Course Schedule

Spring 2014 Schedule

Spring study groups will usually meet in the Talon Club Room at the Tsongas Center, 300 Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Lowell. See directions. Classes on March 19, April 1, 9, 23 and 30 will meet at University Suites, 327 Aiken Street, Lowell. Location of classes may be changed; so watch for announcements. Registration will take place at the Town Meeting on Wednesday, March 12 at 10 a.m. in Cumnock Hall, 31 University Ave, Lowell. Each course description includes, after the title, the name of the presenter or facilitator. Below the paragraph is the name of the course coordinator who makes the arrangements and has responsibility for carrying out details of the class. Questions may be addressed to the coordinator.

U.S. HISTORY OF THE 1960s - Robert Forrant, Presenter
Seven Mondays 10 a.m. to Noon - March 17, 24, 31, April 7, 14, 28

The 1960s is one of the most dramatic decades in American political, social, and cultural history. As the decade opened many Americans believed they were standing at the dawn of a ‘golden age.’ On January 20, 1961, the handsome and charismatic John F. Kennedy became president of the United States. His confidence that, as one historian put it, “the government possessed big answers to big problems” set the tone; what happened? However, that golden age never materialized. On the contrary, by the end of the 1960s it seemed that the nation was falling apart!

The Sixties is synonymous with the transformations and trends of the period—sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll. For seven weeks we’ll turn back the clock to love beads and loud music. This was the decade of Archie Bunker, ‘Hard Hats for Nixon,’ Civil Rights, Women’s Liberation, the Vietnam War and so much more. ‘Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out.’ Woodstock. The Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Multiple Assassinations. Free Speech. The Watts Riot. The Voting Rights Act. Rachael Carson’s Silent Spring (1962). Michael Harrington’s The Other America (1962). Betty Freidan’s, Feminine Mystique (1963). The Beatles on Ed Sullivan (1964). The 1968 Democratic Convention. Student Protests and Kent State. Woodstock (1969). Crazy Charles Manson. Through lots of images, music, old TV clips, and much more we will work our way through a decade of significant social change, one which culminated with the election of Richard Nixon. Dr. Forrant is a professor at UMass Lowell.

Beverly Rudeen,* Coordinator

TERRORISM THEN AND NOW - Neal Shortland, Presenter
One Monday 10 a.m. to Noon - May 12
                                                                                        
Neil Shortland is a Senior Research Associate, Criminal Justice, UMass Lowell. His primary research interest is terrorist behavior, and specifically how this can be used to inform the counter-terrorism, both at the policy level and at the investigative level.

He is also interested in socio-psychological factors of military operations and problems currently faced by deployed forces. This is a Winter Intersession program that was canceled on account of snow.

Coordinator: Russ MacLeod*

WHAT YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT HORMONES BUT WERE TOO EMBARRASSED TO ASK - Arnold Kerzner,* Presenter
Four Mondays 1 – 3 p.m. - March 17, 24, 31, April 7

Our bodies are so lucky to have over 100 hormones to act as “messengers” from endocrine glands to carry out orders to almost every organ. Without such hormones, we could not “fall in love,” make babies, nor continue the Darwinian evolution. They control different phases of our lives from childhood to aging gracefully (or not).  They keep our biological clocks, sleep rhythms, energy levels, growth rates, immune and sexual systems all in order. How amazing is that? This course by LIRA member Dr. Kerzner will highlight the effects of 15 of these hormones as we laugh together all the while increasing our oxytocin levels and social bonding.

Joan Kerzner,* Coordinator

THE MODERN MIDDLE EAST - John Kienzle, Presenter
Four Mondays 1 – 3 p.m. - April 14, 28, May 5, 12

Professor Kienzle will present a four-session interactive presentation on the Middle East, an area of constant interest. Drawing on his 40-years of study and teaching on the Middle East, Professor Kienzle will cover the following topics: Syria—To Be or Not to Be?, Iran—Nuclear Threat?, Israel and the Palestinians—is there a solution? The “Arab Spring” and Egypt—What went wrong?

Dorothy Bromage,* Coordinator

NOTE: Classes on Tuesday, April 1 will meet at the University Suites not the Talon Room.
SHAKESPEARE: TROILUS AND CRESSIDA - Frank Carroll*, Presenter
Eight Tuesdays 10 a.m. to Noon - March 18, 25, April 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, May 6

Over the past several years the Shakespeare class has read most of the Comedies and all of the great Tragedies. We defected and read two modern dramas among that large collection of plays. Coming up next we will read a play that is not at all well known, and that is Troilus and Cressida. This play takes place during the Trojan War, and all the well-known characters from the Iliad and the Odyssey are involved in the play. Nevertheless, the story is not a part of Greek mythology despite its well-known background. Shakespeare, of course, would be familiar with the Greek epics from his early education, but the tale of Troilus and Cressida was written by Chaucer, and was also told by Italian and French authors, and these works could have served as helpful sources to Shakespeare. According to Wikipedia, after the first recorded production of the play in 1609, and perhaps a few other presentations, there is no record of any performance between 1734 and 1898! However, we are up to the challenge and will attempt, successfully I'm sure, the mysteries of this play, written at a time when the Bard is at the height of his powers in 1602 after just completing Hamlet.

