Members of the Academy for Lifelong Learning at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee recently delved studied Contemporary Latin-American Literature. They studied the novel of Juan Rulfo, “Pedro Paramo,” which had a great influence on the writings of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Also studied was “The Green House,” by Mario Vargas.

Members of the Center for Learning in Retirement at Rock Valley College in Rockford, will be studying The 2005 Drought from Space. Class begins with an overview of how satellites can be used to monitor vegetation. They will then examine the extent and severity of the 2005 drought in Illinois using both standard measures and satellite imagery.

Family Legacies: African American Women Artists is the title of a new course being given this month at the Community Academy for Lifelong Learning (CALL) in State College, Pennsylvania. To coordinate with an upcoming exhibition, Family Legacies: The Art of Betye, Lezley and Alison Saar, the course presents contributions of Black women artists from mid-19th century to the present, focusing on transmission of knowledge, cultural traditions and values, and family and communal memories from one generation of women to the next.

Art & Technology: Color Magic with Electricity is the title of a new course at Encore: Center for Lifelong Enrichment in North Carolina. Using one of the “Rare Earth Metals,” Titanium, this course offers an opportunity to combine science with technology to produce ART. Classes will meet at the Meredith College Metals Studio where participants will be taught to make simple, small objects. These will then be colored with electricity and water. This technique, called “Anodic Oxidation,” is a process that controls an electrical current passing through an electrolyte bath forming an oxide film on the metal surface. The thickness of the oxide film formed is determined by the voltage applied. Each volt creates a beautiful, predictable color. Participants will finish or wear many of the “art” works by the close of the course.

The Furman University Learning in Retirement program in South Carolina is offering members a chance to study History of English Cathedrals. The rise of Christianity from pagan pre-Roman England to the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Reformation and the Victorian Era is traced through the growth of the cathedral towns in England. This course will discuss the religious, political and cultural development of England reflected in the great cathedrals, which contains the archives of British civilization from early Anglo-Saxon times up to the modern Church of England and Catholic Transitions.

William James and His Family is the title of a recent course at the ILR at Albertus Magnus College in Connecticut. The colorful and productive life of the Jameses is well known and never uninteresting. With many published accounts available on William, Henry and Alice, all of them were discussed.

Decoding Paintings is the title of a new course that was given last month at the Bradley University ILR in Peoria, Illinois. Dan Brown’s interpretation of Leonardo DaVinci’s Last Supper generated a great deal of controversy and conversation. A Bradley University Assistant Professor of Art will examine and discuss the “hidden” meanings and messages contained in a number of select paintings, including not only the famous Last Supper, but in other Renaissance and modern paintings.

This winter the LIR program at Waukesha County Technical College in Wisconsin is offering its members a chance to study Eugene O’Neill: America’s Foremost Playwright. The course will involve an in-depth study of Eugene O’Neill, considered by most critics to be America’s greatest playwright. Discussions will center on his works and then watching videos of those works.

The Lifelong Learning Society at Christopher Newport University in Virginia is offering a new course entitled American Architecture in Context. The course will focus on American architecture within the social, political and aesthetic context of the period 1650-1900. Areas covered include colonialism along the Eastern Seaboard and the emergence of the Georgian style.

What Arab Voices are Saying was the title of a program that members of the Lifelong Learning Institute at Edison College in Florida took last fall. After three years of speaking to countless American audiences in many and varied venues, author Samar Jarrah wrote the book “Arab Voices Speak to American Hearts.” This book was the center of the class discussion and a wonderful opportunity to learn about the lives of Arabs and Muslims as well as an explanation of many of the common misconceptions we all hold.

Public Diplomacy: 18th Century Lessons, 21st Century Questions, is the title of the November Forum held at the Lifetime Learning Institute in Annandale, Virginia. Americans “rediscover” public diplomacy in wartime. Driven by the events of “9/11,” widespread anti-Americanism, and mistakes in Iraq, many Americans are turning again to an instrument of statecraft that began with Thomas Jefferson’s “decent respect for the opinions of mankind.” What is public diplomacy? Why does it matter? What are its strengths and limitations? These are the questions that members addressed in this Forum.

Members of the McGill Institute for Learning in Retirement in Montreal will be studying People, Persuasions and Pursuits: Power and Art in the Italian City States. They will discuss the motivations of the patrons and their relationship with the artists. Equally, they will look at the work and the lives of the artists during this turbulent period of history.

Members of the OLLI program at Duke University in North Carolina will be studying Classes of the Sea. The sea has always been a powerful stimulant of human behavior and imagination that has produced great literature. Sometimes it is a central character, sometimes the volatile stage on which the story is played, sometimes a kind of force or spirit that pervades the environment. They will read some major works which utilize the sea in several of these forms and will discuss the various messages they seem to be sending about social relationships and challenges. Works that will be studied include “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea,” “Robinson Crusoe,” “Billy Budd,” “Youth, Heart of the Darkness,” and End of the Tether.”

Members of the Worcester Institute for Senior Education at Assumption College in Massachusetts will be studying Striving After Wind: Qoheleth’s Worldview, this spring. The Book of Ecclesiastes is one of the most neglected books of scripture, with the sole exception of Chapter 3,(“for everything there is a season…”) In this course they will explore the Preacher’s context and his teachings. Is he a cynic or a realist? Are his questions an act of tremendous faith, or of faithlessness?


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