Spring Course Offerings

Welcome to the 2019 Spring Session of Belfast Senior College beginning Thursday, March 28. Classes run for six consecutive Thursdays, ending May 2. All classes are offered at the Hutchinson Center, Rte. 3, in Belfast. Please register early for classes to avoid disappointment and be sure to order your text(s) and/or materials at least TWO weeks in advance. Annual registration fee is $25.00, valid Sept. 1 through Aug. 31, and is required for all courses, except summer, which is free. Six-week courses are $35.00, while one-day or two-day classes are $20.00. (Four-week courses are $30.00).

Registration begins February 28

You may register: 1) online; 2) by submitting a printed form by mail; or 3) in person at the Senior College Office. All messages will be forwarded to the registrar. Please note that YOU are now responsible for purchasing the text(s) and/or materials, if required for your courses.

Classes with a size limit will be filled on a first come first served basis. If a class reaches its limit, please contact us and ask to be placed on a waiting list in case a spot becomes available.

Please note: If in doubt about classes being held due to inclement weather, please call the Hutchinson Center main desk at 338-8099. There will be recorded message beginning at 6:30 a.m.

Take a look at all the classes, and after you’ve decided on the ones you are interested in, fill out our quick and easy registration form. No login necessary.

Morning Classes

Six Giants of Jazz

Instructor: Ken Hyams

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

Each week we will explore the music of one of 6 extraordinary jazz musicians: Louis Armstrong, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, Bill Evans, and John Coltrane. We’ll spend most of class time listening to their music. We’ll also discuss something of the life and lore of each musician, placing them in the context of the evolution of jazz, and jazz in the larger context of the history of music. Whether you’re already a jazz fan or thinking you’d like to stretch your musical horizons, you’re welcome in this course. No text required.

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Workshop in Collage

Instructor: Deborah Stevenson

  • Thursday Morning
  • 9:30 – 11:30 AM
  • Class limit 12
  • Materials Required

With its roots in the works of Picasso and his peers, collage uses images from printed material to glue together into an original piece of art. The joy of this medium is that everyone can do it and have success. Cutting and pasting together is surprising, relaxing, and a very social activity, and it is always fun! Class limit 12

Required Materials: Scissors (both large and small), glue stick(s), printed material of all sorts, “removable tape” (a low tack tape the instructor can provide at $4.00 each).

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Using the Internet Well

Instructor: Doug Chamberlin

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

Whether you are simply searching for information, engaging fully in social media, or just reading email, everyone struggles to determine best practices to follow. This course will teach you how to use the internet effectively while avoiding the most dangerous pitfalls. We will explore popular services such as Google, Amazon, Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, Twitter, Yelp, Reddit, Quora, Medium, and Wikipedia –what they are good for and what risks accompany their use. Are free services worth the price or should you pay money for the services you use? Are there reliable information sources available or are we stuck with propaganda only? We will share our favorite software and services with each other. We will also discuss the latest controversies regarding today’s technology.

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What Is New, Old, and Better in Photography

Instructor: Paul Sheridan

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

Here’s your chance to catch up on the world of photography. Using slide shows, books, and film clips, we will look at a mixture of work by some recently deceased photographers, some that are newly emerging, as well as several new discoveries in the field. We will also study some of the images in-depth to better understand the choices made by the photographers, to learn how we can either appreciate what it takes to make an engaging photo, and/or improve our own photographic eye in terms of composition, cropping, exposure, lens choice, etc.. No previous photo classes are necessary. No camera required, just your curiosity! Plenty of links provided. Discussion encouraged, but not required.

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Designing and Building Living Landscapes in Your Yard

Instructor: Jean Vose

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

This course will enable students to understand the importance of building your garden as a backyard habitat. If you create a healthy habitat, your garden can provide all the necessary components to attract and sustain a variety of pollinators. We discuss what constitutes a “healthy eco-friendly habitat”–the four basic steps to pollinator friendly gardens: 1) best management practices to create strong yard environments; 2) using no-till practices in gardens and containers; 3) plants to attract and repel insects; and 4) attracting and keeping birds.

