OLLI Senior Seminars for September 2021

OLLI Senior Seminars for September 2021

The fall semester is ramping up, and OLLI’s Senior Seminars schedule is packed with 15 new courses beginning in September. September’s seminars will be offered in a variety of formats — including online courses and a return to in-person courses — and will appeal to a wide array of interests by exploring topics in art, film, health, history, music, political science and religious studies.
OLLI Senior Seminars offer adult learners an open and welcoming learning environment with people of a similar age. Each course runs for four to six weeks and typically meets for two hours at a time. Courses are led by some of OU’s tops professors and feature fun, educational and inspiring concepts.
Be sure to sign up soon to save your spot before classes fill up, as many OLLI courses are known to sell out. For information about course availability, please contact OLLI directly at (405) 325-3488.

September Senior Seminars

Balkan ComedyBalkan Comedy

Andrew Horton and Rozmeri Basic
Wednesdays | Sept. 1-Oct. 6
1-3:30 p.m.

The Balkan Peninsula, or the Balkans, geographically consists of the following countries: Bulgaria, Croatia, Serbia (with Kosovo), Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania and Slovenia. Parts of Greece and Turkey are also located within the geographic region, and many descriptions of the Balkans include those countries, too. Due to unfortunate political and economic events (civil war in former Yugoslavia, questionable political freedoms in Turkey and former Easter European countries of Romania and Bulgaria), the term “Balkans” became associated with negative sentiments best comprehended through humor and bittersweet stories told by screenwriters, directors and artists who live and work in these very countries. Andrew Horton and Rozmeri Basic will use films and presentations to discuss and analyze some of the best moments in recent Balkan full feature movie production.

PlasticsUse of Plastics in Infrastructure Development and Renewal 

Kianoosh Hatami
Thursdays | Sept. 2-23
2-3:30 p.m.

Geosynthetics are high-performance, polymer-based products that are used in a wide range of applications in civil engineering. Their production, testing and use in transportation, environmental, coastal, hydraulic and other civil engineering applications over the recent decades have transformed the technology used for infrastructure development and renewal. This four-week seminar series introduces the attendees to a variety of geosynthetic products and their different functions and applications in civil engineering construction.


Operetta Part 2The Operetta, Part II: The Best of the Best

Marvin Beck
Fridays | Sept. 3-Oct. 15*
10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

*No class Sept. 17.
This seminar will continue to explore this glorious musical genre and its history by discussing, watching and listening to the works of some of the best composers of the era, including Jacque Offenbach, Johann Strauss II, Franz Lehar, Rudolph Friml, Victor Herbert, Sigmund Romberg and others. We will get to see some of the best available highlights and some full productions of classics like “Naughty Marietta,” “The Merry Widow,” “Rose Marie,” “The Vagabond King,” “The Student Prince,” “The Desert Song,” “New Moon” and others. We will explore how these classics led us to the works of Jerome Kern, Rogers and Hammerstein, Lerner and Loewe and many of the other great composers and lyricists that have created our incredible musical heritage.

MartyrsMartyrs and Anti-Martyrs – Early Christian Women in the Roman Arena

Susan M. (Elli) Elliott
Tuesdays | Sept. 7-28
2-3:30 p.m.

Two early Christian narratives focus on women facing martyrdom in the Roman arena and defying constraints placed on women in their time — Perpetua and Felicitas as martyrs, Thekla as a survivor. A discussion of martyr identities in our own time will surface questions participants bring to these narratives. Questions about the historical context will also inform our discussion: How were gladiators in the Roman arena models for Christian martyrs? How did martyr narratives form Christian identity? How did these women challenge societal constraints?

Cost of InequalityThe Economic Cost of Inequality

Mary Carter
Thursdays | Sept. 9-30
10-11:30 a.m.

