OLLI Senior Seminars for Spring 2021


OLLI Senior Seminars for Spring 2021

The weather is beginning to get warmer, and OLLI’s Spring Senior Seminar schedule is heating up, as well, with 11 new courses starting in March, April and June that focus on topics in art and art history, film, literature, political science, religious studies, science and technology.

Led by some of OU's top professors, most OLLI Senior Seminars meet for two hours at a time and run four to six weeks in length. Adult learners who participate in OLLI's courses experience an open and welcoming environment comprised of people of a similar age with whom they will explore new topics and concepts in a fun, educational and inspiring way.

Many OLLI courses are known to sell out, so be sure to sign up and save your spot before classes fill up. For information about course availability, please contact OLLI directly at (405) 325-3488.

March Senior Seminars

CrooklynNot to Be Forgotten Films

Betty Robbins

Tuesdays | March 23 to April 27
1 to 4 p.m.
In-Person

The films for this course are “must-haves” in any serious film viewer’s experience. From Oscar-winning to overlooked films from South America and England to New Zealand and the U.S., the six films listed for this course offer rare delights in politics and passion, courage and comedy. Each film is directed by a uniquely creative and significant director. The course list includes Luis Puenzo’s The Official Story, Frank Oz’s Death at a Funeral or Peter Bogdanovich’s What’s Up, Doc?, Roman Polanski’s Chinatown, Nicholas Roeg’s Track 29, Spike Lee’s Crooklyn and Lee Tamahori’s Once Were Warriors. Each film offers a rare contribution to anyone’s film viewing experience and education, and each fits easily into class time constraints to allow time for processing and discussion.


Cold WarA Brief History of the Cold War

Lance Janda

Wednesdays | March 24 to April 28
9:30 to 11 a.m.
Online

The Cold War was the longest conflict in the history of the United States, albeit one that was undeclared. It touched every aspect of American life, from politics to industry, and from education to entertainment and the armed forces. It also had truly global implications, drawing in countries and cultures far removed from either the United States or the Soviet Union. This class will touch on the most important moments of the Cold War, emphasizing turning points, important individuals and, hopefully, highlighting lesser-known aspects of the war we all grew up with.


Robert FrostRobert Frost’s North of Boston

Lisa Seale

Tuesdays | March 30 to May 4
1 to 2:30 p.m.
Online

Robert Frost was 40 years old when his second book, North of Boston, launched him as a nationally recognized poet in 1914, but only after he had left teaching and unsuccessful farming in New Hampshire and moved his family to England. What were those two years in England like to have taken him from a fairly conventional, if promising, poet to a major force? And what is it about the sequencing of the poems in North of Boston that leads to the book’s great power? We’ll read the poems, and draw from biographies and Frost’s letters, to learn!


US Russia RelationsU.S.-Russia Relations

Robert Andrew

Wednesdays | March 31 to April 21
9:30 to 11:30 a.m.
Online

Russia remains the only country in the world that can destroy much of the U.S. in just a few hours with a nuclear attack. The relationship has seen highs, such as during WWII when we allied against common enemies, and lows, such as the Cuban Missile Crisis. Where are we today? This course is designed to provide an overview of U.S.-Russia relations over the past 200+ years with an in-depth look at Cold War tensions and the contentious relationship since the “re-emergence” of Russia from the post-Soviet morass in the Putin era.


April Senior Seminars

Fascinating IslandsFascinating Islands of the World – Part 1: Iceland, Bermuda and the Falklands

Ken Johnson    

Thursdays | April 1 to 22
10 to 11:30 a.m.
Online

Islands range in size from Greenland, the largest island (823,000 miles²), to small, rocky islets that jut out of the water. Islands can be rifted parts of continents or raised up by tectonic activity (i.e., Greenland and Falkland Islands), can result from volcanism (Iceland and Hawaii), can be reefs (Bermuda and atolls), can be due to glacial activity (Long Island and Martha’s Vineyard) or can be barrier islands (Cape Hatteras and Padre Island). Islands form or disappear with the rise or fall of sea level—they appear or enlarge as sea level drops or become smaller or even disappear as sea level rises.  Learn where islands come from, in general, and explore in depth the origin, history and culture of Iceland (“Land of Fire and Ice”), Bermuda (“A Jewel in the North Atlantic Ocean”) and the Falklands (“Remote islands contested by Britain and Argentina”).


State and Tribal RelationshipsState and Tribal Relationships in Oklahoma

Cal Hobson

Thursdays | April 1 to 22
1 to 3 p.m.
Online

Wins, losses and ties. When it came to the renewal of gaming compacts, it was a rout for Oklahoma tribes. Governor Kevin Stitt struck out in several state and federal venues and may now be the most unpopular white man in America since Gen. George Custer 150 years ago, or even perhaps President Andrew Jackson nearly two centuries in our past. A less clear-cut victory, but still a win, was the United States Supreme Court decision titled McGirt vs. the State of Oklahoma. And of course, at least in our state, the tribal-generated economy may now be the largest factor in our prosperity going forward. Last spring, OLLI offered a course featuring tribal governance, and it drew the largest enrollment ever in the program, so...let’s do it again!

Lawyers, politicians, tribal chiefs and governors, gaming and criminal justice experts and Cal Hobson will all be on hand to generate questions, and maybe even a few answers, about the complexities surrounding the unique arrangement in Oklahoma between tribes and governments at several levels. 


Christian OriginsJesus, The Gospels and Christian Origins

Jill Hicks-Keeton    

Mondays | April 5 to 26
9:30 to 11 a.m.
Online

An exploration of New Testament and non-canonical gospels from literary and historical perspective with attention to their varying portrayals of Jesus of Nazareth.


Intermediate iOSIntermediate iOS

Jeremy Hessman

Thursdays | April 8 to 29
9:30 to 11:30 a.m.
Online

This course will build upon iOS fundamentals. We will cover more in-depth how to utilize things such as shortcuts, Siri and smart home technology with your iPhone/iPad. It will also cover more tips/tricks with iOS 14.


Landscape Architecture DrawingLandscape and Architecture Drawing

Kylie Anderson

Fridays | April 23 to May 28
10 to 11:30 a.m.
Online

This course will introduce students to basic landscape drawing techniques, including how to create an illusion of space and how to draw trees realistically. We will cover how to draw architecture accurately through one- and two-point perspective. Students will be encouraged to work outside from direct observation but may also create their drawings indoors with the aid of photographs.


June Senior Seminars

Latin American Fiction¡Boom! 20th-Century Latin American Fiction

Julie Ann Ward

Mondays | June 7 to 28
1:30 to 3:40 p.m.
Online

Gabriel García Márquez. Carlos Fuentes. Mario Vargas Llosa. These 20th-century Latin American authors are household names around the world because of the literary phenomenon known as “The Boom,” made popular by beloved, best-selling works like One Hundred Years of Solitude. In this course, we’ll study four iconic short stories from the Boom and discuss how forces beyond the literary—like Cold War power struggles, cutthroat publishing competition and the fight for women’s liberation—shaped this cultural phenomenon.


Art Venice RenaissanceArt in Venice in the Renaissance

Allison Palmer

Tuesdays | June 15 to June 24
10 to 11:30 a.m.
Online

In this four-session seminar (twice a week for two weeks), we’ll look at the ways Venetian art of the Renaissance developed in this international merchant city on the water. Venice sat at the crossroads between Central Italy and Constantinople, and this geography shaped its cultural values and artistic goals. We’ll look at the Venetian architectural setting, and the art of the Bellini family, Titian and Tintoretto, among others.

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.