Senior Seminars Offered by OLLI for February 2019

Senior Seminars Offered by OLLI for February 2019

The air may still have a chill, but things are heating up at OLLI. Twelve new Senior Seminar courses are getting started in February. With classes that cover topics in history, politics, film, literature and healthy living, being an OLLI member has never been more rewarding.

OLLI courses offer adult learners a friendly environment in which they can explore new topics and concepts with other participants of a similar age. Senior Seminar courses, led by some of OU’s top professors, run for four to six weeks, meet for two hours at a time and are educational, fun and inspiring.

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

February Senior Seminars

Constitutional Studies Book ClubConstitutional Studies Book Club

Taught by Katie Schumaker

Fridays – Feb. 1, March 1, April 5 and May 3

9 - 11 a.m.

The Institute for the American Constitutional Heritage at OU brings together faculty members in history, political science and law to explore the history, politics and ideas of the U.S. Constitution. Join Katy Schumaker, assistant professor in IACH, along with guest faculty from around the university, to discuss four of the most interesting, exciting and important books in the field of American constitutional history.


History of U.S. IntelligenceHistory of U.S. Intelligence from Colonial America to the Civil War

Taught by Chris Sartorius and Ula Wildfield, Department of International and Area Studies

Fridays – Feb. 1 to 22

1 - 3 p.m.

This course is designed to trace the history of U.S. intelligence from the American Revolution through the U.S. Civil War. The course will explore the creative use of espionage to collect and analyze intelligence to help America gain its independence from Britain, as well as counterintelligence activities to uncover spies working against the colonists. OLLI participants will also see how intelligence was key in helping preserve the Union in a period of great internal crisis. The course will examine the interesting personalities on both sides of the intelligence war and the fascinating tradecraft employed to ensure critical military and political information reached key decision makers.


21st Century Women Writers

Introduction to the Modern Short Story: 21st Century Women Writers

Taught by Chris Allen Carter, English

Fridays – Feb. 1 to March 1

2 - 3:30 p.m.

This course is an introduction to select examples of modern short fiction, focusing on five women writers who have risen to prominence in our new century and who now rank among our most highly regarded fictionists. This course will meet five times, and participants will read the following:

  • Feb. 1: Sandra Cisneros, Woman Hollering Creek (1991), excerpts
  • Feb. 8: Jhumpa Lahiri, Interpreter of Maladies (1999), excerpts
  • Feb. 15: Edwidge Danticat, Krik? Krak! (1995), excerpts
  • Feb. 22: Zadie Smith, White Teeth (2000), excerpts
  • Mar 1: Rachel Kushner, The Flamethrowers (2013), excerpt.

The course will be a mix of informal lecture and discussion. At the first class, participants will be given a packet of the readings and will plunge right into the Cisneros selections. There is no prerequisite for this course.


Santiago de CompostelaPilgrimage Trail to Santiago De Compostela: History, Architecture and Sculpture

Taught by Susan Caldwell

Mondays – Feb. 4 to March 11

10 a.m. - Noon

This course will discuss:

  • Week 1: Relics and Pilgrimage Sites in the Middle Ages—the significance of relics and pilgrimages to visit them
  • Week 2: Architecture and Sculpture along the Trail to Santiago de Compostela—early Pre-Romanesque architecture in Spain.
  • Week 3: Church Portals and their Sculpture—early portal development along the trail and iconography of the portals.
  • Week 4: Important Architectural Monuments on the Pilgrimage Trail in Spain—San Isidoro of Leon, San Martin of Fromista and San Pedro de Jaca and Castillo de Loarre (Reconquista)
  • Week 5: Pilgrimage Plan Churches—What is a “pilgrimage plan”?
  • Week 6: Study of Codex Calixtinus or The Book of St. James—history of the book and its five parts.


Elementary, My Dear WatsonElementary, My Dear Watson

Taught by Brittney Brown, English

Tuesdays – Feb. 5 to 26

2 - 3:30 p.m.

This course will study the world’s most famous detective, Sherlock Holmes, starting with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original novels, then moving on to the BBC television series and Laurie R. King’s Mary Russell series. Get ready to investigate what makes Holmes such a great sleuth and uncover why people still love him over 130 years later.


Heroes and Villains in TV, Film and LiteratureHeroes and Villains in Television, Film and Literature

Taught by Katy Krieger

Thursdays – Feb. 7 to March 14

1 - 2:30 p.m.

This course aims to explore the intricacies behind heroes and villains in film, television and literature. Participants will look at why people are attracted and interested in the dichotomy of heroes and villains, and what each brings to these stories. The course will then look deeper into these heroes and villains to see what makes them tick. This will include an exploration of their actions, psychology, language/discourse, relationships and even the visual information the audience receives about each of these characters and what shapes them into heroes and villains.


Wonderful Wizard of Oz and American HistoryThe Wonderful Wizard of Oz and American History

Taught by Curtis Foxly

Thursdays – Feb. 7 to 28

2 - 4 p.m.

This course will investigate the history surrounding L. Frank Baum’s original novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Originally published in 1900, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was a children’s book loaded with political commentary about the state of America at the turn of the century. This course will investigate the history surrounding the book and the state of the country in 1900 and will decode the hidden messages along the Yellow Brick Road. Participants will end the course by watching the 1939 film and seeing how Hollywood adapted the story to fit a new audience.


Mystery MakersMystery Makers

Taught by Almira Grammer

Fridays – Feb. 8, March 8, April 12, May 10

10 a.m. - Noon

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, participants 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. This course 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.


Was the U.S. Founded as a Religious (Christian) Nation?Was the U.S. Founded as a Religious (Christian) Nation?

Taught by Charles Wende, NASA

Fridays – Feb. 8 to 22

10 - 11:30 a.m.

This course will address the colonial history of the separation of church and state in the U.S. Topics presented will include:

  • The religious environment in the colonies and its evolution
  • The people involved and their thoughts
  • The documents leading to our Constitution
  • The Constitution itself and the Bill of Rights
  • The post-1791 aftermath (e.g., unfinished business)

Discussion is encouraged.


Yoga, Meditation, Philosophy and Healthy Living SkillsYoga, Meditation, Philosophy and Healthy Living Skills

Taught by Anita Mann

Thursdays – Feb. 12 to March 12

1:30 - 3 p.m.

Learning and practicing healthy living skills will help you improve your vitality, reduce stress, restore calm and inner peace, improve fitness and flexibility, and aid in managing the symptoms of chronic health conditions. Participants will explore a holistic lifestyle—practicing poses and peaceful moving meditation and discussing yogic philosophy, life purpose and like-minded healthy-living choices. This gentle class is both for beginners and those with experience, progressing from a discussion format to chair poses and to wall and yoga mats. Class size will be limited.


History of ChinaHistory of China and Its Place in the World Today

Taught by Paul B. Bell, Jr., Dean Emeritus

Thursdays – Feb. 14 to March 7

9:30 - 11:30 a.m.

This course will discuss:

  • Topic 1: Chinese History and Culture
  • Topic 2: U.S.-China Relations
  • Topic 3: Chinese Governments (historical and contemporary)
  • Topic 4: Chinese Interactions with the World


Contact OLLI at (405) 325-3488 for information about registering for OLLI courses or becoming an OLLI member, and be sure to check back for more information about courses that will be offered in the coming months.


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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.