Winterim Course Offerings 2017

Here is an archival listing of our Winterim 2017 course offerings.

Morning Classes

Maine and Freedom: Political Perspectives on the 1850’s

Instructor: Patricia and Ray Estabrook

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

Maine sent more soldiers per capita to the Civil War than any other state. Many people interpret that statistic to say that Maine people were unanimous in their views of slavery, union, temperance, religion, women’s issues, and labor but that is not the case. Maine, then as now, was a diverse state with a range of political and social views. This highly participatory class will demonstrate the diversity of our past and present.

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From the Balfour Declaration to the Johnson Plan: Jewish and Muslim Refugees in Palestine 1917-1962

Instructor: Bob Rackmales

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

2017 is the Centenary of the Balfour Declaration, a pledge by the British government to support in Palestine the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people, while protecting the rights of Palestine’s non-Jewish communities. Over the course of the next half-century that pledge became a focal point of still unresolved conflicts between contending forces within Palestine/Israel and international actors, some seeking to ameliorate the conflict and some to support one or another of the sides.

This course will begin with an in-depth look at the origins and aims of the Declaration itself, examine how it was implemented in Palestine in the years between the two world wars, discuss how the second world war and the ensuing 1948 war in Palestine set off new massive refugee flows, both into and out of Palestine, and how the international community struggled with these issues. It will conclude with the abandonment by the Kennedy administration of the Johnson Plan, an attempt to use diplomacy and financial strength to help ease the plight of the refugees.

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Cultures of the World

Instructor: Wendy Kasten

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

Culture is defined as “ways of knowing, believing, valuing, and thinking” (S.B. Heath). The world is a big place when it comes to cultural differences, both internationally and within our own U.S. borders. In this course, we will explore the questions that guide human cultures; the notion of deep culture vs. surface culture; some domestic cultures; clusters of cultures around the world, including closed societies, high power-distance cultures; and the tensions between the emphasis on the individual and the emphasis of the collective. Class sessions will begin with a story from another culture. Participants with varied cultural backgrounds and knowledge will be invited to share their experiences and insights.

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Reflections on Financial Crises Through the Lens of “The Big Short”

Instructor: Pete Reilly

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

Last year’s movie “The Big Short” brought home again all the angst and drama that gave us the Great Recession. With the help of this movie, this course will not only focus on how some individuals saw so clearly what was happening, but also on why some who should have seen the crisis coming did not. Big winners and losers came out of 2008 – we’ll explore both. In reviewing the 2008 crisis, we will try to answer the question, “How and why were we able to avoid a 1930’s Great Depression?” In order to do this, we will spend one day on the Great Depression – how bad was it and why did it take so long to recover? What were the similarities between our 2008 crash and the crash of 1929? Our last day will be spent looking at our current economic scene trying to highlight today’s situations which could (or could not) trigger a financial and/or economic panic.

Clips and scenes from the movie “The Big Short” will be used throughout to help us understand the 2008 crisis and explain what a crisis actually is and whether we now have controls in place to prevent future recurrences. We will spend some time on day four highlighting areas in the US and World economies that might lead to future problems.

This will be a current events course, emphasizing important financial events that have taken place. We will explore how derivatives work and how “Options” derivatives trading might even work for the small investor, BUT this will not be a financial course, even though we will be attempting to explain some financial “jingo” in fun, simple terms.

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Creating With Collage

Instructor: Deborah Stevenson

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

The art form of collage goes back one hundred years, beginning with Picasso, adopted by the surrealists, employed by mid-century modernist painters, becoming a staple in popular culture across all mediums. It has grown in popularity over the decades as a truly unique form of expression. People use it for personal reflection as a sort of visual journal; they use it to make political statements; they use it to create comical images… there is no limit to the things that people can say in collage. We’ll also talk about the incredibly robust life collage has on the internet and learn about all the different sites there are to explore and to join for sharing with others around the world.

This class is a great way to explore this medium, as we learn about the various techniques and styles by doing many different exercises to make our own collages. Creating pieces will take us into the territory of art basics. These include composition, texture, positive/negative space, abstraction, color theory and working strictly in black and white, just to name a few. We will also learn tricks and techniques for cutting and ways to use the paper inventively. Collage has a collaborative side as well, and we will have fun doing what was called “Exquisite Corpse” collage, where we begin a piece, pass it on, and add to ones we receive from other class members – the results from this process are pretty amazing. We will take time to look at and share our thoughts about each other’s work in a supportive, non-judgemental atmosphere.

One of the many joys of this medium is that no prior experience is needed to jump in and to have success right away. It is a very forgiving form of art, the only danger being that once you start doing it, you may become addicted to it.

To be part of the fun, all you need is a good pair of scissors and a glue stick. There will be printed material such as magazines on hand, and you are invited to bring your own as well.

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Marilynne Robinson’s Novel “Home”

Instructor: Arlin Larson

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

Marilynne Robinson’s novel “Home” is the second in a trilogy that began with her Pulitzer Prize winning novel “Gilead.” These two, and the third, “Lila,” explore the inner lives and relationships among the families of the Rev. John Ames and Rev. Robert Boughton, the Congregational and Presbyterian ministers of Gilead. At the heart is the characters’ search for acceptance, forgiveness, and meaning in their lives. This includes reconciliation among generations, which are traced back to the original Rev. John Ames, a radical abolitionist from Maine.

