LIRA Winter 2024 Schedule of Classes

All programs will be available via Zoom. For classes listed as hybrid, the presenter will be in person in room 106 University Suites, except as noted (map of University Suites) (pdf) and the class will also be on Zoom. For classes labeled Zoom, only the presenter will also be remote. Please check your email for the weekly LIRA announcements for any changes or additions.

Presenters and coordinators with an * denote a LIRA member.

LIRA 2024 Winter Intersession Course Descriptions

Zoonosis: Transfer of animal pathogens to humans
Wednesday, Janaury 3, 2024: 10 a.m. – noon (hybrid)
Presenter: Prof. Thomas Shea

A few years ago, the virus causing COVID-19 found its way from an animal species into humans. We had no immunity against this novel virus, resulting in that monstrous pandemic. This was not the first time such a “crossover” of an animal virus to humans occurred, and it will not be the last. Many, many other animal viruses, some of them perhaps even more deadly, lie in wait. Learn about how this happens, why it is now more likely than ever to occur, and how novel vaccines can provide protection against the next pandemic.

Coordinator: Peter Sebelius*

Great Masters: Mozart -- His Life and MusicWednesdays Janaury 10 and 17, 2024: 10 a.m. - noon (hybrid)
The Great Courses present this DVD course by noted composer and professor Robert Greenberg, Ph.D.

We will hear the first part of this course at our two LIRA classes. Professor Greenberg focuses on debunking myths. He states, “few responsible accounts of Mozart’s life and personality were written during his lifetime. Much was written years after his death.”

His lectures will provide the class with an honest reflection about Mozart’s genius. We will hear some of Mozart’s great musical movements from his symphonies, concertos and operas. The Professor uses Mozart’s music to define him as an “intelligent, hard-working, and talented man.”

Facilitators: Bev and Kim Rudeen*

Telemedia Field Trip to Billerica Access TV Station
Wednesday, Janaury 24, 2024: 10 a.m. - noon (trip)
(Bad Weather Date Thursday, February 1, 2024)

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION! Join us at the Billerica Access TV (BATV) station to “learn by doing” about the operation of a TV station. You’ll have a hands-on experience working in the control room, appearing on a talk show, operating studio cameras and more. Plus, learn about opportunities to volunteer at your town’s Local Access TV station. Many towns offer property tax rebates for volunteers, giving time and talent to many aspects of their community, including volunteering at the local access TV station.

Due to available space and the nature of the activities planned, attendance is limited to 20 people. Please call or text coordinator, Bob Pariseau at: 978-807-9303 or email at: to sign up.

Location: Billerica Access Television, Inc., (located in the Old Howe School building), 390 Boston Road, Billerica, MA 01821
Phone: 978-663-2284

Coordinator: Bob Pariseau*

Boston's Statues: How and What a City Chooses to Remember. A 350-year photographic journey
Wednesday Janaury 31, 2024: 10 a.m. - noon (zoom only)
Presenter: Bruce Magnuson*

Boston's many statues provide insight into the city's history and identity. These monuments are a part of the city's cultural heritage and together they form a rich tapestry of Boston's past. They also show how and what is remembered. In this presentation, we will explore some of Boston's most famous (and not so famous) statues to see what they tell us.

Coordinator: Bev Rudeen*

Natzweiler -Strutoff:The only Nazi concentration camp on French soil
Wednesday, February 7, 2024: 10 a.m. - noon (hybrid)
Presenter: Pat Fontaine, UMass Lowell (UML)

Alsace-Lorraine has had a troubled history of being both part of France and part of Germany. After the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, it was annexed to Germany, then returned to France after World War I. In 1942, after the Nazi occupation of France in 1940, Germany once again annexed it, and the Nazis made people from Alsace and Moselle German citizens.

Young Alsatian and Lorrainian men were immediately inducted into the German army. They considered themselves the malgré-nous, which could be translated into English as "against our will".

Albert Speer, Hitler’s architect, found pink granite in Natzweiler and wanted to use the granite to build monuments to Hitler’s power. Deutsche Erd Und Steinwerke (German Earth and Stone Works Ltd), began to move prisoners to the area in May 1941 to quarry the granite.

A gas chamber was installed in August 1943, and although the camp remained primarily a labor camp, with the construction of the crematorium it became a concentration camp. Historians believe about 20,000 people died in Natzweiler-Strutoff, though the exact number is unknown because many who arrived were executed right away with no record of their identity.

Many of the prisoners in the camp were members of resistance groups throughout Europe and were known as Nach and Nebel (Night and Fog) prisoners. Members of the French Resistance were killed immediately upon arrival. The remaining resistance group prisoners were sent to work in the quarry or on road construction, where work conditions were the worst.

This presentation focuses on the little-known history of Natzweiler-Strutoff and also on the tragic fate of Alsace-Lorraine in French and German history.

Coordinator: Nancy Pitkin*

Food as Medicines
Biggest Bangs from Dietary Doses
Wednesday, February 14, 2024: 10 a.m. - noon (hybrid)
Presenter: Anastasia O’Malley MS, CNS, LDN

Might foods’ phytonutrients, fiber, vitamins & minerals rival the effects of NSAIDs, diabetes’ drugs or blood pressure meds? How do research numbers compare? Which foods could provide useful effects at reasonable serving sizes? Curious? We’ll also talk about the most powerful foods for prevention. From Janaury 8th tsp of some spices to 2 cups of some greens — and others in between — find out how some people have eaten their way to health.

Coordinator: Jim Rutter

Intergroup Relations and Community Perceptions Concerningthe Integration of Refugees within New England
Wednesday, February 21, 2024: 10 a.m. - noon (hybrid)
Presenter: Catherine Stevens, UML Grad Student

In August 2023, Governor Maura Healy declared a state of emergency in Massachusetts to address housing insecurity and the lack of services available for the growing number of migrant families fleeing political unrest, violence, and economic crisis. As the only right-to-shelter state in the country, Massachusetts is legally required to provide shelter to unhoused families. Lowell joins many other cities to assist with the crisis, however, responses from community stakeholders have been mixed. This talk explores the current state of affairs regarding Lowell’s response to the declared humanitarian crisis and addresses the wider landscape of forced migration, community reception, and perceptions that either welcome and facilitate or hinder and block migrant integration.

Coordinator: Jim Rutter