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Guided Meditation for Wellness

Instructor: Diana Chapin

  • Thursday Morning
  • 9:30 – 11:30 AM
  • Class limit 25

Gain a better understanding of meditation as a wellness practice. Participants will learn invigorating breath-work, the dynamics of the human energy system, the connection between imagination and healing, and the art of suspending themselves in the abundant present moment. Suitable for anyone, this series shows how meditation is accessible, enjoyable and rewarding. You’re ready! There’s nothing to prepare for—just come with an attitude of “not knowing” and curiosity—a willingness to relax and explore. Class limit 25

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Beguiled by the Wild…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. When much of today’s reality is focused on living with our technologies, it is up to us to engage in a meaningful dialogue with the places where we live. A kinship and coziness with wildness, both familiar and unfamiliar, can confer a deep sense of connectedness with the larger whole.

Let’s rendezvous with Spring, a time to celebrate mud, greenness, and renewed life! The wildness of Mid-coast Maine will be our home ground. Its possibilities will surprise and delight you! We will learn to identify common species, sharpen our observational skills, and arouse our kinship with all of life.

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Intermediate/Advanced Drawing II

Instructor: Sandi Cirillo

  • Thursday Morning
  • 9:30 – 11:30 AM
  • Class limit 14
  • Materials Required

Through exercises assigned in class, homework and weekly critiques, we will continue to explore our inner self as we gain confidence and clarity in honing our drawing skills. Students can work in their own area of interest with guidance from the instructor, and everyone will be expected to create several finished drawings by the end of the six weeks. This is NOT a beginner drawing class. Please bring your own drawing materials (if you have them) with which you are most comfortable. Black and white drawing is encouraged, but we’ll be experimenting with color, too. Class limit 14

Required Materials: $5.00 supply fee for drawing items the instructor will distribute in class.

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Afternoon Classes

The Miriamic Procession

Instructor: Dr. Deidre Good

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

Through examining some selected literary excerpts, this course will explore the evolution of Miriam/Mary/Maryam from ordinary woman to “chosen…above all women of creation.” The Miriamic tradition or procession is both auditory and visual. The sound starts with an unnamed sister raising a brother and moves to the glorious song of Miriam who sings the “Song of the Sea,” celebrating Israel’s deliverance from the powerful Egyptians with music and dance. Some scholars have suggested that Miriam was connected to a philosopher role, and the notion that she communicated with God is advanced through other texts from the Hebrew Bible.

The Miriamic procession continues in the New Testament from Mary, mother in the birth stories, through women disciples in Jesus’ ministry, to the women, especially Mary Magdalen at the empty tomb and at the resurrection. In the Ethiopian Christian Canon, the Weddase Mariam, consisting of seven prayers, one for each day of the week, is appended to the Psalter, and thus has almost canonical status.

Mary, the mother of Jesus, holds a singular exalted place in the Islam liturgy as well, as the only woman named in the Qu’ran, which refers to her seventy times, more often than in the New Testament, and especially identifies her as the greatest of all women.

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World Scripture: South Asia

Instructor: Arlin Larson

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

As cultures coalesced before the common era, religious texts emerged that proved formative and enduring into the modern world. Two had their home in India. ‘The Bhagavad Gita” (Song of God) has been a central focus of Hindu spirituality into our day. It was beloved by Mahatma Gandhi and presented by Indian prime minister Modi to the United States government as India’s spiritual treasure. Ostensibly a dialogue between the warrior king Arjuna and Krishna, its setting is the upcoming clan warfare. Arjuna seeks divine guidance about his spiritual duty in relation to the inevitable carnage. Arising in the conversation are discussions of various paths (yogi) to spiritual realization – duty (karma), knowledge (jnana), contemplation (raja), and devotion (bhakti). Bhakti is central in contemporary popular Hinduism. At about this same time, Buddhism broke off from Hinduism as a separate religion. It’s literature and practice are vast, but the closest we have to the original teachings of the Buddha is the Dhammapada (Eternal Truth and the Way). The Buddha (Enlightened One) shows a path for overcoming the world’s futility and pain.

