Students across the nation are returning to school this August, and OLLI is kicking-off the Fall 2019 semester with 21 new courses that start in August and September. With topics covering art history, film, health, history, literature, music, politics, religion and science, OLLI members are sure to find courses that pique their interest.
Senior Seminar courses are led by some of OU’s top professors and meet for two hours at a time, with most courses running four to six weeks in length. Every OLLI course offers adult learners the opportunity to join other participants of a similar age in an open and welcoming environment in which they can explore new topics and concepts in an educational, fun and inspiring way.
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!
August Senior Seminars
The Progressive West: Social Movements of the 20th Century
Taught by Derek W. Donwerth and Chelsea Burroughs, History
Wednesdays – Aug. 21 to Sept. 11
The American West played a pivotal role in passing progressive legislation during the early 20th century, and for many has remained a progressive region. This course will examine the role that westerners played in important 20th-century social movements, within the region and nationally. Major topics in the course will include organized labor, women’s rights and direct democracy, as well as many others.
The Cinema of George Roy Hill from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid to the World According to Garp
Taught by Andrew Horton, Jeanne H. Smith Professor of Film and Media Studies, Professor Emeritus
Thursdays – Aug. 22 to Sept. 26
Everyone remembers Paul Newman and Robert Redford in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Sting. But they don’t remember that the director was George Roy Hill, who also did other memorable films such as Slaughterhouse Five, Slap Shot, The World of Henry Orient and The World According to Garp. We will view and discuss each of these films during this class!
Taught by David Anderson, English
Mondays – Aug. 26, Sept. 30, Oct. 28, Nov. 25
The Poetry Club will specialize in the close analysis of English verse. Each month, we will discuss a specific poet from English literary history, focusing on one or more short poems. Anderson will begin with a brief discussion of the poet in question and will guide the group through an analysis of the works.
Masterpieces of French Painting 1800-1870 and 19th-Century American Painting
Taught by Victor Youritzin, Professor Emeritus, Art History
Wednesdays – Aug. 28 to Sept. 18.
11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
As a counterpart to Professor Youritzin’s annual class on Impressionist and Post-Impressionist painting, this course presents masterpieces of French painting from 1800 to the start of Impressionism and treats such movements as Classicism, Romanticism and Realism. Artists discussed will include David, Ingres, Gericault, Delacroix, Daumier and Courbet (along with Goya, Constable and Turner outside France). Also examined is the history of 19th-century American painting, with special attention to such artists as Homer, Eakins, Sargent, Cassatt and Whistler.
Oklahoma Native American Writers
Taught by Kasey Jones-Matrona, English
Fridays – Aug. 30 to Sept. 20
This course will cover a range of Native American writers of Oklahoma from Joy Harjo (Mvskoke Creek), Linda Hogan (Chickasaw), Leanne Howe (Choctaw) and N. Scott Momaday (Kiowa), to Brandon Hobson (Cherokee) and Jennifer Foerster (Muscogee Creek). We will read and discuss a selection of short stories, poems, plays and creative nonfiction memoir/essays while covering appropriate historical and cultural context. This course will honor the tribal nations of Oklahoma and celebrate the art of their writers.
Introduction to the Modern Short Story: European Early High-Modernists
Taught by Chris A. Carter, English
Fridays – Aug. 30 to Sept. 27
This course is an introduction to modern short fiction, focusing on select works by European writers of the early high-modernist period. We will meet five times and read the following: Aug. 30, Anton Chekhov, Gooseberries (1898); Sept. 6, Joseph Conrad, The Secret Sharer (1910); Sept. 13, James Joyce, The Sisters (1914); Sept. 20, Virginia Woolf, The Mark on the Wall (1921); Sept. 27, Katherine Mansfield, The Daughters of the Late Colonel (1921). The course will be a mix of informal lecture and discussion. At the first class, you will be given a packet of the readings. Then we will plunge right into the Chekhov story. There is no prerequisite for this course. Although it is the sixth in the instructor’s series of OLLI courses and treats three authors previously examined (Chekhov, Conrad, Joyce), it is a brand-new course with different stories and different approaches to these stories.
The Second World War We Ought to Remember
Taught by Lance Janda, Social Sciences
Fridays – Aug. 30 to Oct. 4
The Second World War is among the most romanticized and mythologized periods in American history. Even today, almost 75 years after the guns fell silent, the war remains a staple of American popular culture, and a formative ideal for many as we ponder our values and the role of the United States in the broader world. But do we remember the war correctly? Is it a singular moment of American exceptionalism and a high-water mark in our history, or have we glamorized the war—along with the men and women who endured it—so much that the true significance of the conflict has been lost? This course will examine those and many other questions and consider the chasm between the Second World War that most of us remember, and the Second World War we should honor instead.
