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Wednesday January 2, 2019 -- Wednesday March 13, 2019

Monday 1:15-3:15 p.m.

The Dawn of Medieval Europe, 476-918

This course begins as Theodoric, King of the Ostrogoths, imposes order on an Italy shattered by the fall of Rome. Next we will see the rise of the Franks under Clovis and of the Mohammedan kingdoms. Then on to the iconoclastic Byzantine emperors and the Lombard Kingdom. We will study the rise of the Carolingians and Charlemagne's renaissance, ending with those indomitable pagans, the Vikings, who navigated wide seas and narrow rivers in open boats to overrun England, Ireland, and Francia.

Monday 12:00-3:15 p.m.

Films of Stanley Kubrick

A look at some of the films directed by Stanley Kubrick. These include Paths of Glory, Spartacus, Lolita, Doctor Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon, The Shining, Full Metal Jacket, and Eyes Wide Shut. Note: because of the length of some of these films, the class may run past the normal 3:15 time. Some of the films contain adult situations and nudity.

Tuesday 9:30 - 11:30 a.m.

Hot Topics

This is an open-ended class. Presentations can utilize any qualified source (newspapers, magazines, radio, television, books, etc.) covering the recent political or social scene and historical events with current relevancy. Issues can be local, national or international. Controversial topics are welcome as they engender discussion. Join us if you enjoy lively, stimulating discussion.

Women in American Politics

This class will specifically look at women in the political arena: how they achieved their success, what major roles they played and their accomplishments. Some of these women might be Jeannette Rankin, Margaret Chase Smith, Eleanor Roosevelt, Shirley Chisholm, Geraldine Ferraro, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi and Elizabeth Warren.

Tuesday 1:15 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.

Decisive Military Battles that Shaped History

There have been numerous military battles that have shaped history. Examples include Salamis, Thermopylae, the Battle of Hastings, defeat of the Spanish Armada, Agincourt, the Siege of Vienna, Yorktown, Trafalgar, Waterloo, Gettysburg, Gallipoli, Verdun, the Battle of Britain, Midway, Stalingrad, Normandy Invasion, Battle of the Bulge and the Tet Offensive during the Vietnam War. Join us we discuss how these battles changed the course of history.

Let's Look at Tibet

Together, we will read, unpack and discuss the book Tibet, An Unfinished Story by Lezlee Brown Halper and Stefan Halper* that tells the story of this mysterious high-altitude, remote Asian land of myths, resilient people, and Chinese colonization. It is also tells us about Tibet's unique position in the world today. Many look to the 83- year-old Dalai Lama, and his government-in-exile in Northern India for guidance. Each class member will be responsible for summarizing and leading a class discussion about highlights of two chapters and/or supporting materials they've researched.
*Easy to get on Amazon; used copies are $5-$10 each.

Wednesday 9:30 a.m.- 11:30 a.m.

The Jazz Age (aka Roaring Twenties)

The Jazz Age began at the end of World War I and ended with the Great Depression. The term Jazz Age was used by F. Scott Fitzgerald to describe this era. It was used to describe a period of many political, economic and social changes when Americans cast aside old social conventions in favor of new ideas, embracing the rapid cultural changes of modernism and flamboyant lifestyles. Jazz music typified the nonconformist aspirations of youth that dominated the shocking new fashions and lifestyles. It was an era of hedonism and political corruption fueled by prohibition with its bootleggers, gangsters and speakeasies. The 1920s also witnessed nativism in America and the resurgence of the Klu Klux Klan.

Synergy: Power Couples Who Have Made History

Synergy is defined as the interaction of two or more agents whose combined effect is greater than the sum of their parts. Power couples (married or not) perfectly demonstrate the power of synergy. Each man or woman is successful, accomplished, famous (or infamous) in his or her own right. The unexpected pairing of the partners produces something unique and unexpected, so remarkable that the two names are always spoken together. Think of synergy in politics, Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt and Juan & Eva Peron; in movies, Bogart & Bacall; in literature, Macbeth & Lady Macbeth; in crime, Bonnie & Clyde; in history, John & Abigail Adams; in science, Masters & Johnson; in art, Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera; in philosophy, Jean Paul Sartre & Simone de Beauvoir.

Wednesday 1:15 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.

Independent People

Nobel Prize winner Halldor Laxness's novel is an Icelandic story filled with satire, humor, pathos, cold weather and sheep. Laxness is merciless in pillorying the hypocrisy of the upper classes.
ISBN: 978-0679767923


Pico, Alvarado and Sepulveda are street names familiar to all of us. These streets were named for "Californios," the region's leaders from 1769 until cession to the US in 1848. We will study the architecture, literature, social life, entertainment, government, ranchos, ethnicities, women, the mission system and much more.

Thursday 9:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Asian Religions

According to some estimates, there are an amazing 4,200 religions in the world. Asia is the birthplace of many of those religions including Buddhism, Confucianism, Jainism, Shintoism, Taoism, Sikhism, Zoroastrianism, Bahai and Sinism. Each participant in this group will select a religion and share information about its history, principles, practices, adherents and countries where it is practiced.

Thought Provoking Art and Artists

Participants will select thought provoking artists or schools of art from different societies. We will explore the way they see the world and its socio/political environment. You can also look at artists from other disciplines such as music. Examples are Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Bruegel (Flemish religion and society); Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera (Mexican women and pain, roots of society); Rene Magritte (Belgian imagination); M. C. Escher (Dutch mathematical art); Vincent Van Gogh (Dutch social and mental issues); George Grosz (German political); Pawel Kuczynski (Polish political and social); Marc Chagall (Russian memories); Archibald Motley (U.S. depiction of black music and dance); Kara Walker (U.S. slavery); Jacob Lawrence (U.S. migration of blacks); Degenerate Art Exhibition (Germany under Nazi rule); Street murals (Mission District in SF) etc.

Thursday 1:15 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.

Visionary Architects

Who are the architects whose work has solved structural impasses or has represented advances in design or has so perfectly framed their eras in such a way that they've inspired countless other architects, clients, and viewers then and since? A few who come to mind are Filippo Brunelleschi, Andrea Palladio, Sir Christopher Wren, Antoni Gaudí or closer to home: Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Neutra, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Julia Morgan, Jos¸ Rafael Moneo, Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown, Frank Gehry and Santiago. Let's explore their work, its significance and relationship to time and place.

Greatest Explorers & Exploration

An explorer is defined as "one who investigates unknown regions." Great explorers are the reason that we know, more or less, what lies in every corner of the globe and a great deal about what lies beneath the sea and in outer space. Experiences of the great explorers are the stuff that dreams are made of -- and sometimes, nightmares, their courage, willingness to challenge accepted knowledge and to risk everything has made possible the spread of knowledge about our world, the migration of peoples and the development of economic pathways. In this study group we will be delving deeper into the people who took these journeys, why they took them, exploring the myths and uncertainties around them and discussing the positive and negative effects they left behind. Some examples are Neil Armstrong, Vasco de Gama, Hernan Cortes, Jacques Cousteau, Ibn Battuta and Leif Ericson.


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