Spring 2020

Most study groups meet for 10 weeks, mini courses meet for 5 or 6 weeks. Please note the specific meeting dates given for each course. Locations of classes will be announced shortly before classes begin. Study groups are typically "led" rather than "taught" — all by volunteers. Most use a seminar format, emphasizing discussion, usually with preparatory reading. There are variables, however, such as the amount and nature of weekly preparation, the opportunity or expectation for class members to give presentations, and the extent to which material is presented by the leader. Please read descriptions carefully for these details. Also note costs for materials provided (other than texts, which students should buy independently.)

Details

Classes fill up! Apply early for best chances of getting into the study groups you want. Enrollments continue thereafter on a first-come, first-served basis.

  1. Who may join. LLARC welcomes mature men and women of all faiths and backgrounds.
  2. Register by mail using the enrollment form (print extras for friends!)
  3. Choose from two levels of participation:
    1. Basic annual membership, including the Lunch, Listen and Learn program
    2. Basic annual membership plus enrollment for the current semester in one or more seminars.
  4. You must be a member to enroll in courses and enjoy other benefits of membership. The membership fee is annual and is valid from September 1, 2019 to August 31, 2020.
  5. The flat tuition rate covers all your study groups for the semester. Space is limited in all classes, however, so enrollment is not guaranteed. (Also, a study group may be cancelled if enrollment is insufficient.) We strongly encourage you to make alternate selections in case your top choices are filled. Don’t forget to indicate the total number of study groups in which you wish to be enrolled.
  6. Registrations will be processed beginning on January 6. All applications submitted by that date will be regarded equally for purposes of assigning places in each study group. Applications may be submitted early (and this is encouraged) but they will not be acted upon before January 6. On that date, if any study group is oversubscribed, enrollment will be by lottery. Anyone not enrolled will be placed on a waiting list.
  7. Confirmations will be mailed out weekly beginning January 13. We will confirm you initially for up to two study groups, if space is available. If we are then able to enroll you in an additional selection, we will telephone you and send you a supplemental confirmation. Study group leaders will communicate any preparation necessary for the first class meeting.
  8. Additional costs. you are responsible for the cost of books and other materials. Typically, you are expected to obtain books on your own and to buy other materials from the leader in class.

3101 Creative Writing Workshop

In this writing group, the creative talents of the participants will be encouraged by their peers. Members are invited to write in any genre: memoir, poetry, fiction, non-fiction, essay, humor or play. Handouts will be provided to stimulate writing. Participants are given time to share their writings with classmates if they choose. Sometimes in talking about someone else’s writing, we are able to clarify our own thoughts and abilities. This is a light-hearted, supportive, welcoming group whose members enjoy writing for the fun of it.

Leader: Virginia Slep holds a BA and an MA in English, and taught high school English for 35 years before her retirement. She has been teaching this writing class at LLARC since 2008. She writes a regular column for the North Reading Transcript. Virginia has a PhD in Clinical Hypnosis, and has a private practice in Wayland.

Class Meetings: 10 Mondays; February 24-May 4; (no classes on April 20 for Patriots Day) 9:15–10:45 a.m.

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3102 James Madison and the Constitution

We will examine the political life of James Madison and the period in American history in which he served. The course will present a broad portrait of the history and politics of our constitution. A special emphasis will be placed upon the impeachment clause of the Constitution and its relevance to today. In addition to the assigned text, handouts of additional or of contrasting views will be provided No reports will be required but active class participation will be expected and encouraged. One to two hours of readings for each class.No reports will be required, but active class participation will be encouraged and expected. One to two hours of readings for each class.

Text: James Madison by Ralph Ketchum.

Leader: Bernie earned an undergraduate degree with a major in history. He then earned an LLD degree at Boston University School of Law. He was a partner at a Boston law firm for several years. Subsequently Bernie cofounded and served as legal counsel and COO of a financial services firm. Upon retirement he became a member of a Harvard University Extension Division for Learning in Retirement where he led many courses for over 15 years. Bernie has been a member since 2005 and he has led over 30 courses at LLARC.

Class Meetings: 10 Mondays; February 24-May 4; (no classes on April 20 for Patriots Day) 9:15–10:45 a.m.

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3103 Opera for Everyone: A Salute to Five Great Opera Singers of the Past and Present

In this five-week course, you will join Erika as she takes you on a journey to celebrate the lives of five eminent opera singers. You’ll start with the majestic American soprano Jessye Norman, whom we lost in September 2019. Then we’ll explore the art of the unequaled tenor Fritz Wunderlich and enjoy a salute to the mighty Welsh bass-baritone Sir Bryn Terfel. You’ll learn why Birgit Nilsson, the Swedish dramatic soprano, was considered in a league of her own. And finally, you’ll enjoy a tribute to the elegant voice of Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky, whom the opera world lost prematurely in 2017.