September Senior Seminars
Holy War: History of the Crusades
Taught by Jacob Lackner
Thursdays – Sept. 5 to 26
This course will examine the medieval crusading movement, which began in 1096 as a European Christian attempt to capture the city of Jerusalem and its surroundings from Muslims and ended in 1291 with the capture of the last European stronghold in the Levant. We will discuss the way the Crusades impacted medieval European society, as well as the major battles and turning points of the Crusades.
Unusual Humans and Their Unusual Brains
Taught by Celeste Wirsig-Wiechmann
Fridays – Sept. 6 to 27
The human brain is probably the most complex structure on earth. Human abilities surpass those of most species in the realms of thought process, manual dexterity and creativity. The human brain takes a minimum of 25 years to reach full development, and during this time things can go very right or very wrong. We will explore some exceptional people—brilliant people like Albert Einstein, violent people like Theodore Bundy, disabled savants like the identical twins Flo and Kay Lyman and cognitive SuperAgers like Lou Ann Schachner, just to name a few, to find out how their brains made them into what they are: geniuses, serial killers, human calculators and octogenarians with impeccable memories. But before we delve into these most amazing people, we will learn brain basics: the basic parts and how they work, how the brain develops and what factors can lead this development to go awry, for better or for worse.
OU Presidents I Have Known: A Portrayal of Their Promises, Priorities and Problems
Taught by Cal Hobson
Mondays – Sept. 9 to 30
The same year John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, course instructor Cal Hobson enrolled at OU. The much revered, longest-serving President George L. Cross, who was hired on in 1943, was still on the job, trying to create a university that “the football team could be proud of.” Maybe the recently departed James L. Gallogly was hoping to do the same thing, but most folks would say neither completely succeeded. Such are the priorities, and perils, of The Sooner Nation. In between those two leaders, the first born into abject poverty in South Dakota but later a University of Chicago Ph.D. botanist at age 23, and the other, an OU law grad birthed in Canada, were five other presidents, all of whom Hobson knew. Each brought strength, commitment, wisdom — but weaknesses as well — to the task of running a public institution nestled not far from the usually docile South Canadian River. However, docile is not a word that first comes to mind when thinking about OU. Actually, it may be one of the last.
For President Cross, integration highlighted the 1960s, followed by turbulence in the Vietnam War Era. Late in the ‘70s came the arrival—twice—of the Prophet from Pepperdine, William Slater Banowsky. Esteemed educators named Holloman, Sharp, Horton, Van Horn and several interims were also selected for service by regents, who almost always are white men of considerable financial substance and possessors of more than a passing interest in politics. The governor appoints these prosperous potentates pending the advice and consent of the state senate education committee on which Hobson served for 16 years. Almost without exception, being designated as an OU regent was the highlight of their accomplished and successful lives... or so they often said.
The Boren quarter-century commenced in 1994, ended in 2018, and was then followed by aforementioned oil executive James Gallogly’s less than one year in the saddle before bucking himself off in 2019. Now former law dean Joe Harroz Jr. is temporarily occupying the southeast corner office in Evans Hall and therefore already catching slings and arrows for being a FOB—Friend of Boren, who remains under scrutiny by the Oklahoma Bureau of Investigation for alleged sexual harassment.
As a frequent observer of and sometimes participant in the policies, priorities and politics swirling around these former presidents, in this seminar Hobson will tell you of their plans, hopes and dreams for OU, some fulfilled but many dashed during their often frustrating tenure in what he believes to be the hardest public service job in our state.
Yes, even harder than that of governor. Enroll, and Hobson, plus several guests, will explain why.
The Jolly Life of the Etruscans
Taught by Rozmeri Basic, Art History
Mondays – Sept. 9 to Oct. 14
This course examines the origin of the visual arts of the Etruscans. Enigmatic and rather different from other ancient European civilizations, the Etruscan artistic production continues to challenge understanding and knowledge of cultural influences across the Mediterranean.
OLLI Movie Club
Taught by Jerry Jerman, OU Extended Campus (retired)
Tuesdays – Sept. 10, Oct. 8, Nov. 12
Since the earliest days of movies, filmmakers have drawn upon the stage as a source for scripts. This year, OLLI Movie Club will look at movies based on plays (it’s not necessary to read the play before each class — but you can if you want to!). Each session begins with an introduction to the movie, movie viewing and a vigorous discussion. Join us! Movies to be viewed and discussed include: Key Largo (1948), On the Town (1949), Detective Story (1951), How to Marry a Millionaire(1953), Stalag 17 (1953) and Heaven Can Wait (1978).
