Winterim 2020 Course Offerings

Welcome to the Winterim 2020 session of Belfast Senior College beginning Thursday, January 16. Classes run for four consecutive Thursdays, ending February 6. Registration opens December 12, 2019. Please register early for the classes you would like to take to avoid disappointment.

Annual membership fee, $25.00, is valid Sept. 1 through Aug. 31, and required for all courses. The four week Winterim courses are $30.00 each, and one-or-two-day courses are $20.00. You may register: 1) online; 2) by mail; or 3) in person at the Senior College Office. Please note that YOU are now responsible for purchasing the text(s) and/or materials, if required for your course.

All classes are offered at the Hutchinson Center, Route 3 in Belfast. N.B. In case of inclement weather, check our website, or call Belfast Senior College, 207-338-8033; if classes are cancelled, there will be a recorded message, usually the previous afternoon or evening. The Hutchinson Ctr., 338-8099, will post cancellations any time after 6:30 a.m.

Registration Is Open!

Morning Classes

Eight Divas of Jazz

Instructor: Kenneth Hyams

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

Each hour we will explore the music of one of these extraordinary jazz musicians: Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Dinah Washington, Blossom Dearie, Carmen McRae, and Peggy Lee. We’ll spend most of class time listening to their music. But also, we’ll discuss something of the life and lore of each musician.

No text required. No class limit.

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Twentieth Century Sculptors, A Personal Selection

Instructor: Stephen Porter

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

The class is a survey of personally selected 20th century sculptors including, among many others, Constantin Brancusi, David Smith, and Henry Moore. We will cover their work and importance in the development of modern sculpture.

No text required. No class limit.

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Pub Quiz (Minus the Brews)

Instructor: David Greeley

  • Thursday Morning
  • 9:30 – 11:30 AM
  • Class Limit 20

Ever been to a pub quiz? Popular in the UK, it’s a fast moving quiz where each team is presented with ten or more written questions about a particular subject. One round might be matching Maine authors with books, another about geography, another on identifying birds. No questions about TV or sports; these are not your standard trivia questions. Many rounds will feature Maine subjects. The class will make up teams of several each, rounds will be scored with a winner each day. Just for fun, you learn stuff, and there will be a prize for the winning team each session.

No text required. Class limit 20.

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Bird Brain: The Cognitive Skills of Birds

Instructor: Howard Torrey

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

We will survey recent studies on the intelligence of birds starting with the amazing language skills of Irene Papperberg’s parrot, Alex. We will then discuss skills such as navigation and nest building in light of debates about conscious vs. genetically programmed behavior. Much time will be devoted to the corvids (jays, crows, and, especially ravens). These birds gather their tools before they can use them, demonstrating behaviors which suggest consciousness and intelligence. They also follow carnivores such as wolves and polar bears to share in their kills; they may actually lead those carnivores to prey or dead carcasses. We will view a number of videos showing the skills of these birds.

No class limit. It is suggested that students acquire and read the following book before the first class: “Alex and Me” by Irene Papperberg available for $4.50 from World of Books, $8 from Amazon.

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George Eliot’s Final Novel, “Daniel Deronda”

Instructor: Juliet Baker

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

In 1876, four years before her death, Mary Ann Evans, a brilliant mid-nineteenth century British scholar, translator, journalist, poet, and celebrated novelist (under the pseudonym of George Eliot), completed “Daniel Deronda” her seventh and final novel. The protagonist, Daniel, serves as the novel’s moral beacon, although he does suffer as the ward, not the heir, of an aristocrat. He anxiously wonders about his real parentage. Gwendolyn, a beautiful, witty, and quite selfish young woman, while attracted to Daniel, marries a wealthy aristocrat, even when she knows that to do so is morally wrong. One expects a rich narrative, a dramatic survey of wealth, family embarrassment, romance, social malfeasance, perhaps even adultery, who knows?

But there is so much more. Eliot launches a second plot through which she explores Judaism and its faithful, a peoples who too often had been caricatured, degraded, and sentimentalized by British Christians and writers. Mordecai, a kind of Jewish prophet, befriends Daniel, familiarizing him with the Diaspora, the longing for a Jewish homeland, and the very beginnings of Zionism. Eliot’s research is theologically and historically solid. With an eye toward realism and toward a finer, more universal morality, Eliot resolves her novel in an initially unexpected manner. In this four week course we will review the novel while discussing George Eliot’s (Mary Ann Evans’, Marian Lewes’, Mary Ann Cross’) troubled and impressive life.