“Home” tells the story of the ne’er-do-well or prodigal Jack, son of Rev. Boughton, and namesake of “Gilead’s” protagonist, John Ames. Jack has been away from home for twenty years, carrying a heavy burden of guilt and being ill-regarded by those he left behind. Secretly, however, Jack has been longing for redemption and reconciliation. His search has led from Iowa to St. Louis, MO, where he has fallen in love with and had a son with an African-American woman, Della. Their relationship, however, is not accepted by her family, so peace remains elusive. Jack’s return home to Gilead reveals what has been hidden and the efforts of the Ames and Boughton families to come to terms with themselves and each other.

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Afternoon Classes

Senior Readers Theater I: Alan Bennett’s “Talking Heads”

Instructor: Charlotte Herbold

  • Thursday Afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 pm
  • Class size is limited to 25

This course offers students the chance to read monologues aloud in class. The hope is that the experience will inspire future classes in interpreting scenes and plays. Alan Bennett’s “Talking Heads,” a collection of dramatized stories that allow performers and listeners to enter the lives of ordinary people, provides a good beginning. Each student will prepare a few pages of script to share with the group. The course will begin with an introduction to Bennett’s work, and each monologue will be followed by class discussion.

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Writing the Personal Essay: Discovering What You Want to Say and How to Say It

Instructor: Linda Buckmaster

  • Thursday Afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 pm
  • Class size is limited to 12
  • Class Full, registration closed

The personal essay has been undergoing a resurgence of interest and experimentation in recent decades. The options are exciting. In this course, you will write (or re-write) a short (500 to 2,000 word) essay each week—even if you’ve never done anything like this before! (Really, you can do this.)

For inspiration and craft, we will read a variety of essayists and look at how they use the writer’s toolkit of image, voice, language, narration, and structure, and how we might use them in our own writing. We will do in-class writing in response to prompts and activities. You will also be able to work on your essays at home.

Whether you are a beginner or a published author, this class will be fun and will help you move your writing to the next level. We will look at diverse essay forms including lyric, flash, braided, segmented, narrative, and experimental. Whatever your favorite subject is, you will learn techniques to say what you want to say.

We’ll maintain a safe, supportive environment that recognizes there is no such thing as a mistake in writing, just the next draft. There will be a small Reading Packet and web-based links to the reading. For more details on course specifics, contact Linda Buckmaster at lsbuck1@gmail.com.

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Special Topics in French Conversation

Instructor: Lila Nation

  • Thursday Afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 pm
  • Class size is limited to 15

Though this course is largely from requests of current students, it is open to anyone desiring a more in-depth understanding of the intricacies the French language in conversation.

Week 1: Liaison – what, why, and where?
Week 2: The silent /e/ (le -e muet) – why is an unaccented /e/ pronounced in some situations and not in others?
Week 3: IPA (Alphabet phonétique international) – how does one know how to pronounce even an unknown word simply by looking at its phonetic transcription in the dictionary?
Week 4: Idiomatic Expressions – why is it that even when knowing French grammar and vocabulary, one can still not always understand what is being said by a native speaker?

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The Beauty of Mathematics Through Puzzles

Instructor: Patrick Lorenz

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

Have you always loved math or enjoyed working on math puzzles? In this course, we will have fun working through puzzles, illustrating the ideas of timeless mathematics, including topics such as irrational numbers, the question of zero, infinity, imaginary numbers, and beyond. This course will stimulate the imagination, enlighten understanding, and broaden your knowledge as we explore problems that illustrate the beauty and magic of math. If you never pursued formal math training, no problem here. Let a professor of mathematics lead you into a wondrous world that Alice saw through the looking glass, logical and yet surprising. This 4-week course explores ideas and concepts of mathematics, illustrated and taught through easily understood problems and their enlightening solutions. Please join us for a great time.

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Let’s Go to the Movies With Harry II

Instructor: Harry Kaiserian

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

Harry has selected three current films that are tied together with a common theme: the role of food in film. You can’t eat it so why is it there? How can we enrich our film-watching experience by appreciating what the food is telling us? Class 1 will define our terms through viewing food scenes from a plethora of movies such as “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” “The Age of Innocence,” “Oliver” and “Harry Potter.” In Class 2 we will view “Chef” and explore the age of the food truck and the effect of technology. Class 3 is a German contribution titled “Mostly Martha” and addresses the conflict of cultures. Finally, Class 4 will present “Babette’s Feast” and discuss the symbolic/imagery roles of food in film.

This class will start at 12:30 p.m. to allow time to show and discuss the movies.

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One-Day Classes

Knitting Something New

Instructor: Judy Beebe

  • Tuesday January 17, 2017
  • 9:30 am to 3:00 pm
  • Bring a bag lunch
  • Class Cancelled

How about choosing a pattern that is a step up from your usual? We will spend a day working on a challenging project where I guarantee everyone will learn a new method, stitch or entire project!

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The American Musical Abroad: “Street Scene”

Instructor: Richard Brown

  • Tuesday February 7, 2017
  • 9:30 am to 3:00 pm
  • Bring a bag lunch

Kurt Weil, the German composer of “The Three Penny Opera,” moved to America and wrote musicals for the Broadway stage. “Street Scene” opened in 1947 and is often classified as an American opera. It depicts one day in a tenement in New York City during the depression. This 1995 production is a collaboration between a German film company and the Huston Grand Opera.

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Special Two-Day Class