Spring Course Offerings

Spring, 2019: Mar 28-May 2. Classes to be announced

Welcome to the Spring session of Belfast Senior College which begins Thursday, March 22. Classes run for six consecutive Thursdays, ending April 26. All our classes are offered at the Hutchinson Center on Route 3 in Belfast. Please register early for the classes you would like to take to avoid disappointment, and be sure to order your text(s) or materials at least two weeks in advance. Please note that you are now responsible for purchasing the text(s) or materials, if required for your course.

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.

The fee is $35 for each six week course, and $30 for each special one day class. You must be a member of a Maine Senior College to take a course. The membership year runs from Aug. 1 to July 31, so if you did not take a class this past Winterim or Fall, please make sure to pay your membership fee. 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

Three Abolition Towns: Yankee Reformers on the Frontier

Instructor: Arlin Larson

  • Thursday morning
  • 9:30 – 11:30 am
  • No text required

In the 1820’s, a wave of revivals in Western New York led by Presbyterian/Congregational minister Charles Grandison Finney spawned a national wave of religious renewal and social reform known as the Second Great Awakening. The reformers formed numerous voluntary associations to pursue such causes as temperance, higher education, diet reform, national & international missions, and abolition. Much of the energy was directed toward civilizing the American frontier (at that time the Mid-West), then seen as a hornet’s nest of godlessness and immorality as well as a font of economic opportunity. One strategy employed by the reformers was to establish “colonies” to serve as “beacons on the hill” (as their Puritan forebears had thought of Boston). Under the leadership of an enterprising clergyman land would be purchased and a core of colonists recruited, often from the same town or from families in the East.

Three of these towns – Oberlin, OH; Galesburg, IL; and Grinnell, IA – were specifically devoted to the abolition of slavery and located close to the boundaries between slave and free states as if to say, “no further”. They were even blamed by the Southern press for being responsible for the Civil War. The reforming colonists were primarily New Englanders, including many from Maine. In particular, forty members of the Searsport Congregational Church under the leadership of a Bangor Seminary trained physician, Thomas Holyoke, formed the original core of Grinnell, IA. This course will study the founding of the three towns, the network of personalities and institutions that linked them, and the broader picture of revivalism and social reform in the Second Great Awakening.

No text required

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Beginning Conversational French: Part II

Instructor: Lila Nation

  • Thursday morning
  • 9:30 – 11:30 am
  • No text required
  • Class limit of 15
  • Class is full, registration closed

Do you want to awaken those long-lost French skills you learned back in high school or college? Maybe you have been wanting to dip your toes into the beautiful French language but just haven’t found a safe enough pond. This is where you want to be! Beginning French focuses on basic sentence structure, vocabulary, and building your confidence so that you will want to continue speaking French. Don’t put it off any longer! All are welcome! Class limit of 15

No text required. We only use handouts in class, but if you would like a reference text, “Essential French,” is available at bookstores or Amazon for $15.00.

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“Brave New World’ and “1984” –the Sequel

Instructor: Peter Reilly

  • Thursday morning
  • 9:30 – 11:30 am
  • No text required

This will be a 6-week course that will take a critical look at Aldous Huxley’s and George Orwell’s novels and how some “tech giants” of today (Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Uber, Air B & B, Facebook, Bitcoin, etc.) might fit into their future predictions.  In that context we will study some of today’s powerful companies — what they do, how they started, who started them, how they are changing our world, etc. As we look at these companies, we will not only be learning a little about how to use their services and products, but also thinking about “are they fulfilling the prophecies of Huxley and Orwell?”  Aldous Huxley and George Orwell will have much to say each day.

Outline:

Day 1 –
Overview of Brave New World/1984, the power of Internet Companies, and introduction to Amazon.com
Day 2 –
Amazon.com continued; Overview of Brave New World Revisited, 1984 overview, Google, Microsoft
Day 3 –
BNW/1984 Discussion, How we Travel today – Uber, Lyft and Air B & B
Day 4 –
BNW/1984 Discussion, How we learn, stay in touch, get our news etc.
Day 5 –
BNW/1984 Discussion, How we pay for everything, future of currency — Bitcoins
Day 6 –
BNW/1984 Discussion, How we prepare for the day everything crashes –The Cyber Attack

 

No text required. Students may read the books ahead of class, but it is absolutely not necessary. There will be a synopsis of each book presented in class, plus a brief handout.

