Winter Course Descriptions

OLLI is offering online courses via Zoom this winter. All courses except Exploring Art by Women begin the week of January 11. Registration is open.

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

The leading artist of Italy’s Reunification (“Risorgimento”) in the mid 1800’s was the great composer Giuseppe Verdi. His tunefully dramatic operas expressed the movement’s ideals and provided a common bond for divided peoples. His moral integrity and patriotic yearnings became symbolic of an emerging nation’s vital spirit. We will explore Verdi’s life and art in their historical context, using video (with subtitles) to examine in detail his magnificent music dramas that continue to thrill audiences everywhere.

As the nation once again faces profound social and economic challenges, Professor O'Sullivan will lead us on a spirited journey through American history to explore how social change has driven economic transformation, and how economic change has influenced social progress. Starting with the early republic and continuing to contemporary times, this course will explore controversies over slavery, economic development, abolitionism, civil rights,and race relations, as well as examining American political leaders, the economic and social paths they pursued, and the consequences of their actions.

Meeting every two weeks, the group will select four short novels each session from the best classic and contemporary American and British fiction.

Asia has always been a politically dynamic and culturally vibrant part of the world, and in recent years, various parts of the continent have once again come to the forefront of global concern and interest. This course will focus on several different countries in Asia that, for various reasons, have risen to prominence within Asia, either because of dramatic shifts in the political and cultural landscape or because of ongoing and persistent issues that seem to defy a lasting solution. This class will push beyond the political landscape and look at social and cultural trends and developments as well.

Few areas of astronomy provoke our imaginations as much as the search for alien life among the stars. It is a staple of science fiction stories and films, but recently it has also become a legitimate branch of scientific inquiry. In this non-technical class (designed for non-scientists), we’ll take a look at why astronomers are more optimistic than ever that there must be life beyond Earth, what experiments we are undertaking to find or communicate with such life, and what we propose to do if we find “them.” We’ll also look at some of the most imaginative science fiction ideas about what aliens will be like, and what the results of getting in touch with aliens might be.

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

*Note: Limited to 25 participants. A tutorial will be held for new participants on appropriate equipment for Zoom and Zoom etiquette prior to their first session.

All New Topics. Through the actions of governments at all levels, economics plays a central role in the functioning of every aspect of society. Given the centrality of its role, this course will address a new set of prominent policy issues with economics at the core. We will explore these issues in detail, focusing on what the economics profession understands to be true, while not prescribing a specific policy solution.

Using both common and both common and rare recordings and video clips, this traces the Beatles’ artistic evolution from the dawn of their career in the early 1960s through their breakup about a decade later. The development of the numerous styles they pioneered are explored in detail, from the simple Merseybeat of their first recordings through the folk-rock, hard rock, psychedelia, and progressive art rock they delved into as the decade progressed.

“I would rather take a photograph than be one.” Despite accounting for only seven percent of the holdings of New York’s Metropolitan Museum, artworks by women in a range of media—painting and sculpture, photography, and even “craft” works traditionally practiced by women—are gaining acceptance and respect in the art world. Art provides a deeper, more personal layer to history; understanding women’s important contributions to cultural life is overdue, enriching, and inspiring.

Through an exploration of Broadway musicals, classic operas and theatrical dramas, we will study Western depictions of and attitudes towards Asia and what these musical dramas say about not only their culture, but our own. Works to be studied in depth will include: Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The King and I,” “Flower Drum Song,” and “South Pacific,” Puccini’s “Madame Butterfly” and “Turandot”, as well as the musicals “Miss Saigon,” “The Mikado,” “Pacific Overtures” and “M Butterfly.

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.

*Note: Limited to 25 participants. Assistance with using Zoom will be provided by the instructor upon request.

Advances in child development research have flourished in the past two decades. Six faculty from Dominican’s distinguished Psychology department share the latest insights into the minds and behavior of children.

For nearly 250 years, Americans have stood in awe before the giants who strode the earth during our country’s formative epoch. Bold military commanders, incisive political philosophers, brilliant economic thinkers, and spellbinding orators, the Founders provided the creative genius and practical wisdom necessary to forge a new Republic, “dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” But we must be careful not to think of these nation-builders as demi-gods; they were real flesh and blood men, confronted with difficult, real-world decisions. Many of their choices were masterful, and some were disastrous, saddling the American people with thorny problems that would resurface repeatedly in later years. In this class we will analyze the lives of vanguard members of the revolutionary generation, and assess their influence on the tumultuous events of the years 1763-1815.

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