Literature, Character, and Identity

Presenter: Paulo Moreira, Modern Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics

Class Date: Tuesday,  February 4

Class Time: 9:30 to 11 a.m.

Class Location: CCE Forum Building | 1704 Asp Avenue, Norman | Room A-1

Class Cost: $5

Class Description: I want to talk about the impact of literature and literary studies in everyday life by focusing on narrative and identity.  Are we to focus on what is distinctive in us or what is common to us to understand identity?  Instead of a lecture exposition I would like everyone to participate on a variation of the Socratic method, responding to my questions as we read and interpret together a few short stories that approach the issue:  Augusto Monterroso's "The Fly Who Dreamt to be an Eagle," Clarice Lispector's "The Chicken," and Machado de Assis' "The Siamese Academies."

The Way of the Dinosaurs:  Are we in a New Mass Extinction?

Presenter: Katharine Marske, Biology Department

Class Date: Tuesday,  February 11

Class Time: 9:30 to 11 a.m.

Class Location: CCE Forum Building | 1704 Asp Avenue, Norman Room A-1

Class Cost: $5

Class Description: The history of life on Earth is punctuated by five mass extinction events, or periods in which three-quarters of all living species disappeared during a very short interval of geological time.  There is growing scientific consensus that we have entered a sixth mass extinction period, and that it is largely caused by human activity. This course will explore the causes of this extinction event and learn about why certain plants and animals are more at risk. We’ll also discuss how a global extinction event might impact our own well-being, and what past extinctions can tell us about how the world might look in the future.

Whence Cometh Auroras er, Aurorae?

Presenter: Charles Wende, NASA

Class Date: Tuesday,  March 10

Class Time: 9:30 to 11 a.m.

Class Location: CCE Forum Building | 1704 Asp Avenue, Norman | Room A-1

Class Cost: $5

Class Description: From out of this world, well, at least off-planet. This lecture will begin with the history (some personal) of the exploration of nearby “outer space” -  the discovery of the radiation belts surrounding the Earth (Van Allen himself never called them  “Van Allen Belts”)  - and then segue to our understanding of a “solar wind” and then how mostly unseen activity on the sun affects our Earth. The most striking consequence is the Northern lights, or aurora, seen in polar regions both North and South. Yet these spectacular displays portend little known hazards and risks to us Earthlings. Could it be sleepless aurora-lit nights in Oklahoma? Lousy weather forecasts?  No satellite TV? Or something worse yet?

 

Stories from Prison: Inside the Fence, Outside the Box

Presenter: Joe Bogan, PhD, Retired Federal Prison Warden

Class Date: Tuesday,  March 24

Class Time: 9:30 to 11 a.m.

Class Location: CCE Forum Building | 1704 Asp Avenue, Norman |  Room A-1 

Class Cost: $5

Class Description: In this seminar, the presenter will relate several experiences he had during his thirty years working in Federal Prisons.   Hopefully, his “inside the fence” view of a variety of prison situations and inmates will be interesting to class participants.   Since a good story has meaning beyond the facts and circumstances it describes, the class will discuss any larger meaning each story may have.  

The Tower of London: A Fascinating Part of British History

Presenter: Kenneth Johnson, Oklahoma Geological Survey

Class Date: Tuesday,  April 7

Class Time: 9:30 to 11 a.m.

Class Location: CCE Forum Building | 1704 Asp Avenue, Norman | Room A-2/4

Class Cost: $5

Class Description: The famed Tower of London has been the scene of some of Britain’s most dramatic and compelling history.  It has been a royal residence, zoo, prison, execution site, museum, and repository for the Crown Jewels.  Construction was started in 1075 AD by William the Conqueror to show dominance by the Normans over the recently conquered Anglo-Saxons.  The original Tower has been improved and extended by addition of more towers, extra buildings, moats, and walls, and it is now a World Heritage Site.  From 1100 to 1954, more than 8,000 persons have been imprisoned in the Tower, but only 22 have been executed within the Tower grounds; most executions (about 125) occurred on Tower Hill, just outside the Tower walls.  Among the more famous prisoners were: 4 queens of England (Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard, Lady Jane Grey, Elizabeth I), Sir Walter Raleigh, 2 English princes, Guy Fawkes, and Rudolf Hess—however, not all these prisoners were executed.  Come and find out about the ravens, the beefeaters, the Traitors’ Gate, and the fascinating history of one of Britain’s greatest landmarks.  This program is updated from one given at OLLI in 2015.

Karma

Presenter: Haven Tobias

Class Date: Tuesday,  April 21

Class Time: 9:30 to 11 a.m.

Class Location: CCE Forum Building | 1704 Asp Avenue, Norman | Room A-1

Class Cost: $5

Class Description: We're all familiar with the bumper sticker My Karma Ran Over Your Dogma.  But, seriously folks, your dogma flattened my karma by translating it as fate.  Let's explore the hows, whys and wherefores of karma.

A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Book

Presenter: Rhonda Taylor

Class Date: Tuesday,  May 5

Class Time: 9:30 to 11 a.m.

Class Location: CCE Forum Building | 1704 Asp Avenue, Norman | Room A-2/4

Class Cost: $5

Class Description: It might have begun around 2400 BC with the papyrus scroll, or as the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh around 2000 BC, or with the Gutenberg Bible around 1454.  They have been made of clay tablets, of bamboo, of animal hides, of wax tablets, and of paper.  They have taken forms ranging from miniatures to braille text to pop-ups to one-of-a-kind-artist-creations to digital formats.  And, there are some that are believed to have changed the world.  What is their future in a "paperless society"?  Join a dilettante's romp thru the extroidinary life of "the book."