to different viewpoints and simultaneously help them maintain the decision-making process on a rational rather than emotional plane.

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of N. Florida in Jacksonville has some stimulating courses lined up this fall. In the field of literature, members will be studying Women in the Irish Short Story; Local Writers; Dante, Beatrice & Florence; the Great Books series; and the Roaring Twenties.

Members of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor recently took a course entitled State of War: Michigan in World War II. Participants looked at the many tensions and problems as well as the startling successes as Michigan became the driving force of the Arsenal of Democracy, drew in workers from everywhere and sent its own men and women around the world in uniform.

Members of the Worcester Institute for Senior Educations (WISE) at Assumption College in Massachusetts will be studying Freakonomics. The objective of this course is to show through forceful story-telling and wry insight that economics is, at root, the study of incentives – how people get what they want, or need, especially when other people want or need the same thing. In Freakonomics, one explores the hidden side of…well, everything: abortion and crime reduction, the inner workings of a crack gang, the truth about real estate agents, the myths of campaign finance, the telltale marks of a cheating schoolteacher, the secrets of the Ku Klux Klan, etc.




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