It is not just the poor who suffer from inequality, but the entire United States economy suffers, as well — which means all of us. Since this subject has been brought to the forefront of economic discussions today, this class will look at this issue in greater detail. The class will be based on books and articles exploring the economic effects of the wealth and income inequality in America today. Resources used in the class will include excerpts from the documentary Inequality for All, written by Robert Reich. In addition, the class will include the book The Wealth Hoarder by Chuck Collins, Combating Inequality by Oliver Blanchard and Dani Rodrik, and other recent articles written on the subject. There is no required reading for this class.

iOSFundamentals of iOS

Jeremy Hessman
Thursdays | Sept. 9-Oct. 14
9:30-11:30 a.m.

This course will cover iOS basics for iPhone and iPad users. Learn to easily navigate and customize your device to meet your needs. We will also learn how to better utilize your phone contacts and how they integrate with other apps within your phone. We will also cover best practices for backing up your device and mastering the art of texting. Navigation, email and Siri will be discussed, as well as other apps from the App Store that you might enjoy.

Color TheoryIntroduction to Color Theory

Kylie Anderson
Fridays | Sept. 10-Oct. 15
10 a.m.-Noon

In this course, students will learn the basics of color and how to apply this knowledge to visual arts. We will cover the color wheel, color mixing and methods for creating harmonious and contrasting color combinations. The first part of each session will be devoted to lectures about color theory, and the second half to creating small, abstract works using colored media of the student’s choice. The class will draw from Color: A Workshop Approach by David Hornung (purchase of the book is optional) and from Josef Albers’ approach to color theory.

Drug ActionPrinciple of Drug Action

Tom Pento
Mondays | Sept. 13-Oct. 4
10-11:30 a.m.

This course will present an overview of the principles of drug action in the body. This course will discuss factors known to be involved in the action of drugs in the body such as: drug absorption, distribution, uptake and storage in body tissue, drug metabolism, major routes of drug excretion, drug interactions and antagonism. In addition, the action of drugs producing biological or therapeutic activity within end organ tissue at specific receptor sites and other common mechanisms of drug action will be reviewed. Further, a presentation of the action of several drug classes commonly used for pain and inflammation, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammation drugs (NSAIDS) and steroids, will be reviewed to further illustrate these principles of drug action within the body.

Blue to RedGoing from Bright Blue to Radiant Red

Cal Hobson
Mondays | Sept. 13-Oct. 4
1-3:30 p.m.
Thursdays | Sept. 16-Oct. 7
1-3:30 p.m.

Cal Hobson is often asked how this transfer of power occurred and what were the factors that led to this upheaval. From statehood, Democrats had basically operated Oklahoma as their personal fiefdom, controlling all statewide offices and maintaining super majorities in the two legislative bodies. Agency heads, most judges, all university regents and even wardens at prisons were almost unilaterally selected or approved by powerful party players in either the executive or legislative branches. And often they did so without much concern for individual qualifications, but were more focused on campaign contributions and personal loyalty from the chosen.

Chinese CultureIntroduction to Chinese Culture

Paul B. Bell, Jr.
Tuesdays | Sept. 14-Oct. 19
9:30-11:30 a.m.

This course will provide an introduction to Chinese culture and how that culture affects how Chinese think and interact with others. A Chinese person’s sense of identity is based on shared cultural beliefs and practices that have developed over 5,000 years, largely free of Western influence. This common cultural heritage confers on Chinese distinctive ways of perceiving themselves, their relationships with others and their relationship with the world around them. It makes Chinese holistic thinkers who view everything in terms of relationships in a constantly changing balance between opposites. In this course, we will examine the various components of Chinese culture, including a syncretic system of beliefs, reading, writing and thinking in Chinese characters, the centrality of the family, filial piety and respect for ancestors, personal relationships based on human feelings and a sense of mutual obligation, dialectical thinking and a Sino-centric world view. We will also look at examples of Chinese art, poetry and literature as reflections of the Chinese outlook on life.

Faith and ScienceFaith and Science

Clint Roberts
Wednesdays | Sept. 15-Oct. 6
10:30 a.m.-Noon

Are religious faith and the sciences at odds? Should we see them as enemies? Can and should they be reconciled (do they even need to be)? These are some of the questions this that this seminar will explore. The deepest questions of life are religious in nature, but many today look to the sciences as a supreme authority in solving the problems of people, due in part to the spectacular successes of science and technology in the modern era. We will ask whether theological and philosophical questions are answerable by the methods of scientists and consider the way that great scientists with devout religious beliefs have perceived the two.

