UMass Lowell Professor John Shirley teaches Harmonica class to LIRA.

Fall 2014 Schedule

Fall study groups will meet at: University Suites, 327 Aiken Street, Lowell, MA. Directions, including parking, can be found on the LIRA website. Personalized directions are also available via UMass Lowell's interactive Google maps.

Registration will take place at Convocation on Wednesday, September 10 at 10:00 a.m. in Cumnock Hall, 31 University Ave, Lowell, MA.  Each course description includes, after the title, the name of the person who is 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.

EUROPEAN HISTORY AND EUROPEAN LIVES 1715 – 1914 - Jeanne Gunion, Facilitator*
Eight Mondays 10:00 a.m. to Noon: September 15, 22, 29, October 6, 20, 27, November 3, 10

Thirty-five of the most influential people who lived during years 1715 to 1914, the 200 most difficult years in the history of the West, form the subject of this dramatically different course from the Teaching Company.  Who were these artists, writers, scientists, and leaders in the context of history?  How and why did their lives shape our times and reflect their own? The presenter of these lectures is Jonathan Steinberg, Ph.D., the Walter H. Annenberg Professor of Modern European History at the University of Pennsylvania. 

Members of LIRA will show a sampling of the lectures; they will also provide supplementary materials; and they will ask members to comment and contribute their own experiences and knowledge of the subjects.  A list of the topics will be provided at Convocation.
Dorothy Bromage, Coordinator *

Four Mondays 

No matter where you look these days, there is news about Heredity. We may know we have about twenty five thousand genes spread out so splendidly on our twenty three pairs of Chromosomes.  For some known and unknown reasons, some of these genes undergo changes (mutations) over our life span; and others do not.  Such mutations produce negative and POSITIVE changes. What are genes? What is their main task? What are DNA and RNA? What is "Gene Therapy"?  What do we know; what are we learning; and what don't we know?  Get ready to learn more about your Genome free of charge. Do you have one active gene remaining to keep you awake to learn about your genes?
Jackie Carr, Coordinator*

HOLLYWOOD ON THE POTOMAC - Barbara Page, Presenter*
Four Mondays 

Movies that take place in Washington D.C. are the focus this fall: 

  • Born Yesterday, 1950, Director George Cukor 
  • Advise and Consent, 1962, Director Otto Preminger 
  • All the President’s Men, 1976, Director Alan Pakula 
  • Thirteen Days, 2000, Director Roger Donaldson
Deanne Sferrino, Coordinator*

SHAKESPEARE’S “LOVE’S LABOUR’S LOST” - Frank Carroll, Presenter*
Eight Tuesdays

The next play that we are going to read in the fall Shakespeare class is Love’s Labour's Lost.  We are taking a turnabout back to comedy.  Shakespeare, ever the poet, starts us right off with an alliterative title, which catches the eye immediately and flows nicely from the tongue as we say it.  The play is a very early work, and although Shakespeare had done some acting before 1593, the year most likely when the play was first staged, many critics think it is the first of his productions.  This is based on the numerous lines in the play which refer to political and social situations going on in the England of that time.  Naturally, when it came to politics there is never any criticism of the Queen, of course.

Critics also assert that one of the chief characters, "Biron," sometimes in older editions called "Berone," is Shakespeare himself speaking his own ideas about love in the part of Biron.  Well, we shall see.  We welcome all to the class; a text is necessary of course.  I think we will enjoy it, although the opening idea is one we probably would never agree to in real life. 
Barbara Page, Coordinator*

Eight Tuesdays

This course continues the video lecture series that began in the spring and comprised the first 8 lectures.    It is not necessary to have watched these lectures in order to understand and enjoy the remaining 16. The content of the first 8 was mostly historical.   Professor John McWhorter continues with English in its modern guises.  A specialist in language change, he highlights the difference between the spoken and the written word.
Leon Poirier, Coordinator*


Eight sessions

Beginning September 17 and continuing through November 5, meetings will start at 10:00 a.m. and go until Noon, except for October 9, which is the Thursday trip to the BSO Open Rehearsal.  Please see the attached schedule for dates, times, topics, presenters and coordinators of the Art & Music series.  The indoor classes will be held at University Suites.

GREAT DECISIONS - Shirley Mitchell, Facilitator*
Eight sessions

Using materials supplied by the Foreign Policy Association the first Great Decisions topic in the fall will be Energy independence.  Following topics will be Islamic awakening, Turkey’s challenges, and Food and climate.
Shirley Mitchell, Coordinator*

OPTIMIZING BRAIN FITNESS - Bob Hanlon, Facilitator*
Six Thursdays

Discover the secrets to increasing and expanding your brain’s power to meet everyday challenges and enhance the quality of your life with this 12 lecture course that shows you how to take advantage of the basic principles of brain operation.  Dr. Richard Restak presents vital information and research based exercises you can perform every day.
Here is a small sample of the enjoyable ways presented in this course that you can use to improve your brain:
  • In one minute, name as many animals as you can without repeating them.
  • Close your eyes and envision the room around you and then open them and check for accuracy.
  • Take a number of spices at random and set them on a table, then close your eyes and try to identify each of them by smell alone.
Skip Youngberg, Coordinator*

- Toby Hodes, Facilitator*
Four Fridays 10:00 a.m. to Noon: September 19, October 10, November 21, December 12

If you love to read, enjoy reading an eclectic mix of books, and look forward to having like-minded people with whom to discuss these tomes, the book discussion group has it all.  Every month we read and discuss a variety of books, including sociological studies, memoirs and biographies, political histories, and, yes, fiction, including the classics. 
We will start the fall season with the acclaimed The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism by Doris Kearns Goodwin on Friday September 19.  We will also choose our books for October 10, November 21, and December 12 at that time.

NOTE:  On October 10, Book Discussion will be held at the Chelmsford Library from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

*Denotes LIRA member