Required texts: Required texts: Bhagavad Gita, Stephen Mitchell translator, Harmony Book, ISBN 978-0-609-81034-.
Dhammapada, Harischandra Kaviratna translator, Theosophical University Press, ISBN 0-911500-40-5

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Virgil’s “Aeneid”

Instructor: Juliet Baker and Rebecca Jessup

  • Thursday Afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 pm
  • Class Limit 25
  • Required Text

Virgil’s “Aeneid” remains one of the greatest works of Latin literature. Centuries after Homer, Virgil wrote an epic poem of Rome, one intended to equal or surpass the “Iliad” and the “Odyssey.” While Virgil’s inspiration descended from ancient Greek poets, especially Homer, his loyalty to Rome and to Augustus were as significant. Virgil sought to bring the grandeur, legend, and mythology of Homer to the contemporary and sophisticated world of Augustus’ Empire. We meet the Trojan hero, Aeneas, in Carthage, having, like Odysseus, sailed from the wreckage of Troy. In the first six books, Aeneas narrates the story of Troy’s destruction, his own escape and tortuous journey to Carthage. The second half of the “Aeneid” focuses on Aeneas’ imperious arrival in Latium and on the battles enabling him to conquer that area. While there are many fine translations of the “Aeneid,” for this class we have chosen Fagles’ highly praised translation (Penguin 2006, accessible locally and on Amazon). We will read and discuss whole books along with sections of other books. Maps and illustrations will supplement our study. Rebecca Jessup, a Latin scholar, will guide our readings from her knowledge of Latin language and from her love of ancient history. For those of you who have read Homer’s “Iliad” and “Odyssey,” many questions arising from each will be answered. Class limit 25

Required Text: “The Aeneid” by Fagel, 2006. Penguin. ISBN: 978014-310629-6. A three-ring binder is also recommended.

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Beginning Conversational French: Starting Over, Part IV

Instructor: Lila Nation

  • Thursday Afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 pm
  • Class Limit 18

It’s still not too late! If you were unable to join us for the last three “Beginnng Conversational French” classes, it will still be easy to catch up, even if you just had one year of previous study in your past. All handouts from the previous three courses will be provided upon request. We go at a very easy pace with lots of review and time to ask questions for clarification, and the class is extremely supportive. Focus is on building simple sentences using everyday vocabulary, and on helping you gain confidence to continue learning to speak this beautiful language. Attention: The instructor loves to sing, and through this medium, she will help you internalize basic grammar and vocabulary even more easily. Class limit 18

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Security Challenges: Thinking Outside a Much Bigger Box

Instructor: Dick Topping

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

The international system has been undergoing a generational challenge for over a decade, and U.S. national security issues are far more numerous and complex today than when President Truman created his National Security Council (NSC) in 1947. Although the list of major geopolitical challenges remains much as it was 20 years ago, the potential threats to our well-being now go well beyond those traditionally on the NSC’s agenda. Among the “new” concerns meriting our attention: climate change, future pandemics, scientific-technological advances, and the like.

Each session will review the state of play regarding some traditional concern: resurgent Russia; China on the rise; uncertainty on the Korean peninsula; unrest in the Muslim world; the instability in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and South Asia; and divisions among our European allies to name a few. Each session will hopefully also offer a free-wheeling discussion about whether potential natural disasters, devastating epidemics, or the many economic and social issues that divide us here at home, deserve as much attention as more traditional worries from U.S. national security experts today. Job-one, of course, is to get our own house in order.

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Preserving and Sharing Your Family History

Instructor: John Elberfeld and Jane McLean

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

We all have artifacts, including letters, textiles, documents, or heirlooms, that tell our family’s story. In the first three sessions, the instructors will present a three-part process for decision-making, as well as current methods for handling, cleaning, and storing family items. During the final three weeks, they will offer ideas–low-tech to high-tech–for passing on your history to family members, the local area, or the global community. They will provide an extensive handouts, many artifacts for observation, opportunities for guided research, and time for questions at each class.

Recommended: Writing materials and a three-ring binder.