No class limit. Required Text: George Eliot ”Daniel Deronda.” Ed. Graham Handley. Oxford University Press. New Edition 2014. 978-0-19-968286-7: Amazon Kindle $7.55 with same pagination as paperback, $6.50 -$11.11.

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Loving Boats

Instructor: Jim Owen

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

This class will explore how we fall in love with boats, as children and as adults. We will review how songs, books, movies, poetry, and art, as well as seeing beautiful or interesting boats, all impact how we feel about boats. Since loving boats also involves being on them and using them, we will focus on the instructor’s experience with transatlantic crossings, but especially with kayaks and sailboats. We will explore what kinds of boats can be seen here along the coast. Finally we will talk about local resources related to boats including the Wooden Boat School, the Maine Island Trail Association, The Penobscot Marine Museum, and resources right here in Belfast Harbor.

No class limit. No required text.

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Ethical Theory: A Touchstone for Morality?

Instructor: Sara Shute

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

Can ethical theory provide a touchstone for moral questions? Yes, says Aristotle (and the Stoics), with “virtue ethics.” Yes, says Immanuel Kant, with the categorical imperative. Yes, says J.S. Mill, with utilitarianism. Virtue ethics, Kant’s categorical imperative, and utilitarianism are the main competing ethical theories. We will examine and critique each of these in turn. In contrast to all three, we will consider what pragmatist Richard Rorty (1931-2007) has to say about ethical theory itself. He doesn’t believe it can provide a touchstone for much of anything. Rorty believes ethical theory is a misguided and fruitless search for a timeless, ahistorical authority to subject ourselves to. We will consider his rationale for this.

No class limit. No required text.

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An Overview of Latin Language & Literature

Instructor: Rebecca Jessup

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

Latin, as we all know, is the basis for all Romance languages, from Italian to Romanian. It’s the language of great poets and writers, from staid Cicero to raucous Petronius. You may have studied it back in school. We will review by reading Latin–some from the Vulgate (Bible in Latin), and some from ancient sources, both prose and poetry. And we’ll have a very good time doing it!

Class limit of 30. No required text.

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Afternoon Classes

The Civil War Reconstruction: Its Lasting Legacy

Instructor: Peter Reilly

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

This is essentially a U.S. History course that will explore the challenges which the Reconstruction Period (1865-1877) presented and their impact on our lives today.

Through class presentation and discussion we will recognize the huge problems that faced the nation during that period. A special focus will be placed on the Constitution and on the so called “Civil War” amendments. Throughout the course we will try to put ourselves not only in the shoes of those who implemented solutions, but also of those who were affected. No class limit. No required text.

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Illes leur offre lá: French Object Pronouns

Instructor: Lila Nation

  • Thursday Afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 PM
  • Class Limit 12

Even though we native English speakers tend to think that the French have it all backwards, it’s really no easier for the French to grasp our system of object pronouns. Whether you’re still struggling with these little beasties or you would like to come to show your complete mastery of same and just review, please join us for what is probably the most esoteric Winterim course.

Class limit of 12. No required text.

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The Six Wives of Henry VIII

Instructor: Nancy Perkins with Karen Gleeson

  • Thursday Afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 PM
  • Class Limit 30

As the most married English monarch, Henry Tudor (VIII) and his wives have been the subject of film, song, biographies, novels, as well as of countless articles and publications. We will meet these women, learn their personal stories, and discuss their roles as Queens of England as well as their relationships with Henry.

Class limit of 30. No required text.

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Winter Watercolor Workshop

Instructor: Nancy Blatz

  • Thursday Afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 PM
  • Class Limit 14

Time to act on your New Year Resolutions. If you need a new experience or simply want to finish an old painting, this is the workshop for you. Four weeks of socializing, painting, and being creative. New painters contact Nancy before spending money on supplies that may not be needed. Required materials: 100% COTTON 140 pound cold press paper is best for beginners.

Class limit 14.

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Making a Living on the Bay: An Historic Overview

Instructor: Cipperly Good

  • Thursday Afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 PM
  • Class Limit 20

How did the sea affect daily life on the Penobscot? How did Mainers of the past feed the Atlantic World, build America’s merchant fleet, extract those natural resources that constructed America, and move global trade? Through a four-week class taught by Penobscot Marine Museum staff and volunteers, our class participants get answers to these questions. The class will culminate in a visit to the completed exhibit on this subject.