Leader: Erika Reitshamer, born and educated in Germany, is a life-long opera lover and engaging teacher, whose knowledge and love of opera will inspire all. Her open style and sense of humor are irresistible. This is her 11th semester of teaching for LLARC.

Class Meetings: 5 Mondays; March 30–April 27 and May 11; (no classes on April 20 for Patriots Day or on May 4th). 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Please note the dates.

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3104 Penelope Lively’s Moon Tiger and the Nature of the Booker Prize

Booker Prize novel, Moon Tiger—so is history. We find her, therefore, in the opening line of the narrative “writing a history of the world.” What follows is a thoroughly modern and unique approach to storytelling, as Lively conveys a “history” of Claudia’s life through varied narrator’s perspectives, but most prominently through Claudia’s memories. She is not a “nice” woman, but somehow the reader admires—and even comes to love—this feisty protagonist. Perhaps this novel has enjoyed a revival because Claudia is a modern version of Elizabeth Bennet—run a bit amok. I cannot help but wonder what they would think of each other? Virginia Woolf would undoubtedly admire Claudia; Lizzie would probably be a bit shocked but privately quite sympathetic.

During this 5-week course, we shall consider not only this novel but the history and character of England’s Booker Prize. Chosen originally as a Booker Prize winner, Lively’s novel languished in relative obscurity after it was published in 1987. Yet it climbed over admirable, indeed impressive, competition to emerge as one of two finalists for the Golden Booker Prize in 2018. We will discuss what caused this renaissance and enjoy losing ourselves in its imaginative prose. Whether you have read this work before or are encountering it for the first time, the novel’s structure, character development, and audacity will challenge and enchant you. Plan on reading around 40 pages for each assignment along with select essays on the Booker prize.

Leader: Diane Proctor has been offering courses at Regis for five years. She taught writing, history, and literature at Milton Academy, Hotchkiss School, and Middlesex School.

Class Meetings: 5 Mondays; February 24–March 23; 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

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3105 How the Media Depicted the Struggle for Women’s Rights

2020 will be a year of celebration-100 years since the ratification of the 19th Amendment which granted American women the right to vote! How far we’ve come! This multimedia study group will consider the history of the continuing struggle for women’s rights in America. We will focus especially on the stories of the suffragettes and others who fought for women’s rights. No previous course required.

Text: This is a discussion class with no written assignments. Possible voluntary presentations will be done. There is no book assigned. Rather, handouts, internet research and films. Maximum cost of handouts: $10.

Leader: Mary Nowak has a BA and MA in American history from Boston University. She taught American history and U.S. and world geography in Brookline. She has led several study groups for LLARC on two of her favorite subjects: women’s history and the Civil War.

Class Meetings: 10 Mondays; February 24–May 4; (no classes on April 20 for Patriots Day); 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

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3107 A Guided Tour through James Joyce’s Ulysses

Widely celebrated as a masterpiece of twentieth century literature for its indelible characters, epic themes, intimate realism, imaginative style, poetic prose, and unparalleled literary connections, James Joyce’s Ulysses’ 730 pages is a daunting read, unguided. Though the entire novel covers one day—June 16, 1904—in the Dublin life of its protagonists, we will continue our leisurely guided tour through the emotional, spiritual and psychological struggles of Leopold and Molly Bloom and Stephen Dedalus on the most “ordinariniest” of days.

Please note: this spring semester will journey through the last 2/3 of the novel, the most imaginative, creative episodes. It is not necessary to have been enrolled in part one to participate in this class; I can bring you up to speed during the intersession.

Texts: James Joyce’s Ulysses. There are many excellent Ulysses readers (secondary materials) which you are free to use but I will provide my explanatory synthesis of them for each chapter as part of the “guided tour.”

Leader: Rachel Alpert has taught high school English and currently teaches at Suffolk Law School. She previously led LLARC study groups on “Freedom of Speech,” “The Rise of Religion in the Supreme Court,” “Sex, Gender, Bathrooms and the Supreme Court” and “The Regulation of Food in the U.S.” She is an avid fan of great literature, including James Joyce’s Ulysses.

Class Meetings: 10 Mondays; February 24–May 4; (no classes on April 20 for Patriots Day); 1–2:30 p.m.