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Understanding Technology Today

Instructor: Doug Chamberlin

  • Thursday morning
  • 9:30 – 11:30 am
  • No text required

What is the Internet? What is the Cloud? What is hacking? What is open source? What is net neutrality? If you struggle to grasp these concepts and have trouble keeping up with technical terminology you hear in the news, this is the course for you! Many of the most common parts of modern technology will be explained in layman’s terms. Time will be allocated to answer your specific questions. Note that we will NOT be fixing your computer or addressing specific problems you have encountered. Instead we will provide the missing background that many find they need to live comfortably in our increasingly technical world.

No text required

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David Hume: The Limits of Reason

Instructor: Sara Shute

  • Thursday morning
  • 9:30 – 11:30 am
  • No text required
  • Download available

David Hume, 1711-1776, was a major figure in the Enlightenment, also known as the Age of Reason. And yet, as a “skeptic,” Hume answered ‘no’ to the following sorts of questions: Can reason give us knowledge? Can science give us knowledge? Can we know the material world exists? Can we know either that God does, or does not exist? Is there a foundation for moral judgments? Is there a best form of government? Are there any natural rights people have by virtue of being human?

The main purpose of the course will be to understand both the arguments for Hume’s skepticism, and what he thought it was legitimate to believe (about science, God, morality, and rights). A secondary purpose will be to understand Hume’s powerful influence on another major Enlightenment figure (and close friend), Adam Smith, the “father of free market capitalism.” We will discuss how closely they concurred in their beliefs about God, morality, and natural rights, and what connection, if any, Smith’s “invisible hand” had to any of these. The idea for this course was inspired by two recent books by political scientist Dennis Rasmussen, “The Infidel and The Professor” (2017) and “The Pragmatic Enlightenment” (2014).

No text required

Download Class Outline

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U.S. Government: What to Keep, Change, Eliminate or Add

Instructor: Larry Litchfield

  • Thursday morning
  • 9:30 – 11:30 am
  • Text required

We will examine the founding documents and continue that effort by tracing the major changes in the system since the eighteenth century. My assumption is that the system is in deep crisis today and citizens need to think about what to keep or change. Class discussion will be emphasized over lecturing.

Required Text: “The Constitution of the U.S. and the Declaration of Independence: We the People.” ISBN 13:9781631581489, Race Horse Pub., $1.99

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Best Short Stories of the 20th Century

Instructor: Barbara LeGendre

  • Thursday morning
  • 9:30 – 11:30 am
  • Text required
  • Class limit of 20
  • Class is full, registration closed

Come enjoy and evaluate the best short stories of the twentieth century! See what you might have missed and read old favorites. At the first class we’ll discuss Annie Proulx’s “The Half-Skinned Steer,” (p. 754), Sherwood Anderson’s “The Other Woman” (p. 38), and E.B. White’s “The Second Tree from the Corner” (p. 281).

Required Text: “The Best American Short Stories of the Century”: eds. John Updike, Katrina Kenison, ISBN 0-395-84367-7

Class limit of 20

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Figure Drawing

Instructor: Sandi Cirillo

  • Thursday morning
  • 9:30 – 11:30 am
  • $20 Modeling fee
  • Class limit of 14

In this six-week class, we will be exploring the human figure, its form and structure using various drawing materials. The first few weeks will focus on how the parts of the figure compose the whole through drawing exercises and discussion. The last four weeks we will have two models, one male and one female, who will be posing nude for us so we can use what we have learned to complete several drawings. All students should bring their own drawing materials to class. If you’ve done some figure drawing in the past or would like to give it a try, then this is the class for you. Everyone is welcome from beginners to advanced students.

A $20.00 modeling fee per student will be collected by the instructor to cover the cost of the two models.

Class limit of 14

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Afternoon Classes

Keep on Gardening

Instructor: Liz Stanley

  • Thursday afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 pm
  • No text required

In this 6-week program, we’ll explore tools, techniques, and designs to help us grow and stay active in the garden. We’ll also look at ways we can deal with new pests, plant diseases and problems caused by changes in our growing season. Guests will include instructors from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, AgrAbility, nursery professionals, and local farmers and gardeners.