Class limit 20. No required text.

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Late Quaternary Landscapes of the Belfast Area: 
Site Characteristics and Associated Vegetation

Instructor: Fred Bowers

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

As one travels around Maine, beautiful landscapes are everywhere. One wonder why there are a variety of forest types and why bogs are here or there, or what determines the existence of blueberry barrens. Some landscapes are natural, but due to a long history of logging and farming, true natural landscapes are hard to find. Many landscapes are recovering their “naturalness” and, though not natural landscapes, they are in successional phases of regrowth. The underlying geology and soils and erosion are critical elements that predict the nature of the future landscape. We will discuss these landscape features and elements. We will learn fundamental concepts of geology, soils, and forestry that are necessary to understand the landscape-forming-processes of the late Quaternary period (13,000 years or less).

No class limit. No required text, but the book Gawler, S. And A. Cutko. 2010. Natural Landscapes of Maine: A Guide to Natural Communities and Ecosystems. ISBN: 978-0-692-12292-1is easily purchased online from the State of Maine WebShop. Anyone who does not wish to purchase the book can follow the course by reading the Fact Sheets online by clicking here.

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Beginner iPhone and iPad for Seniors

Instructor: Wendy Kasten

  • Thursday Afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 PM
  • Class limit 25
  • Required text

This class is designed for iPhone and iPad users who seek greater experience with the myriad capabilities of their devices. (this class is NOT for Android devices). People taking this class must own either an ipad or iphone (or both), bring it to class fully charged, activated with your carrier (in the case of iphones), and have established an AppleID and password. If you have a brand new device, and this is your first, you can call Apple at 1-800-692-7753 to setup your ID and password. To download “APPS” you need to have a credit card, even if you only download free APPS to obtain the text prior to the course beginning, either locally or online. Each of the four sessions will be devoted to different capabilities: getting to know settings, passcodes, and updates; opening and closing devices; using SIRI; downloading APPS; using the calendar; video calls; checking weather; shopping; reading; travel; researching; using the camera; storing and sharing photos; text messaging; music; and games.

Class limit 25. Required text: “Iphone for Seniors in Easy Steps,” Author: Nick Vandome. ISBN: 13-978-1840787917. Around $11.00 on Amazon.

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One-Day Classes

The “Sequoia”- a Guest Celebrity!

Instructor: Peter Reilly

  • Wednesday, February 12th, 2020
  • 9:30 am to 3:00 pm

Not often does a celebrity come to your house, but that is exactly what has happened in Belfast, Maine. Sometimes referred to as the “Floating White House”, the Sequoia has a special place in our history. For many years, presidents, first families, and high-ranking government officials escaped the complexities of official life to sail on the Sequoia. This course will not only present the history of this exciting vessel, but will also recount some stories of its many famous visitors. Todd French, Project Manager for the Restoration of the Sequoia, will also be available to answer your “Sequoia questions.”

No class limit. No text required.

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Be Your Own Personal Knitting Designer

Instructor: Jane Liebler

  • Friday, February 14th, 2020
  • 9:30 am to 3:00 pm
  • Class limit 18

Learn to make your own knitting pattern and to use the pattern to create your own design. You will discover the joy of creating your very own sweater, that fits, and that you love. You will be able to adapt this method to make any sweater, in any style, for anyone. Supplies: your favorite old sweater, one that you wished you had more of; your favorite knitting needles and the kind of yarn you are most comfortable working with; knitting gauge ruler. I will have some there to purchase if so desired. Paper, pencil, tape measure.

Class limit 18.

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The Fundamentals of Civic Discourse

Instructor: The Rev. John Nieman

  • Thursday, February 20th, 2020
  • 9:30 am to 3:00 pm

We live in a polarized society in which attempts to reach understanding across different perspectives on vital issues that affect all of us can be painful and leave us feeling hopeless. Discussions among colleagues, friends, and even family members sometimes devolve into outbursts of, “How can you think that way?” or “You’re a racist!” Some respond by retreating into media echo-chambers of people whose perspectives match their own. Other people simply avoid all potentially divisive conversations. There is a better option. This class is for those who want to contribute to restoring civility in our public and private discourse. We will cover the basic tenets of civil discourse, the role that personal and institutional values play in reaching understanding, and the importance of creating safe environments for dialogue. Finally, we will gain practice in the art of civil discourse.

No class limit. No text required.

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