Spring Course Offerings 2016

Here is an archival listing of our Spring 2016 course offerings.

Morning Classes

A Look at the Epic of Gilgamesh and Ancient Mesopotamia

Instructor: Juliet Baker and Rebecca Jessup

  • Thursday Morning
  • 9:30 – 11:30 AM

“The Epic of Gilgamesh,” the great Mesopotamian/Sumerian poem, composed before the Bible or the Greek epics, remains the earliest extant piece of western literature. Written on clay tablets in Akkadian cuneiform between 2000 and 1100 B.C.E., the text was not discovered until the 1850’s. The poet weaves together myth and reality, artfully creating an archetypal tale of a great Sumerian king’s quest for friendship, love, and immortality. The poetry is beautiful and moving; the society it depicts is amazing.

In the course we will emphasize the ancient poem itself; the development of cuneiform writing; the history of Mesopotamia — Gilgamesh, for example, an actual Sumerian king, reigned around 2700 B.C.E. While many of us may associate the “Great Flood” with its depiction in “The Book of Genesis,” we’ll find an older and strikingly similar version in “Gilgamesh.”

Geographically and culturally unique in the ancient world, Mesopotamia has left us an immeasurably rich record. During the course we will look at slides of Mesopotamian sculpture and architecture, monuments that are in danger of being destroyed by religious and political extremists.

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Modern and Contemporary American Poetry, a Continuing Introduction

Instructor: Ellen Sander

  • Thursday Morning
  • 9:30 – 11:30 AM
  • Class is Cancelled

This course is open to those with little or no prior exposure to or understanding of poetry. Continuing with Ellen Sander’s highly accessible introductions to modern poetry, we will unravel approachable and relevant works anecdotally and through multimedia. We will use audio and video equipment, collaborative close reading and lively discourse.

Modern Poetry, breaking with the more formal and lofty Romantic-era poetry which preceded it, as music and fine arts did between and after the World Wars, introduces intriguing abstractions, biting social commentary, controversy, and adventuresome forms that invite and encourage interpretation, discussion and interaction. This course will explore poets whose works track the emergence, development and arc of Modern Poetry. We will read outstanding works by familiar and less obvious master American poets whose work embodies the 20th Century’s reach into the 21st.

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Concepts of Self

Instructor: Sara Shute

  • Thursday Morning
  • 9:30 – 11:30 AM

This is a philosophy course about some important and more or less well-known views of the self. Many contemporary psychologists, “neuroscientists,” and philosophers deny that there is a “self”: there is only the brain. If this is true, then the “self” has finally been “naturalized.” It is even claimed that this view is similar to the Buddhist doctrine of “no-self.”

We will try to unpack some of this in this course by trying to answer questions such as the following: Is the mainstream, contemporary neuroscientific view that the “self” is an illusion basically the same as the Buddhist doctrine of “no-self”? How do these views differ from the Vedantin (Hindu) belief that the self is Brahman (God), or the Yoga (Sankhya-Yoga) view that the self is omnipotent and omniscient or from Descartes’ view of the self as a unitary, indivisible consciousness? How do David Hume’s “bundle theory” of the self or Locke’s view that the mind at birth is a blank slate differ both from earlier views and from contemporary, scientific views? Since Freud believed that his ideas about the self would one day be proven to have an empirical basis, how does his theory of the id, ego, and superego fit with both earlier and later views? Why does so much contemporary psychology and neuroscience claim the self is an illusion, and can one deny this while accepting science as “true”?

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Mainescapes… The Inside Scoop on the Outside Stuff!

Instructor: Mike Shannon

  • Thursday Morning
  • 9:30 – 11:30 AM

Connecting with ourselves, with others, with the land . . . three good reasons why many of us spend time outdoors. Almost forgotten in this high-tech age of the internet is the traditional art and craft of connecting landscapes and mindscapes. This natural history course will whet your appetite for things wild and natural. This is your chance to discover and explore the wild side of Midcoast Maine and the possibilities will surprise and delight you. We will connect with local places, learn to identify common species, sharpen our observational skills and arouse our kinship with all life.

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The Arts & Crafts Movement in America (1895 – 1920)

Instructor: George and Karin Look

  • Thursday Morning
  • 9:30 – 11:30 AM

The Arts & Crafts Movement that flourished in the United States and United Kingdom from 1870-1920 sought to revive earlier methods of workmanship and design of decorative and utilitarian objects, and of houses and the way we live in them. As such, the Arts and Crafts philosophy and aesthetic focused on the collaboration between the designer and the craftsman, and on the merging of those skills into one individual, and pursued simplicity of design, handcrafted objects, and the use of local materials and inspiration.