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3108 Puccini’s Heroines;They Don't All Meet Tragic Ends

Puccini’s operas are a staple of the opera repertory, and all have as a central figure a heroine—a soprano who often, but not always, has a tragic death. This course will look at five of his memorable leading ladies, from La Boheme, Tosca, Madama Butterfly, La Fanciulla del West, and Turandot to see how he presents his heroines, and how his treatment changes over time. After an introduction, each week will focus on a single work, and a large part of each class will be watching segments of stellar performances of the operas on DVDs. No prior knowledge of music or opera required.

Leader: After completing all course work for a PhD in musicology before a career in law, Lois Novotny has returned to her first love, music. She regularly visits the Metropolitan Opera, and happily travels to opera houses in other places. She has enjoyed teaching both at LLARC and other lifelong learning programs.

Class Meetings: 5 Mondays, March 2–March 30; 1-4 p.m. Please note the dates and times.

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3109 From the Non Fiction Bookshelf

Topics from sending a golden record into space, Roger Williams and the creation of Rhode Island, an important woman in Kenya, and the future of humanity will be discussed over 8 weeks. One week will be spent on six of the books and two books will be discussed for two weeks. Reading ahead and taking notes is always recommended. Books are available through your library networks, on the internet or on audio.

Books for Reading: Vinyl Frontier: the Story of the Voyager Golden Record by Jonathan Scott; Gifts of the Jews: How a Tribe of Desert Nomads Changed the Way Everyone Thinks and Feels by Thomas Cahill (part of the series Hinges of History); Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul: Church, State, and the Birth of Liberty by Joan Barry (two weeks), also on audio; Unbowed by Wangari Muta Maathi; Maria Mitchell and the Sexing of Science: An Astronomer Among the American Romantics by Renee Bergland (two weeks); Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out? by Bill McKibben

Leader: Karen Mallozzi reads a wide variety of genres and enjoys sharing books with others. She has offered several sessions on mystery titles, one session on science fiction novels, a session on the work of Ray Bradbury, and a non-fiction session on weather events. Karen is a founding member of Natick Neighbors Compost which has grown to 800 households in Natick composting their food waste and a founding member of The Friends of the Morse Institute Library, Natick and worked as administrative assistant to the director during the expansion of the library. Karen holds a BA from the University of Rhode Island in 1981 and a MA from Andover-Newton Theological School in 2010. She has worked for the Wayland parishes now combined as Good Shepherd Parish and as Director of Parish Ministries at St. Bridget Parish in Framingham.

Class Meetings: 8 Mondays; February 24–April 13; (no classes on April 20 for Patriots Day); 1-2:30 p.m.

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3106 Hablemos Español!!

Spanish is fast becoming a second language in the U.S. This small, informal class is designed to enhance speaking skills and improve grammar. It will be conducted at an intermediate rather than beginner level. We also read literature, preferably short stories, and discuss their contents. Therefore it will be necessary to buy some books. In addition, a Spanish-English dictionary will be very helpful.

Leader: Aida Dudelson was born and grew up in Montevideo, Uruguay. She received a BA in liberal arts at the University of Montevideo. Shortly after moving to the United States with her family, she worked in the foreign department of a Boston bank. She then volunteered at New England Medical Center, translating for Spanish-speaking patients. She has taught at Wellesley High School as a short- and long-term substitute and has tutored privately for the past 26 years.

Class Meetings: 6 Mondays; March 23–May 4; (no classes on April 20 for Patriots Day); 1-2:30 p.m.

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3111 Sargent’s World: The Life and Art of John Singer Sargent

John Singer Sargent’s portraits and landscapes are some of the best known examples of late 19th and early 20th century painting. He traveled widely and painted subjects both well-known and unknown. This course will provide an introduction to his life and art, and will explore the lives of the subjects of some of his iconic portraits.

Leader: Diane Burkhardt and Ann Berman are retired teachers who share a love of teaching, learning 19th century history and muffins. This will be their fourth collaboration.

Class Meetings: 5 Tuesdays; February 25–March 24; 9:15–10:45 a.m.

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3112 Henry V: Shakespeare’s Greatest King?

As the play begins, we meet an untested Henry looking for a reason to invade France. Shakespeare portrays this historical figure using violence, humor and intimacy as he rises to a peak of military and marital success. The option of seeing the Actor’s Shakespeare Project’s production of the play will be available.

Text: Henry V (Folger Library edition recommended)

Leader: Ann Berman is a retired special education teacher who recently earned a masters in Shakespeare studies. She is looking forward to exploring one of the best history plays ever.

Class Meetings: 5 Tuesdays; March 31–April 28; 9:15–11 a.m.

