Fall Course Descriptions

OLLI is offering online courses via Zoom this fall. Registration opens August 10 for Premium Members and August 17 for Basic and Session members.

View detailed course descriptions below. For the course schedule or to learn how to register, view the Fall 2020 Session page.

America continues to celebrate, and mourn, our national epic, the Civil War. To better understand "what they did here," as Lincoln put it at Gettysburg, we will examine the lives of ten central figures: Stephen Douglas, Roger Taney, John Brown, William Seward, Clement Vallandigham, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Alexander Stephens and John C. Fremont.

The Rolling Stones’ evolution is discussed and detailed from the dawn of their career, emphasizing their peak in the 1960s and 1970s. The blues-rock, hard rock, and glam rock they pioneered are explored and celebrated, spotlighting their groundbreaking live performances, innovative songwriting, classic records, and rebellious, controversial lifestyle.

The relationship between religion and politics has long been a vexing issue, one that includes everything from state-sponsored religious institutions to religious conflict. Using examples from around the world (Northern Ireland, Myanmar, India, Iran, Russia, and many others) and a broad selection of world religions (Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and more), this course will explore and seek to answer the eternally complex question of when, if ever, politics and religion can fit together.

This course offers a discussion of eight major issues confronting China both domestically and internationally in 2020. These issues are:

  1. China's Third Revolution
  2. Xi Jingping China's CEO and "New Emperor"
  3. Reform and Modernization, the 2020 scorecard
  4. China and the Covid-19 Pandemic of 2020
  5. The Hong Kong Protests 2014-2020
  6. The Uyghurs: Terrorists or oppressed ethno-religious minority?
  7. Remaking the Chinese landscape: Chinese Urban-Regional policies, as a blueprint for global development
  8. China's foreign policy, global strategic engagement, Chinese style.

Each lecture will address these topics from various perspectives.

What makes life worth living? What makes our behavior right or wrong? In this course, we will explore the attempts of several philosophers, including Aristotle, Kant, and Mill, to grapple with fundamental ethical problems. We will also address various contemporary moral debates along the way, from abortion to animal rights.

This workshop offers the opportunity to tell your stories, share your memories, and explore the wisdom you have gained through the years. Each session includes an inspiring writing exercise, the "Writer's Toolbox", to help your writing become more expressive, and a reading/feedback circle. All writers are welcome, regardless of experience. Diane's teaching style is joyful, loving, and intuitive. Her workshops create a safe, supportive environment to develop your creativity. She works closely with each writer to help you break through to greater ease, joy and power in your writing.

Whether you've taken a past Courtroom Dramas course or are new, we welcome you to learn about the following riveting topics:

Racism: Michelle Obama, discrimination growing up in Chicago; Justice in the death of George Floyd and the McMillian “Just Mercy” case.

The President and Psychology: Nixon, and Katharine Graham’s “Washington Post”; Trump.

Polluters and Fixers: DuPont’s Teflon pollution in “Dark Waters;” Donald Trump’s lawyer and mentor, Roy Cohn.

Abuse: Clergy and the “Boston Globe Spotlight Team”; Moral panic and the “McMartin Preschool case.”

California: a state of beauty, variety, possibility and wackiness, with an art tradition to match. Focusing on painting and sculpture, we’ll explore California art from the times of the explorers to the present day. Participants will become familiar with styles, subjects, context, and the artists we can see in California museums. The course includes lecture and discussion.

What was it like to live in the Palace of Versailles under Louis XIV, the Sun King? And why did Louis wear high heels? Were there any joys to savor in the London of the Stuart kings? And what positive effects did the horrific Great Fire of London bring? What were the glaring mistakes of St. Peter’s cathedral in Rome, and how did subsequent Baroque architects struggle to avoid them? This will be a tour of the magnificent Age of the Baroque and all its thrilling excesses.

The Economist magazine provides unbiased reporting and thought-provoking articles on global political and economic developments. Each week we will review 6-9 articles selected from the current week’s issue. Class participants are expected to volunteer to lead a discussion on at least one article. Participants must subscribe or have access to current editions of The Economist (on-line or paper copies, also available at most libraries) and be familiar with using Zoom. Information on subscriptions, student rates and special rates are available at 1-800-456-6086 or www.economistsubscriptions.com.

At the Socratic Circus you'll find intelligent and thoughtful discussion on myriad topics. The goal is not to change anyone's mind, but to engage in meaningful conversations. Everyone gets to participate, so enroll and join us for the fastest 90 minutes you will experience. Prerequisites: Must have opinions and be willing to share, listen, and maintain civility at all times.

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