No text required

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Family Story Writing Workshop

Instructor: Mel Regnell

  • Thursday afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 pm
  • No text required
  • Class limited to 20

For those who have attended “Capturing Your Family Stories”, this follow-on course offers a continuation of writing, review, critique, and exploration of methods and tools for getting family history captured before it disappears. This is a hands-on, writing-focused, workshop. Class limited to 20 with preference given to those who have completed “Capturing Your Family Stories.”

Class limited to 20

No text required

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A Magical Mystery Tour of the British Isles

Instructor: Nancy Perkins

  • Thursday afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 pm
  • No text required
  • Class limited to 18
  • Class is full, registration closed

Join us for a “magical mystery tour” of the British Isles via British mystery writers and their endearing detectives. From the Shetland Islands to the metropolis of London, this geographic trip will include Scotland, Ireland, and England, as well as the discovery of what makes a great mystery endure and why we are drawn to the genre.

No text required

Class limit of 18

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The Idea of America: Our Values, Our Legacy, Our Future

Instructor: Duncan Newcomer

  • Thursday afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 pm
  • Text required

The tattered fabric of our nation can be rewoven on the loom of history. Our values and our legacy can reframe our future. This course uses the vocabulary of values, such as Equality and Unity, with the legacy of our past leaders, such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Martin Luther King, Jr., to strengthen our participation in the future of our country and world. Along with readings, lecture and discussion, our home-grown (Game Loft) method of dramatic enactment will be used to deepen and enliven our role in the common good and the development of our best selves.

Required text: “The Idea of America,” ISBN 978-0-87935-291-2

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Intermediate Conversational French: Part VIII

Instructor: Lila Nation

  • Thursday afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 pm
  • Text required
  • Class limited to 15

Ce cours est pour ceux qui ont déjà étudié le français pendant au moins trois ans et qui voudraient soit réclamer leur niveau de compétence soit le continuer. Pour cette raison ce cours se conduit tout à fait en français sauf des explications de grammaire de temps en temps. Mais n’ayez pas peur! On révise continuellement, et si vous pouvez lire cette description, vous êtes dans le même bateau que les autres.

Texte exigé: French All-in-One for Dummies,” disponible à travers Amazon pour $34.99. ISBN: 978-1-118-22815-9 (On emploie ce texte pendant les deux ans passés.)

Limite de 15 élèves

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Chaucer’s “Troilus and Criseyde”

Instructor: Juliet Baker

  • Thursday afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 pm
  • Text required

William Chaucer’s lyrical masterpiece, “Troilus and Criseyde” (1380’s), is a tragic romance written in five sections of flawless rhyme royale and set in the besieged city of Troy. Taking his text from Boccaccio’s “Filostrato,” Chaucer, like him, emphasizes the “urgencies, glories, pains and absurdities of sexual love.”  Under Chaucer’s stewardship, the story’s intensity grows in passion and beauty— Troilus, overwhelmed by love, Pandarus, doing all he can to please the lovers, but failing, and Criseyda, so in love, but more cautious. In Criseyda, Chaucer strikingly realizes and humanely develops a woman unlike other female characters known to medieval readers. There is nothing cynical about these lovers. The story is as honest as it is heartbreaking.  While we read, we will refer to Shakespeare’s very different treatment in his “Troilus and Cressida,” we will remain aware of 14th Century history and philosophy, especially Boethius, and we will become far more cognizant of the beauties of Middle English!

Required Text: We will read the text in Middle English—“Troilus and Criseyde.”  (Penguin Paper Back), edited by Barry Windeatt. Amazon- $17.00. Used copies from $10.00 to $1.38. It’s easy to find good ones. Barry Windeatt also has an excellent translation, “Troilus and Criseyde,” (Oxford World Classics), Amazon-$10.93. Used copies $7.95-3.98.

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Watercolor Workshop

Instructor: Nancy Blatz

  • Thursday afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 pm
  • Materials required
  • Class limit of 12
  • Class is full, registration closed

Watercolor painting is a great way to exercise your brain. Planning and thinking before painting eliminates many of the problems that plague watercolor. Even when you think you are done, there are techniques you can use to improve the final presentation. Critiquing is a great way to analyze what you like and what you don’t like. Classmates’ fresh eyes add wonderful nuances to your work. Lots of individual instruction will be available, so if you are new to the medium, don’t worry.