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3113 Exercise for Improved Strength and Function

This class will include a variety of strengthening and functional activities to assist the individual in improving muscular endurance, balance, and ability to perform daily activities. Following an initial assessment, using a senior fitness test, participants will engage in group and individual exercise sessions led by students in the exercise science program and supervised by a Regis faculty member.

Leader: Dr. Cathy Fuller is the department chair of Health and Fitness Studies which encompasses majors in exercise science, nutrition, sport management, and therapeutic recreation. Dr. Fuller teaches primarily in the exercise science major, but has a broad background in physical education, coaching, personal training, interprofessional education and nutrition. A registered kinesiotherapist, she has worked with individuals with limitations to enhance their physical capabilities and health.

Class Meetings: 7 Tuesdays; March 10–April 21; 11 a.m.–noon. Please note the starting date.

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3114 Current Events

Are you a person who is interested in world events and likes to have a conversation about them? Do you want to have a place to share your opinions and thoughts about topics in the news? If so, we have a class for you! Through a facilitated discussion, classmates will express their ideas about recent happenings, while we listen, learn and understand the basis for their sentiments. Class members will be encouraged to present one topic of interest for discussion during the semester. At the end of each class we will talk about recent items that have occurred in the news during the previous week.

Leader: Muriel Stern Riseman is a retired high school counselor, who, while working, particularly enjoyed facilitating discussions between youth and adults. She has continued this interest by leading community support groups and currently volunteers as a mediator for a consumer assistance office. She identifies as a “news junkie” and likes to absorb as much information as she can about what is happening in the world and share her perceptions and listen to other points of view. She has facilitated current events classes at LLARC for the previous three semesters, and, for sure, we always have more news to explore!

Class Meetings: 6 Tuesdays; March 24–April 28; 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Please note the starting date.

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3110 E Pluribus Unum

The Constitution created 233 years ago replaced the Articles of Confederation, a system that had served its purpose after a mere 7 years. The untested Constitution presented the new states with an owners manual for representative democracy that was to last for another 73 years. But how long could this bold gamble be expected to endure? Would you have supported the plan in 1787? Did it need a Bill of Rights? Would you have wanted Massachusetts to ratify it?

This 10-week interactive course invites students to engage in a series of creative exercises by completing a workbook aimed at examining the question: does the Constitution work? We will see what the framers produced to “secure the blessings of liberty” and discuss to what extent they succeeded.

Text: Required workbook packet: $3.00

Leader: Teacher and author Steve Lowe has devoted seven years of retirement to studying the U.S. Constitution. Since 2014 he has been enriched by sharing what he’s learned with lifelong learning students in the metrowest.

Class Meetings: 10 Tuesdays: February 25-April 28; 9:15–10:45 a.m.

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3115 German to Go - For Advanced Beginners and Intermediate Speakers

This session reviews and continues topics covered during our fall session. As before, everyday topics will be explored with practical vocabulary, dialogues, songs will be varied with basic grammar lessons. Youtube and other visual and electronic aids will enrich the instruction.

Leader: Karin Flynn is a native speaker and retired teacher with a BA in drama from Tufts University and MA in English from Framingham State. From 1968 to 2003 Karin taught English and German at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School, where in 1986 she started the still ongoing homestay exchange with Germany.

Class Meetings: 10 Tuesdays; February 25–April 28; 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

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3116 Beowulf and Anglo-Saxon Heroism

Beowulf, written over a thousand years ago, tells one of the strangest, most beautiful story of heroism and grim determination there is. Together, we will explore this dark world of monsters, rivalry, and heroes. After first reading some Anglo-Saxon poetry to get a taste for the way old English poetry works, we’ll read the great Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf slowly and discuss it together. We will be using Seamus Heany’s translation of Beowulf.

Text: Beowulf (Heany translation); other short Anglo-Saxon poems for context, such as The Wanderer, Wulf and Eadwacer, and The Ruin.

Leader: Kreg Segall is professor of English in the Department of Humanities at Regis College. He specializes in English medieval and Renaissance literature. He has previously taught courses on Shakespeare, Chaucer, and Homer for LLARC.

Class Meetings: 9 Tuesdays; February 25–April 28 (no class on March 3); 1–2:30 p.m.