This course delves more deeply and broadly into the Movement than was possible in the one-day class in 2014. Together we will uncover and discuss its philosophical roots, meet some of the most influential leaders and advocates of the Movement in the United States, and learn about the societies and schools that spread its ideals. Once we discuss why the Movement arose and how it was spread, we will learn about the craftsmen and craftswomen who espoused and implemented its philosophy and aesthetic through their artistry in the areas of architecture and the landscape; ceramics; furniture; glass; metalwork, including jewelry; and private press books, ephemera and graphic arts. The instructors will use photographs (slides) of period objects as an integral part of their presentation and discussion.

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The Roaring Twenties! – Paris, the cradle of Modernism

Instructor: Barbara LeGendre

  • Thursday Morning
  • 9:30 – 11:30 AM
  • Class size is limited to 20 students

“Make art New!” admonished Ezra Pound and so they did: F Scott Fitzgerald. John Dos Passos, Gertrude Stein, James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, T.S. Eliot. What do they share with Picasso, Matisse, Stravinsky? Come read the great fiction and poetry of the “lost generation.” What was their appeal? What was their legacy? Enjoy the lights from the “City of Lights”!

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The Life and Times of Winston Churchill, Part Two (1930 – 1965)

Instructor: Peter Reilly

  • Thursday Morning
  • 9:30 – 11:30 AM

Part Two of the Winston Churchill course continues the overview of one of the most influential persons in the 20th century and perhaps the greatest statesman of the 20th century. Fortunately for us and history, there is much written about his life and times, including his own great writings. Again, through the telling of Winston Churchill’s life, we will look at the monumental events that cast their shadows not just on Great Britain but also on the world. Holding the British Empire together through two world wars, a depression, changing cultural values, worker organization, etc., was his mission. While holding the British Empire intact was not to be one of his achievements; leading the free world in times of crisis was. Winston Churchill was not only a witness to but also a part of the great events of the 20th century.

In summary, the course will not just be a study of a great man’s life; it will also be a study of the events, people and times that shaped that life. Hopefully it will also be a study of how decisions, events and happenings in the 20th century have subsequently impacted and shaped our world today.

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Afternoon Classes

Charlie Chaplin: His Life and Times and His Marvelous Movies

Instructor: Charlotte Herbold

  • Thursday Afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 PM
  • Class size is limited to 30 students
  • Class is full

Students are invited to participate in a brief study of Chaplin’s life in the historical context of early twentieth century America and the advent of movies. Chaplin rose from abject poverty in the London of Dickens’ novels to become the highest paid performer in the U.S. and, according to biographers, “the most famous man in the world.” The course will trace this ascent but will consider the human failings and the political leanings that resulted in his being refused entry into this country after his censure by J. Edgar Hoover. Movie clips and at least two complete films will be included and will provide material for comment and discussion.

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Intermediate Conversational French – Part  V

Instructor: Lila Nation

  • Thursday Afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 PM

If you have at least two years of French or the equivalent and would like to master French, join the group of dedicated Senior College participants who have been honing their French speaking skills over the last three years. This merry band decided early on that they wanted more than just a superficial introduction to the beautiful French language; they wanted to dig in and master all the concepts of grammar while improving their pronunciation and expanding their vocabulary. Become part of the fun that this group has as they and you continue on your journey to master French.

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Developing Your Backyard Garden Skills

Instructor: Rick Kersbergen

  • Thursday Afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 PM

As the days become noticeably longer, it’s time to start getting serious about the garden you’re going to plant this year and learn just what you can produce in your own back yard. In this course we’ll focus on healthy gardening — by which we mean healthy plants, healthy gardeners, and even healthy eating.

A cohort of garden experts will teach this class, including faculty and professionals from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension as well as some local experts. The class will cover production and storage of healthy crops that everyone can grow in their garden… big or small.