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Alexander Hamilton Returns—History Meets Broadway

Instructor: Peter Reilly

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

This course is a repeat of the “Alexander Hamilton” course taught during the Winterim session with more time for class discussion and sharing of ideas. It is essentially a history course about the founding of our country. It will be told thru the life and times of Alexander Hamilton. Woven throughout the course will be the music and story behind the Broadway hit musical “Hamilton.” Studying Hamilton, we will not only share his exciting life and incredible contributions to forming our government, but also learn how the Broadway musical became such a spectacular success. If you have seen the show this course may help explain what you’ve seen. If you haven’t seen it, it may help explain what you will see. Lin-Manuel Miranda will have much to say.

Peter Reilly has presented numerous well-received classes at Senior College on a variety of topics. He holds a BS and MBA from Monmouth University.

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Discovering Your Surroundings: Rock, Soils, and Landscapes of the Belfast Bay Region

Instructor: Fred Bowers

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

Belfast Bay is a sub-watershed of Penobscot Bay Watershed. The view from the Belfast bridge is grand and marvelous. It invites the observer to explore and understand this complex landscape; the valleys, the terraces, and the rocky shores. The landscape is a challenge to understand and a delight to behold.

The class will introduce the student to the same concepts and strategies used by geologists and soil scientists to understand their surroundings when presented with a new terrain. The student will learn to recognize local rocks and minerals by
observing specimens. The student will learn to understand relationships between soils and geology as they relate to the various landscape features. The class will also introduce students to Geographic Information Systems and mapping software
such as Google Earth and QGis (public domain GIS mapping software), and online sources of GIS data. The student will also learn how to understand and create maps of hikes and day trips on Google Earth using “myTracks” app.

Recommended Text: Caldwell, D.W., 1998. Roadside Geology of Maine. ISBN: 978-0-87842-375-0

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One-Day Classes

The Beauty of Consistency

Instructor: Sara Shute

Did Thomas Jefferson really believe that all men were created equal and endowed by their “Creator” with unalienable rights? Apart from women, how could Jefferson not have believed that adult male slaves or adult Native American males were men? In terms of logic, how are we to understand this? Or when Barack Obama in 2011 authorized the killings, in Yemen, of American citizen Al-Awlaki, and his 16 yr. old son, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, also an American citizen, did Obama also believe in the Constitutional right of all American citizens to a fair trial and due process? Or when Trump said in July, 2018, “I don’t see any reason why it would be [Russia interfering in US elections]” and then followed it the next day with “The sentence should have been, ‘I don’t see any reason why … it wouldn’t be Russia.’” Would be? Wouldn’t be? Orwellian “doublethink”?

When one tries to “have it both ways,” one is being inconsistent. But what’s so bad about inconsistency? And is consistency always a good thing (how about Emerson’s “foolish consistencies”)? We will try to answer these questions in this course, while we explore what consistency is, why it is essential, and how ubiquitous it is: all the following depend on consistency (or its opposite, inconsistency): rationality, understanding, making sense; rules, the rule of law, due process, and fairness; lying, hypocrisy, and conflict of interest. Moreover, consistency can help us to understand what’s wrong with identity politics, racism, sexism, or nationalism. One can even use it to critique the virtue of loyalty.

Class format will be an extended Powerpoint presentation, using many examples from current events, with opportunities for discussion.

Download Class Outline

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The World of Fiber

Instructor: Sandi Cirillo

  • Thursday May 30, 2019
  • 9:30 am to 3:00 pm
  • Class limit 12
  • Materials Required

Ever looked at the tag inside your t-shirt or sweater? What does it say? Wool, cotton, silk? Fiber is a big part of our everyday lives. In this class you’ll learn about two fiber families, wool and silk. You’ll learn about the history of each of these fibers and then put your knowledge to work, adding a dose of your own creativity and imagination, as we create felted pieces out of wool and silk fiber and beautiful silk scarves from our silk fabric. No experience is necessary to explore this world of fiber but bring scissors, an old towel or two, and wear old clothes. You may also bring any embellishments you have at home (yarns, beads, buttons, etc.) to use in your fiber creations. Class limit 12

Required Materials: $20.00 materials fee payable to the instructor at the beginning of the first class.

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