Unauthorized Guide to the Museum of the Bible
Taught by Jill Hicks-Keeton, Religious Studies
Tuesdays – Sept. 10 to Oct. 1
Featuring photos and videos from D.C.’s new $500 million museum dedicated to the Bible (founded and funded by the Oklahoma Green family), this course provides analysis of the controversies the Museum of the Bible has spawned in the national press and in the academic field of biblical studies.
Family History at Your Fingertips for Free
Taught by Jan Davis, School of Library and Information Studies
Tuesdays – Sept. 10 to Oct. 1
Exploring your family and community history becomes easier each day as more and more historical records collections are digitized and made accessible online. Learn about what Oklahoma libraries, archives and museums, along with other institutions around the nation, are doing to bring your family and community history to your fingertips.
Mark Twain Today
Taught by Daniel Snell
Tuesdays – Sept. 10 to Oct. 8
First Session: River Rats. What I learned in my youth and how I wrote about it in Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn.
Second Session: Out West. What I learned in Nevada and California and the Sandwich Islands. Writing, roughing it and lots of little diversions.
Third Session: Out East. How I got to Europe and the Holy Land and wrote Innocents Abroad, met my wife and had 20 years of delight.
Fourth Session: My try at the past. My historical novels. Imperialism and race. What I think about our country today and tomorrow.
Fifth Session:God and me. And the devil. And my family.
OLLI Discussion Group
Wednesdays – Sept. 11 to Dec. 4 (Class will not meet Nov. 27)
The discussion group will meet weekly on Wednesday mornings for OLLI members who would like to share their ideas, feelings and concerns about what’s going on in our world. The purpose is fellowship and learning together through sharing concerns and ideas while responding to others’ initiation of other ideas. This is not your typical OLLI course led by a faculty member. YOU become the leaders and decide what to talk about. The course will be led by one of Norman’s greatest conversationalists. Come grab a cup of coffee and settle in for stimulating conversation. Other than OLLI membership, there is no cost to attend this course. The sessions are limited to 21 OLLI members and registration is required to attend.
Taught by Phil Joy
Thursdays – Sept. 12 to Oct. 17
This class will provide a symposium discussion format to flesh out the subtle meanings of the Taoist teachings contained in The Secret of the Golden Flower as translated by Thomas Cleary. The primary focus will be on Taoist meditation objectives and techniques. Prior purchase of the text is advised. The program will be 40 minutes discussion, 10 minutes break and 40 minutes low-intensity meditative practice in the chair to further absorb the meaning of discussion topics.
Taught by Almira Grammer
Fridays – Sept. 13, Oct. 18, Nov. 8, Dec. 13
There’s nothing better than reading a good mystery, especially when the lightning is flashing, the thunder is rolling and the wind is rattling the windowpanes. In Mystery Makers, we will read and discuss four British crime novels full of manor houses, quaint villages, quirky characters and charismatic inspectors. However, beneath this bucolic façade lurks danger and deception. We will also discuss the evolution of the crime novel — who writes it, who reads it and why. So, sharpen your sleuthing skills and your powers of deduction and join us in solving a murder so foul.
Exploring Contemplative Practices
Taught by Anita Mann
Tuesdays – Sept. 17 to Oct. 8
11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Discover how a contemplative practice might enrich your life. We’ll use The Tree of Contemplative Practices created by The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society as a springboard for discussions. Grounded in awareness, communication and connection, the categories of practice include stillness, movement, creative, generative, activist, relational and ritual. We’ll study and experiment with specific practices such as walking meditation, visualization, journaling, yoga, meditation, council circles, volunteering and creating sacred spaces.
The First World War
Taught by Melissa K. Stockdale, History
Wednesdays – Sept. 18 to Oct. 23
More than 15 million people died in the First World War, a conflict that profoundly shaped the course of the 20th century. This class will look at the causes, conduct and outcomes of the war, with attention paid not only to battle and the soldiers’ experience, but also to life on the home front in history’s first “total war.”
A Brief History of Film Music
Taught by Joshua Tomlinson, School of Music
Fridays – Sept. 20 to Oct. 11
11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Stories play a significant role in the lives of each generation, but in the 20th century a new medium of storytelling emerged—one that eventually required several arts to come together in order to create one coherent work. Join us for an auditory overview of movies, where we will listen to what we see.