LLI News December 2008
Interesting tidbits from the latest batch of LLI newsletters.
Members of the Academy for Lifelong Learning of Cape
Cod, Inc., are studying The Flings of Kings (Queens)
and Other Things. “History is written by the winners”
is proven when we uncover hidden episodes of the past – the
flings of kings, those mistresses who had profound impacts on European
history, and the queens – what were they doing? Historical
examples will indicate that we have learned many legends but ignored
This fall, members of the Academy for Lifelong Learning
at Saratoga Springs, New York are taking a course entitled Shakespeare
in China. This course will be a comprehensive history of Shakespeare
as performed and studied in China from the beginnings to the present
day. The study group will emphasize the Bard in the People’s
Republic, but also consider his place in Hong Kong and Taiwan. The
focus will be on the politics connected to this Western icon.
Members of the Adult Learning Institute at Columbia-Greene
Community College in Hudson, New York attended a workshop
on Maintaining Your Brain. The guest speaker was from the
Alzheimer’s Association. It was a fun, informative, interactive
program that taught participants how to lead a brain-healthy life.
They were also were given tips on how to reduce their risk of Alzheimer’s
Disease and Dementia.
Members of the Center for Learning in Retirement at Rock
Valley College in Rockford, IL recently studied Herodotus:
Father of History. Herodotus in the 5th century BC converted
history from myth to interpretive explanation of past events enabling
later people, including us, to face and deal with the realities
of today. This course dealt with, among other things, Persia and
the Ionians, the Spartans, and the Peloponnesian War. The course
was a series of DVD lectures and discussions.
Members of the Institute for Continuing Learning at Young
Harris College in Georgia recently took a course entitled
The Painter of Shanghai. The class, using the book of the
same name, studied the pioneering painter Pan Yuliang and her extraordinary
journey from prostitution to post-impressionist icon.
Members of the ILR at Cedar Crest in New Jersey
had the opportunity this past fall to listen to a former Wall Street
Journal reporter talk about Newspaper Stories and News.
The Blinding of Isaac: Genesis 22 Updated, was the title
of a course given at the ILR at Bergen Community College
in New Jersey this fall. A radical new interpretation of
Genesis 22 was presented, along with the Christian and Muslim understandings
of this text. The impact on Jewish martyrdom in later centuries
was also covered.
Members of the Learning Institute at New England College
(LINEC) in Henniker, New Hampshire studied A Brief
History of the World. Using the Teaching Company set of 36
half hour DVD lectures, they examined and compared the peoples,
cultures and nations of Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas to
understand how, throughout history, people all over the world have
connected, interacted, traded goods and technology, conquered, and
learned from each other.
This fall members of the Learning in Retirement, Inc. at
the University of Georgia Athens studied the field
guides of Roger Tory Peterson. They also examined his influence
on the environmental movement.
Members of the L.I.F.E. program at Mount Saint Mary College
in New York recently studied Songs America Voted By. The
political campaigns of the past were fueled by song. Tunes were
sung with great gusto from porches and taverns across the land.
They livened up street corners and torchlight parades. Campaign
wordsmiths, often using popular melodies of the day, wrote catchy
ditties that got stuck in our heads as we went to the polls. Balladeer
Linda Russell traces our elections from Jefferson’s victory
song through the Whigs Great Singing Campaign of 1840 to the ragtime
melodies of Teddy Roosevelt’s term. This lively program casts
a unique look at how we got to know the candidates for political
office in the days before mass media.
Love is Stronger Than Death was a course given recently
at Lifelong Learning at Regis College in Massachusetts.
Participants studied the meaning of death, and whether our existence
has meaning. These are questions that the poet, the philosopher,
the mystic, and the child in each of us ask, yet we have been unable
to unravel death’s riddle. The purpose of this study group
was to stimulate and share insights and ideas, to invite exploration
rather than to end it.
Members of the Lifelong Learning Society at Christopher
Newport University in Virginia recently studied Profiles
in Colonial History. The five lectures provided a brief biographical
sketch of six important figures in our American history: Lord Baltimore
and Margaret Brent from the Maryland colony and Patrick Henry, George
Wythe, Peyton Randolph and Thomas Harriot. All were pioneers in
personal liberty and freedom.
The Philosophy of Presidential Elections, was the title
of a course given this fall at the Lyceum at Binghamton
University in New York. What goes into making a good decision
when choosing a president? They talked about ethics and the presidency,
the life of a president, and past and future candidacy issues.
Members of the Lifetime Learning Institute at SUNY New Paltz
are studying Self as Other: A Gothic Tale, this fall. Through
the novel, Dracula, short stories and film, they are going to examine
common themes of Gothic literature. These will include fallen worlds,
horror, dead and undead, madness, and hereditary curses. Participants
will get a glimpse into the Freudian unconscious and the return
of the repressed.