Required materials: You will need 140lb cold press paper, paint, brushes, palette, water container and paper towels. Please let me know if you need me to supply any of these items. All supplies will be available for purchase the first week or bring your own. Estimated costs are: Brush $10; Paper $5; Paint $6; palette $8. If you have a ceramic plate, you can use that for palette. Water bowl is also needed, as well as paper towels.

Class Limit of 12

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Evolution and Human Society: A Guided Discussion

Instructor: Dick Brown

  • Thursday afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 pm
  • Text required
  • Class limit of 20

In the time frame of our tenure on earth it is only moments ago that Charles Darwin challenged the foundations of much of human thinking. It is not surprising that we have yet to truly grasp this momentous change, particularly as it pertains to human society. This course is intended to provide an opportunity for a wide-ranging discussion of the changes in our thinking that Darwin, and others, has brought about. A recently published book by the instructor will serve as an entry point to this discussion.

Class limited to 20

Required text: “Evolution and Us: A Poetic Inquiry into the Nature of Change,” by Richard E. Brown, ISBN 978-1-947758-00-1, available at Amazon or from the author, $12.95

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One-Day Classes

Chinese Opera, Past and Present, Tuesday, April 10

Instructor: Richard Brown

  • Tuesday April 10, 2018
  • 9:30 am to 3:00 pm
  • No text required
  • Bring a bag lunch

Chinese cultural traditions run deep. Given the West’s current and inevitable interactions with this ancient culture it is of the utmost importance that we come to understand and appreciate each other, people to people. Chinese opera has grown over time from many varied cultural roots. We will first explore the most common characteristics to better understand the featured presentation which will be Tan Dun’s 2002 intimate hall opera, “Tea, a Mirror of Soul.” This is an opera intended for a variety of performance spaces and more closely aligned with Chinese traditions than his, perhaps better known, Metropolitan Opera productions.

No text required

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Growing Orchids Indoors, Thurs., May 3

Instructor: Robin Davis

  • Thursday May 3, 2018
  • 9:30 am to 3:00 pm
  • No text required
  • Bring a bag lunch
  • Cancelled by the instructor for personal reasons

We will explore selecting orchids for the home environment. Basics covered include watering, temperature, light, fertilizing, and humidity. Also covered will be artificial lighting systems, orchids in the basement, and orchids in a window greenhouse. Students are encouraged to bring photos and questions about orchids they may already own.

No text required. Handouts will be provided.

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Introduction to Drawing, Tues., May 22

Instructor: Sandi Cirillo

  • Tuesday May 22, 2018
  • 9:30 am to 3:00 pm
  • Materials fee
  • Bring a bag lunch

Did you know that drawing is the oldest form of written communication and is a great leisure activity? In this class, you’ll learn how to create a good composition using techniques such as shading, contrast, perspective, texture, etc. You will be experimenting with different drawings materials, too, so you can see which ones you like the best (or the least). Drawing landscapes and still lifes will be part of this class and maybe even a little figure drawing. As spring approaches and we desire to get out into our environment, this class will help you hone your drawing skills so you can visually record any observations you see. All supplies will be provided. Bring your enthusiasm and a desire to learn
something new.

Materials fee: $8.00 per student to be collected when class starts.

Class limit of 15

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Mixin’ It Up with Grandma Moses, Thurs., June 7

Instructor: Sandi Cirillo

  • Thursday June 7, 2018
  • 9:30 am to 3:00 pm
  • Materials fee
  • Class limit of 15
  • Bring a bag lunch

The New York Times said of her: “The simple realism, nostalgic atmosphere and luminous color with which Grandma Moses portrayed simple farm life and rural countryside won her a wide following. She was able to capture the excitement of winter’s first snow, Thanksgiving preparations and the new, young green of oncoming spring…in person, Grandma Moses charmed everyone she met”. We’ll learn about Anna Mary Robertson Moses in this hands on mixed media art workshop that will focus on her primitive folk art style. We will be drawing, using some simple watercolors, and combining other mixed media materials to create our own folk art using our imagination, creativity, and personal memories materials.

Materials fee of $8.00 for each student, payable to the instructor at the first class. You can also bring in some of your own art materials if desired, as well as photographs of that special place you’d like to recreate in this primitive folk art style.

Class limit of 15

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