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3117 The Movies' Take on the Issues

In this ten-week course we will look at what happens when the movies decide to take on serious issues. We will look at five important cultural issues: adolescent rebellion, race, divorce, homosexuality, and women’s issues, and explore how the movies present the topic and what conclusions, if any, are drawn—or that we can draw about what the movie is actually saying about the issue. Is the film an honest exploration or a “whitewash”? How does the cultural milieu of the time the film was made influence its depiction of the issue? How do race, gender, and class play into the depiction of what is at stake? How does the film’s genre (i.e. comedy vs. drama, for example) change its depiction and its impact? How is the film an articulation of American society and its values? We will view two films on the topic, each which has a different “take” on it. Each week before we view the film I will send out some background information on the issue and a guide to the film. We will view the film together during the first part of the class, and then discuss the film through the lens of the questions listed above. The topics and films we will discuss are: Adolescent Rebellion: Rebel Without a Cause/Eighth Grade; Race: Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?/Do the Right Thing; Divorce: An Unmarried Woman/Kramer Vs. Kramer; Homosexuality: Brokeback Mountain/The Kids are All Right; Women’s Issues: Thelma and Louise/9 to 5. These titles are subject to change.

Leader: Ronna Frick retired after teaching high school English for over forty years, the last nine also serving as English Department Head at Wellesley High School. Having taught LLARC courses on “Jane Austen,” “The Bible as Literature,” “Comedy and Tragedy,” “Hollywood Film Genres,” “Hollywood Film Directors,” “Great Film Actors and Actresses,” and others, she looks forward to another meaningful and fun experience with other lifelong learners in this course, too.

Class Meetings: 10 Tuesdays; February 25–April 28; 12:45–3:45 p.m. Please note the time.

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3118 Mindfulness Meditation

Meditation is an ancient technique/practice for relieving stress and cultivating positive qualities that nurture peacefulness, wellness and the ability to live our lives fully. Mindfulness meditation develops in us the ability to look deeply at ourselves, to be with what is, and to respond to life’s circumstances with openness and equanimity. In this course we will learn and we will practice together. All levels of experience are welcome.

Leader: Sheila Wolfson is a retired nutritionist and holistic health counselor. She has been a meditator since 1972. She was trained as a mindfulness meditation teacher and wise aging facilitator at the Institute for Jewish Spirituality. Sheila has been leading meditation groups for many years in various settings. She has taught her two LLARC courses, Wiseaging and Mindfulness Meditation in the past.

Class Meetings: Class meetings: 5 Tuesdays; March 31–April 28; 1–2:30 p.m.

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3119 Demystifying Mathematics

This is a course for otherwise smart people who have never been comfortable with math. Most undergraduate math courses are not much help because they have course syllabi that must be followed and little time for resolving student confusions. In this class resolving confusions is the first priority. If one week’s material is not completely covered, it’s ok because we will start with something else the next week. Subject matter isn’t important, talking about mathematical abstractions is. What really separates mathematicians from others is fluency in the language of abstract mathematics. These six interactive lectures provide six chances at practicing this language. Participation in this course will take you through your first step towards what mathematicians call “mathematical maturity.”

After each class, the instructor will post a synopsis of what was covered in class and a single problem that tries to take things one step further. This posting will be accessible through any browser but may not be easily read on a smartphone. Your mission will be to find a solution (with paper and pencil) or be able to talk about why it was hard to do. “I didn’t understand it” is not an appropriate answer. “I tried such and such and it didn’t work” or “here are the things i am thinking this question might be about” are satisfactory answers. Such answers will help us try to resolve confusions before we move on to the next topic.

There is no math prerequisite but you must be willing to show the class what is going on in your head when you start to think about these things. Note: this course is for people who have never been comfortable with math. The presence of others could ruin class discussions.

Leader: in 1970 J. Adrian Zimmer obtained a PhD in mathematics from the University of Waterloo in Canada. He has taught math or computer science at all levels from high school through graduate school and has authored books in computer science. His one consistent interest has been in stretching his own and other people’s abilities to think things through. Read more about Dr. Zimmer here.

Class Meetings: 6 Wednesdays, February 26–April 1; 9:15–10:45 a.m.

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3121 From Sea to Shining Sea: 19th Century American Imperialism

The United States rose from a small republic that was burned by the British (1815) to a world power after the Spanish-American war (1898) in eighty-three years. This course will examine how this young republic became an imperial world power. We will critically study the methodology used by the people and the government of the United States to accomplish this goal. Did the United States view itself as an imperial world power? Is this what you, your children, and your grandchildren were taught in school? And if not, why not? Controversy and dissent is very welcomed.

Text: Readings to be distributed.

Leader: Ron Greenwald holds three graduate degrees in history and has taught history at three greater Boston colleges over 15 years. He teaches his courses in the Socratic method using only primary sources.

