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Senior Seminars for November and December 2019

Senior Seminars for November and December 2019

Autumn has finally arrived, and while the holiday season will soon be upon us, OLLI is here to help you stay warm and cozy through the end of the fall semester with four new courses starting in November and December.

Senior Seminar courses are led by some of OU’s top professors and meet for two hours at a time. The classes offer adult learners the opportunity to explore new topics and concepts in an educational, fun and inspiring way. Most OLLI courses run four to six weeks and allow participants of a similar age to engage their desire to learn in an open and welcoming environment.

Please note that many OLLI courses have been known to sell out. Please contact OLLI directly at (405) 325-3488 for information on course availability and be sure to sign up and save your seat before classes are full!

November Senior Seminars

Four HorsemenThe Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Famine, Plague, War and Death in 14th-Century Europe

Jacob Lackner

Tuesdays – Nov. 5 to 26

2 to 3:30 p.m.

Things were so bad in 14th-century Europe that many people thought the apocalypse was imminent. In the Book of Revelation, John of Patmos discusses four figures riding horses who represent various disasters that have to occur at the end of times. Fourteenth-century Europeans saw these horsemen in the events of the century, which include the Great Famine (1315-1317), the first waves of the black death (1346-1353), and the Hundred Years War (1337-1453). The chaos and upheaval created by these events would reshape Europe, in many ways bringing an end to the medieval period. This course will discuss these events and the impact they had on society.


Better BrainBetter Brain

Thomas Thompson

Wednesdays – Nov. 6 to Dec. 18

10 to 11:30 a.m.

Class will not meet on Nov. 27.

The Feldenkrais Method is based on principles of physics, biomechanics and an empirical understanding of learning and human development. Participants will work on movement puzzles framed around related scientific data to help integrate the right and left hemispheres of the brain.

Participants will explore many different movement options best illustrated by Michael Merzenich’s (Ph.D. neuroscientist) statement, “It is better to try to move to a point in space in 100 different speeds in 100 different ways...than to move 200 times in the same way to get to that point in space.” They will develop more kinesthetic awareness, extending ranges of motion and expanding their day-to-day comfort.


Spies in the SkySpies in the Sky: America’s Quest for Imagery Intelligence Dominance in the Cold War and Beyond

Chris Sartorius, Department of International and Area Studies

Wednesdays – Nov. 20-Dec. 18

1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

Class will not meet Nov. 27.

This course will explore the fascinating history of imagery intelligence during the Cold War and beyond. During this period, the United States developed the world’s first and best-classified imaging capabilities, which allowed our country to conduct a wide variety of critical intelligence activities, such as monitoring arms control agreements, quickly identifying threatening military buildups, and tracking individual terrorists.

In this course, participants will explore the political and military decisions involved in developing the U-2 strategic reconnaissance aircraft and its use over the Soviet Union from 1955-1960, over Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962, and how this aircraft remains a critical U.S. intelligence asset today by providing indications and warning intelligence and tracking military and terrorist targets.

Participants will also examine the development and use of the SR-71 Blackbird, the fastest manned aircraft in U.S. Air Force history. Finally, the course will cover the declassified history of the world’s first space-based imaging capability by examining the research, development, testing and operational use of the Project CORONA system, codenamed DISCOVERER, from the mid-1950s until 1972.

The instructor will use lectures, photographs, videos, and declassified imagery and documents to provide a rich learning experience for those interested in learning more about this great period when our leaders exercised strategic vision and inspired amazing technological innovations that enabled the United States to collect, process and analyze critical intelligence to enhance international security.


December Senior Seminars

Medieval Art and MusicMedieval Art and Music: Increasing Complexities

Eugene J. Enrico, School of Music; Susan H. Caldwell, School of Visual Arts

Tuesdays and Thursdays – Dec. 3, 5, 10, 12

2:30 to 4:30 p.m.

This course will examine the interconnections between art and music in four different periods:

a) Pre-Romanesque, including Charlemagne’s palace at Aachen, St. Riquier of Centula, and plain chant, Gregorian chant, the liturgical drama “Play of Daniel”
b) 12th-century Renaissance, including polyphony in music and development toward Gothic architecture and sculpture at St. Denis and Chartres’ west façade
c) Music, sculpture and pilgrimage at Santiago de Compostela
d) High Gothic architecture and art at Chartres, Reims, and Amiens cathedrals, and Ars Nova music and Guillaume de Machaut.

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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.