LLI News November 2008



Interesting tidbits from the latest batch of LLI newsletters.

Members of the Academy for Lifelong Learning of Cape Cod, Inc., are studying The Lost Dream: Fitzgerald, Hemingway and Faulkner. What happened to the American Dream? This course will consider that question and its suggestion of loss and will explore responses. Topics: the Impact of WWI on young American writers, the new money and freedom of the “Roaring Twenties,” the changing role of women, and the significance of the Black voice.

This fall, members of the Academy for Lifelong Learning at Saratoga Springs, New York are taking a course entitled Victorian Short Stories. The novel became the predominant literary form during Queen Victoria’s reign from 1837 to 1901. The amount of short fiction also expanded rapidly as the number of readers and periodicals increased. Previous courses have presented novels by major authors. This study group will involve the discussion of short stories, usually by writers who are not so well known, which often give surprising insights into the temper of the time. They are very diverse, including stories with elements of feminism, ghost stories, stories reflecting English colonialism, and even the Jewish presence in England.

This fall, members of the Adult Learning Program at the University of Connecticut in Hartford will learn about Mussolini’s Rome. This lecture, illustrated with slides, will show how Mussolini tried to rebuild Rome in his own image as the new Augustus. The way we see so much of historic Rome today has been shaped by his transformation of the city: St. Paul’s, the Coliseum, the Circus Maximus, and other famous sites were integrated into the fascist Rome Mussolini created. New sites included a sports complex, a university campus, and a city of the future.

Members of the L.I.F.E. program at Mount Saint Mary College in New York recently studied The Story of Elizabeth I, Daughter of Henry VIII An abused and abandoned child, a troubled teen, and a lonely yet lively queen, Elizabeth I lived first and foremost for her people. This woman, perhaps one of England’s most beloved monarchs, brought fame, wealth, and prosperity to her country which she loved beyond all else. If she were living today, she would surely be one of the most successful women of our time.

Biology 001, a course given recently at Lifelong Learning at Regis College in Massachusetts gave members an opportunity to review all they have forgotten from their high school biology class. For those who never took biology it was a chance to learn it for the first time. Students covered the form and function of the body systems with the emphasis on humans. Participants learned how the kidneys work, how oxygen gets in your cells, how food turns into the building blocks of the body, and how blood circulates. The class did not have to do any dissection.

Members of the Lifelong Learning Society at Christopher Newport University in Virginia recently studied Daily Life in Ancient Rome. This ten-week course looked at how ordinary Romans lived and worked, how they designed their cities, decorated their homes, and amused themselves, as well as what they ate and what their social customs were like.

WWII Art Looting: The US Boomerang, is the title of a course being given this fall at the Lyceum at Binghamton University in New York. The presenter will outline the mission of our military’s Monument Men who helped preserve priceless European art treasures during WWII. He will also show some film footage of controversial scenes omitted from the recent documentary, Rape of Europa.

Members of the McGill Institute for Learning in Retirement program in Montreal are Studying The Problem of Evil and the Modern Novel, this fall. That evil abounds in the world is an almost trite observation. No wonder that novelists frequently wrestle with this problem. In this study group, participants will read three comparatively short novels. They are Lord of the Flies, A Clockwork Orange and Black Dogs.

This fall Learning in Retirement, Inc. at the University of Georgia Athens is offering members the chance to explore No Purchase Necessary. Anyone interested in examining how we got to where we are today as humans and as Americans is invited to avail themselves of the opportunity to see the impact of our choices as consumers on our own lives and the lives of others. Participants will be empowered to make choices that improve the quality of their lives and help restore the earth home we all share.

Unusual Travels was the title of a five-session course given this fall at the Lifelong Learning Institute at James Madison University in Virginia. Topics included China: Glimpses After the Cultural Revolution – Time Passage: Discovering the Power of the Past – Ancient Britain – A Photographic Journey to the Mystic Temples of Cambodia and Thailand – The Deserts of Namibia During Their Rainy Season.

Members of the Lifelong Learning Institute at Northern Virginia Community College – Manassas recently studied Women in the Bible. In this series of classes five local clergywomen discussed a female biblical character. Each session was held at the clergywoman’s church.

Members of the Lifetime Learning Institute at SUNY New Paltz are studying Extraordinary Ladies this fall. Participants will examine the accomplishments of four important women. The first three, Gertrude Bell (Middle East explorer), Emma Goldman (Marxist revolutionary), and Jane Addams (sociologist) were all born in the same decade – the 1860s – and made their contributions into the 20th century. The fourth, Frida Kahlo (artist), created her work in the early part of the 20th century.

This past summer, the LINEC program at New England College in Henniker, NH offered members a chance to take part in the Now or Never Reading Group. In keeping with their Russian literature theme for the year, members watched the Russian film version of War and Peace over three consecutive morning sessions followed by a discussion over lunch.

Sharia, A Religious Law Explained was the title of a course given this past summer at the McGill ILR in Montreal. Sharia, or Islamic law, is a term that evokes strong emotions. For many Westerners and non-Muslims, it denotes a system of medieval times that imposes a harsh code of behavior, sanctioned by draconian punishment. For many, not all Muslims, it represents a system that promotes goodness and justice. Participants learned what Sharia is all about.

This fall, members of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Berkshire Community College in Massachusetts studied The Poetry of Robert Frost. Close readings of a representative assortment of Frost’s poetry focused on his form, imagery, metaphors and their possible interpretations. They also toured the Robert Frost Stone House Museum in Shaftsbury, Vermont.

House Portraits was the title of a course given at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Louisiana State University. This class was for students with some previous experience in watercolor painting. Students were asked to bring in photos of buildings that interest them. They worked from photos and Xerox copies, first painting a value study using black paint, then a full color painting using a full palette of colors.

The Osher Lifelong Learning Program at the University of Pittsburgh is offering members a chance to study Cuba: From Columbus to Castro. The course will retrace the history of the island, from its discovery in 1492 to the most recent developments. Items such as geography, natural resources, the legacy of colonialism, United States influence, the role of the former Soviet Union, and the successes and failures of the revolution will be covered.

Members of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of S. Maine in Portland recently took a course entitled Experiencing Consensus Decision-Making vs. Robert’s Rules of Order. The goal of the course was to experience group decision-making using two models: consensus and Robert’s Rules of Order. In each session, as a group, they applied both decision-making models to a topic and analyzed the conclusions that they reached from each.

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville is offering members a chance to study James and Dolley Madison, Montpelier, and the Founding of Our Nation. The course will focus on the lives and characters of James and Dolley Madison and the enormous contribution they made to the founding of our nation. Emphasis will be placed on: the “founding” events; who the founders were and what roles they played; the role of slavery in the “founding;” the tumultuous years following the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the ratification debates; Madison’s executive years as Secretary of State and President; the Madison’s retirement years at Montpelier; and the legacy they have left to us.

Members of Senior College at the University of Maine Hutchinson Center in Belfast recently took a course entitled The English Language: History and Controversies. The class was divided into two parts. In the first part they focused on an often controversial topic: the origin of human language, the nature and causes of language change, the role of dictionaries, language and social issues, and the death of languages around the world. The second part was devoted to a brief historical survey of the English language.

Members of the Worcester Institute for Senior Education (WISE) at Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts are studying The Poetry of American Transcendentalism. This 10-week seminar considers selections of the poetry of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Jones Very, and Walt Whitman. Although best known for the essays of Emerson and Thoreau, American Transcendentalism gave rise to a noteworthy body of poems.









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