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Basic Genealogy – Beginners Welcome

Instructor: Betsy Paradis

  • Thursday Afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 PM

Are you curious about the branches of your family tree? Do you want to know more about Ancestry.com, the LDS family history centers and DNA testing? Have you started to search but find you’re unsure of where to look next? In this course, we’ll look at the basics of genealogy research and explore the sources available in print, on-line and in various repositories. We’ll discuss the types of records available and where to find them and learn how to interpret and evaluate the information we find. Finally, we’ll look at the tools available to record and to keep track of the information and ways to share our work with others. If you enjoy solving puzzles and delving into the past, you’ll enjoy this course.

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Drawing with Confidence and Clarity

Instructor: Sandi Cirillo

  • Thursday Afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 PM
  • Class size is limited to 12 students
  • Class is full

Through exercises assigned in class, homework, and weekly critiques, we will continue to explore our inner selves as we gain confidence and clarity in honing our drawing skills. Students can work in their own areas of interest with guidance from the instructor. They will be expected to create several finished drawings by the end of this class. This is NOT a beginners’ drawing class. Intermediate and advanced drawing students are encouraged to attend.

Some supplies will be provided, but you can also bring the materials you are most comfortable working with. Please no pastels. Black and white is encouraged, but color is fine too.

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The Idea of America

Instructor: Duncan Newcomer

  • Thursday Afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 PM

The curriculum for “The Idea of America” is part of a national pilot project created by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation to deepen the quality of civic dialogue in America. We will look at the ideas and the values that went into the creation of our national experiment. We will also look at the on-going “Great Debate” that occurs when those values are applied to specific issues. We will study the four pairs of values that work in tension: Ethics and Law; Common Wealth and Private Wealth; Unity and Diversity; Freedom and Equality. We will consider three national issues: Education; Immigration; and the Economy. Finally, we will read about four American leaders as examples of people working with conflicting values: Jefferson, Lincoln, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

The goal is to see if people from around the country who hold opposing views of issues can find practical ground in commonly held values that are rooted in our history.

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Motivation and Personality Structure

Instructor: Keith Dunson

  • Thursday Afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 PM

The subject of Motivation is surrounded by a morass of conflicting literature. It is no wonder that there is such misunderstanding or little to no understanding of this subject. The content of this course is a result of about 12 years of a multifaceted study in search of an understanding of the nature of motivation. This understanding has been applied over the years in a wide range of fields such as relationships, leadership training, and sports, but not in education until now. This course will consist of three sections.

The first section is an instructional phase to introduce the major schools of thought about motivation, to discuss how to evaluate a theory, to examine the evolution of the intrinsic/extrinsic concepts and the difference between physiological and psychological needs. It will also include an in-depth study of the universal needs that explain behavior and define “normal” personality structures. Several voluntary assignments will be given to encourage class participation.

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Terrorism: A 21st Century Perspective

Instructor: Thomas McCarthy

  • Thursday Afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 PM

This course will look at the dynamic of global terrorism through the eyes of a retired U.S. Secret Service Agent who has traveled globally – including the war zones – providing training to host countries’ security forces. We will explore all facets of terrorism with an emphasis on groups with international goals and capabilities, including the emergence of ISIS as a global force to be reckoned with. The class will stress interactive discussion designed to enhance participants’ perspective of this difficult topic.

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One-Day Classes

Living Large With Less: The Upside of Downsizing

Instructor: Sean and Linda Fowlds

  • Special One Day Class
  • Tuesday, April 26, 2016
  • 9:30 AM to 3:00 PM
  • Bring your own lunch

Living Large With Less: The Upside of Downsizing explores the countercultural notion of learning to live with less stuff in order to experience more of life. As the title suggests, the course covers downsizing possessions but also addresses how to be better organized, utilize technology to simplify your life, and maximize your money in order to live large with less. Interactive question and answer sessions are planned as time allows.

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Let’s Learn to Draw

Instructor: Sandi Cirillo

  • Special One Day Class
  • Tuesday, March 15, 2016
  • 9:30 AM to 3:00 PM
  • Class size is limited to 12 students
  • Class is full
  • Bring your own lunch

If you’ve ever caught yourself doodling, you are indeed drawing. Drawing is the oldest form of written communication and is a favorite leisure activity for many people. In this class, you will explore your creative side as you learn how to create a good composition using techniques such as shading, contrast, perspective, texture, movement, etc. We’ll be experimenting with different drawing materials to enable you to discover which ones you like the best (or the least). Drawing still lifes and landscapes are only a small part of this class. All supplies will be provided. All you need to bring is your enthusiasm to learn something new. So come prepared to enhance your creativity and stimulate your imagination through drawing.

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Special Two-Day Class