Class Meetings: 7 Wednesdays, March 18–April 29; 11–12:30 p.m

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3122 Faith, Science, God and Nature

A five week discussion seminar on the relationship between science and faith. We will discuss questions about how science can relate to the spiritual world and the deeper insights faith can offer about the sacred depths of nature. Each session will be based on an essay written by a prominent scientist on a modern scientific discovery and be followed by class discussion of its implications for a deeper understanding of creation that involves faith and spirituality. Our discussions of science will be up-to-date and rigorous and our faith discussions will be inclusive and open to students of all faith backgrounds.

Leader: Frank Villa has a lifelong interest in the natural sciences. He is a natural teacher who finds great joy in explaining complex principles and processes and bringing the latest quests and discoveries of science to a general audience. He has developed curricula and taught courses in many settings on topics as diverse as the formation of the universe, alternative energy sources and human genetics.

Class Meetings: 5 Wednesdays, February 26–March 25; 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

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3120 The Short Story: Good Things Come in Small Packages

What constitutes a short story? What sets it apart from a novel? A novella? This five week course will explore the short story, examining the elements that are akin to this genre. The stories, like poetry, from different authors and time periods, reveal more with each reading. Our first two stories are “Bliss” by Katherine Mansfield and “The Jilting of Granny Weatherall” by Katherine Ann Porter. Short Stories are both challenging and thought provoking. Why did the author start where he/she did? And why end sometimes without the resolution for which we readers might wish? Join us as we try to answer those questions.

About one hour of reading each week assigned and distributed by e-mail prior to each class, including online sources of music related to the classes.

Leader: Pam Kyrka is a recently retired high school English teacher with years of experience teaching literature and writing in Lexington, Natick, and Mendon-Upton. She also writes children’s literature, including picture books and both middle grade and young adult fiction.

Class Meetings: 5 Wednesdays, April 1–April 29; 11 a.m.–12:30p.m.

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3123 A Short History of Radio or Where Did My Cell Phone Come From?

This course will discuss the development of radio from 1887 through 1930 with significant information on New England’s role in early radio development. We will discuss some of the people responsible for wireless development who have been lost to time.

Text: Study group leader will provide handouts and recommend internet readings.

Leader: Domenic Mallozzi is an electrical engineer and ham radio operator. He holds a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from the University of Rhode Island and was an engineer for 38 years for Raytheon prior to his retirement in May 2019. He led a fascinating Lunch, Listen and Learn lecture in the spring of 2019.

Class Meetings: 5 Wednesdays, February 26–March 25; 11 a.m–12:30 p.m.

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3124 How We Got to Now

This course is based on the acclaimed PBS series of the same name. The course will focus on the amazing stories of accidental genius, brilliant mistakes, and the visionaries—many of them obscure—who connected seemingly unrelated fields eventually leading to innovations that created our modern world. Each week for six weeks we will view a themed episode of the series followed by a discussion of its content.

Leader: Tom Hall is a retired middle school and high school principal. He is also the author of five published novels. When he is not writing or taking LLARC classes, he is playing senior softball. Tom currently serves on LLARC’s curriculum committee.

Class Meetings: 6 Wednesdays, February 26–April 1; 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m

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3134 Ecology, Environment, Climate Change and the Future of Energy

Our world is being changed by human activity. Even small changes can have significant consequences. Yet, our civilization depends on reliable sources of energy and other natural resources for its survival. We’ll discuss the sources of and potential effects of these changes and study individual and cultural solutions for this dilemma that maintain lifestyle but pay homage to the important role of our fragile environmental tapestry.

Leader: Frank Villa has a lifelong interest in the natural sciences. He is a natural teacher who finds great joy in explaining complex principles and processes and bringing the latest quests and discoveries of science to a general audience. He has developed curricula and taught courses in many settings on topics as diverse as the formation of the universe, alternative energy sources and human genetics.

Class Meetings: 5 Wednesdays, April 1–April 29; 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

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3125 Art Under Attack: Theft, Scams, Outrage and Violence

We love it—and we hate it. Fine art, more than any of the arts, has been attacked for centuries. In this course, you’ll hear (and see) one fascinating story after another. See how outraged people have tried—and sometimes succeeded—to get great art removed from public and even private view. Learn about forgers who make us wonder if what we’re seeing in museums are originals. Meet violent people who deface and even destroy beloved art. And see some of history’s most daring and fascinating art thefts come to life. Along the way, we’ll discuss together the great art that’s been attacked: from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to a post office mural in Maine, from 13 Gardner artworks to the Mona Lisa.

Leader: Steve Kendall is the retired president of an advertising and public relations agency and the leader of more than 700 tours at the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum and the Danforth Museum. He is a recipient of the LLARC Bernie Shuster Award for Teaching Excellence. This is the twelfth term he has taught at LLARC.