Steinbeck and Fitzgerald: A Study in Contrasts – From
Poverty to Decadence was the title of a course given this fall
at the Lifelong Learning Institute at James Madison University
in Virginia. This course examined John Steinbeck’s The Grapes
of Wrath and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Comparisons
between the two authors and their works included: sense of social
consciousness, writing style, enduring qualities of the literature
and information about their private lives and its influence on their
This past summer, the LINEC program at New England College
in Henniker, NH offered members a chance to attend Beautiful
to Eye & Ear: String Instruments in 16th-18th Century Europe.
Early craftsmen believed that musical instruments created by hand
should be “beautiful to eye and ear,” unlike today’s
machine-made, plastic, electrified, and amplified instruments. Slides
showed how painters included beautiful lutes, viols, and harpsichords
in their portraits and still life works.
Everything You Wanted to Know about Presentations but Were Afraid
to Ask was the title of a course given this past summer at
the McGill ILR in Montreal. Whether an eager beaver
or a shrinking violet, members found themselves leaving this workshop
with new approaches that will take the sting out of presenting.
Leaders shared some strategies they have found that lead to a successful
and enjoyable presentation.
Members of the Middlesex Institute for Lifelong Education
(MILES) in Middletown, CT recently took a course entitled
Patriotic and Political Songs of America. Participants
heard the tunes and discovered the stories and history behind some
of the American songs that have roused our patriotism and spurred
our political activism. The informal format included sing-along
This fall, members of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute
at Berkshire Community College in Massachusetts studied
The Silk Road. A series of lectures looked at The History of
the Silk Road – Tamerlane’s Legacy in the Taj Mahal
– Interactions with the Chinese Empire and Lasting Political
Anxieties – The Impact of Tibetan Culture – Along the
Silk Road Today.
Members of The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Furman
in South Carolina recently studied Satire. Participants
explored satire in essays, poems, stories, cartoons, and films,
including works by Jonathan Swift, Mark Twain, Evelyn Waugh, G.B.
Trudeau, and Stanley Kubrick.
The Legends and Legacies of Pearls is the title of a course
given at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Louisiana
State University. The allure of the pearl is universal
and timeless. Join us for lectures and discussion of the history
of pearls and how they have evolved. Experience a hands-on enjoyment
of pearls from all the major pearl centers of the world. Take advantage
of an opportunity to identify and obtain verbal appraisals on your
treasures and family heirlooms.
The Age of Tolerance in Medieval Spain was studied this
past fall by members of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute
at the University of S. Florida in Tampa. During the period
of 800-1200 AD, the Moors invaded southern Spain and established
a benevolent and tolerant rule, particularly in Cordova. They invited
the Jews, Christians and Muslims to coexist peacefully. However,
these groups did more than that; they learned from each other and
adopted each other’s customs, traditions and language. They
even intermarried. The result was the development of a unique culture
that spread throughout Europe.
Members of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the
University of S. Maine in Portland recently took a course
entitled Bizet/Carmen – Same Story, Different Take.
Participants viewed several different versions of the opera Carmen
on DVDs with subtitles. They compared and discussed the differences.
The Osher Lifelong Learning Program at the University of
Pittsburgh is offering members a chance to study Bridges:
Their Structure and Function. This course will provide a survey
of the fundamentals of bridge structures emphasizing visual aspects
rather than the mathematical considerations. Following an overview
of various bridge types constructed throughout history, including
stone arch, metal arch, cantilever, trusses, suspension, and cable-stayed,
particular emphasis will be placed on bridges in the Pittsburgh
area as well as significant bridges from around the world. Some
discussion of the failure of the Interstate 35 bridge in Minneapolis
will be included.
The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University
of Virginia in Charlottesville offered members a chance
to study Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s Topsy-Turvy World.
Participants examined Pieter Bruegel the Elder (ca. 1525-1569),
the premier Flemish painter of the 16th century. After a survey
of his career and development as an artist, set against his tempestuous
times, participants discussed Bruegel’s methods and thought,
as well as his techniques as a landscape painter, his drawings for
prints, his depictions of contemporary life, and his satirical humor.
This fall, members of the PLATO program at the University
of Wisconsin Madison are undertaking an in-depth course
in Religious Studies. Scholars, journalists, diplomats
and other professionals look at religious communities and activities
and bring to their observations, questions that an insider might
find strange, irrelevant, or even dangerous. Their resources for
this course are 24 ½ hours of Teaching Company videos.
Members of the Shoreline Institute of Lifelong Learning
in Guilford, CT studied WWII Aviation: Technology and Significance
this past fall. The course examined WWII aviation and the historical
significance it played on the outcome of the War. Technical aspects
were highlighted as relating to the rapid advances necessitated
by the war efforts of major combatants, along with the different
roles of various types of aircraft.
Members of the Worcester Institute for Senior Education
(WISE) at Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts
are studying Puritans and Witches in Early New England.
This course examines the values and lifestyle of the Puritans in
New England as the background spawning hysteria and persecution
of “witches” in 1692. They are studying historical events
and key persons in the social dynamics that led to recorded tragic
consequences. They are also exploring inherited Puritan values and
their influence upon us today.