Ann Dahlman,* Coordinator

MYTHS, LIES, AND HALF TRUTHS ABOUT LANGUAGE USAGE - Dorothy Bromage*, Facilitator
Four Tuesdays 1 – 3 p.m. - March 18, 25, April 1, 8

In this video lecture series, Professor John McWhorter begins with a brief history of the English language. He continues with English in its modern guises, including slang, email, and texting. A specialist in language change, he highlights the difference between the spoken and the written word. A different perspective on language is a feature of the lectures. Professor McWhorter examines the English language to better understand how strange, illogical, whimsical, and beautiful it really is.

Note: The format for presenting this 24-lecture series is to use the first 4 weeks of the spring session to cover the first 8 lectures, which comprise the history. The remainder of the course, lectures 9-24, will be included in the fall schedule.

Leon Poirier,* Coordinator

HISTORY OF AMERICAN EDUCATION - Pat Fontaine, Presenter
Three Tuesdays 1 – 3 p.m. - April 15, 29, May 6

This series will look at four distinct periods of American education: colonial education and Horace Mann and the Common School; late 19th century education: the influence of immigration and industrialization; John Dewey up to the end of WWII; and recent educational trends that influence education in America today. All of these foundation periods will be examined within historical, social, and cultural contexts. Dr. Fontaine is a professor at UMass Lowell.

Nancy Pitkin,* Coordinator
       
ART & MUSIC
Eight sessions, usually Wednesday 10 a.m. to Noon-March 19, 26, April 2, 9, (Thursday) 17, 23, 30, May 7

Beginning March 19 and continuing through May 7, meetings will start at 10:00 a.m. and go until noon, except for April 17, which is the Thursday trip to the BSO Open Rehearsal. Please see attached schedule for dates, times, topics, presenters and coordinators of the Art & Music series. The indoor classes on March 19, April 9, 23 and 30 will meet at the University Suites not the Talon Room.
Barbara Page,* Coordinator

GREAT DECISIONS - Shirley Mitchell*, Facilitator
Eight sessions, usually Thursday 10 a.m. to Noon - March 20, 27, April 3, 10, (Wednesday)16, 24, May 1, 8

The Great Decisions first topic will be U.S. trade policy using materials supplied by the Foreign Policy Association. Other topics will include China’s foreign policy, defense and the rise of new technologies, and Israel. Briefing books are available for $16.00.

Shirley Mitchell,* Coordinator

MOVIES:  FOUR GREAT COMEDIES - Barbara Page*, Presenter
Four sessions, Thursday 1 – 3 p.m. - March 20, 27, April 3, 10
  • March 20:  "Sullivan’s Travels" – Director: Preston Sturges (1941)
  • March 27:  "The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek" – Director: Preston Sturges (1944)
  • April 3:  "My Man Godfrey" – Director: Gregory La Cava (1936)
  • April 10: "Libeled Lady" – Director: Jack Conway (1936)
Dorothy Bromage*, Coordinator

BEETHOVEN: LIFE AND WORKS - Jeanne Gunion*, Presenter
Four sessions, usually Thursday 1 – 3 p.m. - April (Wednesday) 16, 24, May 1, 8

The life of Ludwig van Beethoven will be presented through the last four lectures of The Teaching Company’s eight- video series with lecturer Robert Greenberg. Following each lecture, the class will listen to representative music by Beethoven. Class members will be invited to offer their own experiences, knowledge and recordings of Beethoven’s works.

Carol McCarthy,* Coordinator

BOOK DISCUSSION - Toby Hodes*, Facilitator
Four Fridays 10:00 a.m. to Noon - March 21, April 18, May 16

Do you like to read fiction or perhaps the classics, or are biographies your preference?  Perhaps you are an aficionado of non-fiction.  Whatever your genre preference, guaranteed sometime during the year the book group will read and discuss an example thereof. And what is more inviting to a passionate reader than an opportunity to discuss a book—like it or hate it—with other like-minded people?  Our discussions are always lively, interesting, and varied, and a new point of view is always welcome. Our selections for spring 2014 are:

  • Friday, March 21 - "And the Mountains Echoed," fiction by Khaled Hosseini
  • Friday, April 18 - "Gun Guys: A Road Trip," non-fiction by Dan Baum
  • Friday, May 16 - "The Lowland," fiction by Jhumpa Lahiri
  • Friday, June 20 - "Lawrence In Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East," non-fiction by Scott Anderson
And, for those who would like to get started on our first book for the fall, in September we will be reading and discussing Doris Kearns Goodwin's latest book: "The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism."

*Indicates LIRA member