Class Meetings: 10 Wednesdays, February 26–April 29; 1–2:45 p.m.

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3126 The Invisible Forms of Manipulation

We are all being manipulated daily, much of which is invisible and unrecognized. Elements of manipulation are essential factors in our important decisions. Yet, it is often difficult to know that we are being manipulated, by whom, how and even if it is good for us. This course will explore the notion that manipulation is so important that we need to understand it in order to make essential personal and societal decision. We will explore a number of forms of manipulation and how they influence our choices. Among the forms to be examined will be psychological, physical, interpersonal, economic, ideological and technological. We will cover fascinating examples such as placebo elevator bottoms, consumer advertising, manipulative personalities, magic tricks, con artists, Disney World lines, lying and neurological cognitive biases. Topics will also include how politicians create their brand, how the media select what they will cover, negotiating strategies and self-manipulation. Personal examples will be solicited from class members. Discussion and interaction are important aspects of this course. Those who wish can present a 10-minute report on a topic of interest after discussion with course leader.

Readings: I will prepare a packet of weekly course readings composed of articles from the mass media, academic journals and policy papers. This will be distributed at the first class and reproduction costs will be collected.

Leader: Trained as a sociologist, Sandy Sherizan then went bad and became a criminologist and then really bad by becoming a computer security and privacy professional. He has taught at various universities, led seminars, been interviewed by various media and given speeches on a variety of topics internationally. As an ex-president, he is active at Congregation Beth El in Sudbury. Flunking retirement, he had volunteered to teach ESL to adult immigrants and continues to serve on a patient research ethics and safety board (IRB) at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He loves teaching subjects which are important, but which are often relatively unknown and/or misunderstood.

Class Meetings: 10 Wednesdays, February 26–April 29; 1–2:30 p.m.

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3128 Favorite American Artists

In this five-week art history course, you will have the opportunity to explore the life and works of five American artists. Enjoy the luminous paintings of George Caleb Bingham, the Missouri artist, soldier, and politician who depicted frontier life along the Missouri River. Learn about Winslow Homer’s Civil War illustrations, enjoy his charming renderings of country life, and thrill to his dramatic marine paintings. Delight in the virtuosity of John Singer Sargent, the most acclaimed society portraitist and genre painter of the early 20th century. See how Grant Wood’s depictions of small town and rural life gave the American public an idealized vision of itself during the great depression. Analyze Edward Hopper’s thought-provoking pictures of human isolation within the modern city and admire his landscapes and coastal seascapes. Many class discussions will augment slide lectures about each artist.

Readings: The study group leader will suggest brief weekly online readings on background topics. She will provide highlight handouts in each class. A $2.00 fee to cover copying costs is requested.

Leader: Judith Scott was a guide at the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum for over 13 years and is now a guide emeritus. She was a docent at Danforth Art Museum and School for 15 years. She has conducted numerous tours at both museums and taught a significant portion of the Danforth new docent class. She is a lifelong amateur painter and a retired senior manager in the computer industry. This is her fourth LLARC course.

Class Meetings: 5 Thursdays; April 2–April 30; 9:15–10:45 a.m.

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3129 How Jesus Became God—Part 1

For anyone interested in understanding the profound effect Jesus had on the world, it’s important to realize that his actions and teachings didn’t emerge from a vacuum. Rather, they were the product of a fascinating dialogue with—and reaction to—the traditions, cultures, and historical developments of ancient Jewish beliefs. In fact, early Judaism and Jesus are two subjects so inextricably linked that one cannot arrive at a true understanding of Jesus without understanding the time in which he lived and taught. This course will explore the environment in which Jesus lived and how Judaism influenced him. Note: this class will continue in the fall 2020.

Leader: Rabbi Robert Orkand retired from the pulpit rabbinate in 2013. He served congregations in Florida, Illinois and, for 31 years prior to retirement, in Westport, CT. Since moving to Massachusetts he has taught in various adult learning settings. He is particularly interested in understanding The Bible and in comparative religion.

Class Meetings: 4 Thursdays, March 26–April 16; 9:15–10:45 a.m.

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3127 Stage IV: First Ladies of the 20th Century: Mamie Doud Eisenhower to Barbara Pierce Bush

Covering these 20th century first ladies will bring back memories of our younger years. We will review the 50s–90s and see how well our memories have held up over the years. As in the past, we will not only learn about the first ladies lives, but also review the history of the time of their husbands’ terms. The first ladies of the latter half of the 20th century are no longer unknowns who live in far-away Washington but have become integral parts of our lives through the power of the technology of the 20th century. The indeed have specific roles to play and are well-known in their own rights.