Carved in StoneCarved in Stone: Gravestone Graphics and Cemetery Customs

Luann Sewell Waters
Tuesdays | Sept. 21-Oct. 26
1-3 p.m.

You can learn a lot from cemeteries: history, biography, genealogy, historic architecture, science and art. If you’re thinking it’s strange to go to cemeteries to study any of the above, consider sites you may have already visited: Arlington Cemetery, Gettysburg, Greyfriars Kirkyard or the Pyramids in Egypt. By studying a gravestone, you usually learn not only of a person’s name, date of birth and death, but also may learn their social memberships, occupation or hobbies and their thoughts on an afterlife. Some of this information is given through symbols. The language of symbols is international and all around us. Over time, a symbol’s meaning can change and make for confusion. Cemetery customs can also change. What customs are there today that we never would have thought of even five years ago and what were some of the customs in the past? This course will cover this and more using lecture, film, PowerPoint, discussion and displays of resources.

Auteur DirectorsAmerican Auteur Directors

Betty Robbins
Tuesdays | Sept. 28-Nov. 2
1-4 p.m.

How individual directors use the tools of script, cinematography, setting, theme and actors often results in a cinematic style uniquely and easily identifiable. Think Hitchcock! Directors with such personalized cinematic styles are referred to as auteurs (authors), a term made common by Francois Truffaut in his film essays of 1955. This course will rely on auteur theory to study clips from numerous filmmakers and analyze a selection of films from directors such as the Coen Brothers, Kathryn Bigelow, David Lynch, Howard Hawks, Terrence Malick, Spike Lee, Steven Spielberg, Michael Curtiz, Martin Scorsese and Orson Welles, with the goal of identifying elements in the style and preoccupation of each auteur.

DiplomacyThe Practice of Diplomacy

Rob Andrew
Wednesdays | Sept. 29-Oct. 20
9:30-11:30 a.m.

The practice of diplomacy is as important as ever to help address and solve major disputes in today’s world. A resurgent and aggressive Russia and a powerful challenge — in all aspects of DIME-Diplomacy/Information/Military/ Economic — from China demand that diplomacy, an integral part of U.S. national security strategy, remains the preferred method of trying to address/resolve these problems. It is just as important for addressing “day-to-day” issues around the world as it is for the next armed conflict or natural disaster.
What is diplomacy? Who actually “practices” U.S. diplomacy? What are the practical aspects of diplomacy that make up our routine interaction with foreign nation-states and other entities?
This course is designed to provide you with a greater understanding of how day-to-day diplomacy is conducted by U.S. Foreign Service Officers from the Department of State and other entities at our embassies around the world. We will take a look inside the structure of the U.S. Department of State as well as a U.S. Embassy and how it operates. We will look at major diplomatic challenges from recent and the current U.S. Administrations. We will also look at the challenging process that one must undertake in order to become a U.S. Foreign Service Officer within the State Department.

Rock and RollA Short History of Rock and Roll

Lance Janda
Thursdays | Sept. 30-Nov. 11
9:30-11 a.m.

*No class Oct. 21
A Short History of Rock and Roll will provide an overview of the emergence and evolution of Rock music as a distinctive cultural and musical phenomenon over the last 100 years. We’ll examine the most important artists, the crucial technological innovations, and the sociological, cultural and economic factors that shaped the many styles of Rock music in the United States and around the world. Most importantly, we’ll have fun. We’re going to listen to a wide array of performers and bands, from Blues to the Beatles, from Elvis to AC/DC, from Punk to New Wave, and from Chuck Berry to Disco and beyond.

OU logo

Myk Mahaffey

Michael Mahaffey holds degrees in journalism and psychology. He is a writer and editor with more than a decade of experience writing for print and digital publications, including award-winning coverage of the rodeo industry. In his spare time, he writes fiction, in addition to tinkering with graphic design and photography.