Texts: While it is not important that we all read the same book, it is important that a participant read information on each of the first ladies before class. There are ample sources in local libraries or there are internet sites that provide good information. I will provide the sites before the first class. In the past I have used America’s First Ladies: Power Players from Martha Washington to Michelle Obama by Rae Lindsay. This book is currently out of print but if you have it from the previous classes it will still be applicable. If you do a Google search for it you may be able to find a few copies still available at a reasonable price. We will also be utilizing Youtube videos to provide additional information so access and use of a computer is mandatory.

Leader: Mary Egan is an experienced study group leader who has developed courses dealing with the first ladies from Martha Washington through Bess Truman and the story behind the Mexican War. An educator with 34 years’ experience on the elementary and secondary level, she has nurtured a lifelong interest in history and enjoys cultivating and sharing her knowledge of the first ladies and their husbands.

Class Meetings: 10 Thursdays; February 27–April 30; 9–10:45 a.m.

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3132 American Political Cartoons

From Benjamin Franklin’s drawing of the first political cartoon in 1754 to today’s political cartoons, editorial cartoons have been a mainstay of American journalism and politics. We will look at cartoons that have highlighted our nation’s highs and lows that span the entire history of American political cartooning. Cartoonists capture our imagination with characters and symbols that speak at once to our heads, hearts and sense of humor. A cartoon is a frontal assault, a slam dunk, a cluster bomb! Through skillful combining pictures and words, cartoons galvanize political opinion for or against their subjects. We will explore the range and depth of American political cartoons from 1754 to the present day.

Leader: Jack Miller is a retired engineer with teaching experience in engineering, mathematics, business, and LLARC history classes. Jack’s lifelong interest in American history focuses this class on American political cartoons from colonial times to the present.

Class Meetings: 4 Thursdays; April 16–May 7; 1–2:30 p.m.

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3130 Astronomy: From Ptolemy to Cosmology

This course will be an updated reprise of the course taught at LLARC three years ago. We will look primarily at questions you always wanted to know about, but will also touch topics you didn’t know you wanted to know about, and a fair number of things nobody knows about. (Without mystery, science just isn’t any fun!). We will look at the history of astronomy, its instruments and its methods. We will tour the solar system, the galaxy, and deep space as we explore the universe from beginning to end.

Leader: Jim McLaren has taught four previous courses at LLARC. He is a retired high school science teacher and department chair. Most of his teaching has focused on biology, but he has had a life-long interest in amateur astronomy.

Class Meetings: 10 Thursdays; February 27–April 30; 1–2:30 p.m.

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3131 The Real History of WWII

WWII was a titanic contest which the forces of good warred with those of evil. Instead of taking good and evil for granted, we look for the roots and ramifications of these forces, concisely exploring the ideological, nationalistic and economic causes of war and probing the motivations of those involved. A terrific text will be used which covers these topics as well as providing a definitive overview of the war. We will assess subjects such as why Germany and Japan shoudder, couldder won the war, did Japan have an atomic bomb? We will explore spies, serious military blunders, deceptive procedures by the allies and analyze certain characters.

Text: The Real History of World War II by Alan Axelrod. The hardcover is available on Amazon or ABE Books for (used) under $10.

Leader: Bill Brady has a BS From Boston College, a MSPH From UMass and a DDS from the University of Maryland. He has been a member of the BCILR and LLARC for 19 years. He is a history buff and has led several history courses at LLARC.

Class Meetings: 10 Thursdays; February 27–April 30; 1–3 p.m.

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3133 Art Under Attack: Theft, Scams, Outrage and Violence

We love it—and we hate it. Fine art, more than any of the arts, has been attacked for centuries. In this course, you’ll hear (and see) one fascinating story after another. See how outraged people have tried—and sometimes succeeded—to get great art removed from public and even private view. Learn about forgers who make us wonder if what we’re seeing in museums are originals. Meet violent people who deface and even destroy beloved art. And see some of history’s most daring and fascinating art thefts come to life. Along the way, we’ll discuss together the great art that’s been attacked: from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to a post office mural in Maine, from 13 Gardner artworks to the Mona Lisa.

Leader: Steve Kendall is the retired president of an advertising and public relations agency and the leader of more than 700 tours at the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum and the Danforth Museum. He is a recipient of the LLARC Bernie Shuster Award for Teaching Excellence. This is the twelfth term he has taught at LLARC.

Class Meetings: 10 Fridays, February 28–May 1; 1–2:45 p.m.

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