Peer-led Classes (Omnilore)
OLLI’s Peer-led Program
Before registering in the peer-led program, an orientation session
The peer-led program of OLLI at CSUDH is known as Omnilore. The Study/Discussion Group is the core of the peer-led program. Within the group, each member participates by choosing a topic related to the subject under study, doing research on it and then presenting the information to the group. Some Study/Discussion Groups are structured around a book, which all members read and discuss as part of the meetings. All courses meet at the Franklin Center in Redondo Beach in either Room 7 or Room 8. Study/ Discussion groups meet for two hours twice each month, 8 meetings for a total of 16 hours. The exact time of each class is set by the participants.
Please note that the books listed for each course are only possible candidates. Do not buy
any until the pre-meeting and a decision on the common reading is made.
Classes start May 1st and end August 31st.
Holiday periods are adapted to by individual class voting.
OMNILORE TOPICS OFFERED FOR FALL 2012
Please note that the books listed for each course are only possible candidates.
Do not buy any until the pre-meeting and a decision on the common reading is made.
Classes start September 4th and end December 31st.
Holiday periods are adapted to by individual class voting.
(DIS) VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY: THE PANAMA CANAL
When the Panama Canal opened in 1914, it was a technological marvel and an important strategic and economic asset to the United States. It revolutionized world shipping patterns and removed the need to route ships via the Drake Passage and Cape Horn. The canal saves approximately 7,800 miles on a trip between New York and San Francisco. Transit time between the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean was reduced from weeks to hours. In his award winning book, author David McCullough introduces the events, challenges and personalities that are the history of the canal. He allows us the opportunity to discover underlying causes for what happened, the role national pride and ambition played in shaping critical events, and the unforeseen consequences of untarnished “progress.” Historical notables such as Ferdinand de Lesseps and Theodore Roosevelt are treated as real people caught up by forces beyond their control or even reckoning.
Common Reading: Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama
Canal 1870-1914 by David McCullough (1978)
1st & 3rd Wednesday, p.m. – Room 8
Coordinators: Chuck Gray & Mary Lou Busch
(EVL) THE SCIENCE OF EVIL
Borderline personality disorder, autism, narcissism, psychosis, Asperger’s: All of these syndromes have one thing in common--lack of empathy. In some cases, this absence can be dangerous, but in others it can simply mean a different way of seeing the world. This S/DG will review the research behind some of these diseases to understand if there is “true evil” in the world and how can we understand human cruelty. Are there social and environmental factors that can influence the lack of natural empathy? Conversely, can social and environmental facts erode empathy to create evil?
The author is an award-winning British researcher who has investigated psychology and autism for decades. In this book, he develops a new brainbased theory of human cruelty.
Common reading: The Science of Evil: On Empathy and the Origins of
Cruelty by Simon Baron-Cohen (March 2011)
EV1: 1st & 3rd Thursday, a.m. – Room 8
Coordinators: Marilyn Brashear & Barbara Case
EV2: 1st & 3rd Friday, p.m. – Room 7
Coordinators: Jon Heise & Carol Johnson
(ISV) ISLAND OF VICE
This is the story of how Theodore Roosevelt took on Manhattan vice . . . and vice won.
In Island of Vice, Richard Zacks paints a vivid portrait of the lewd underbelly of 1890s New York, and of Theodore Roosevelt, the puritanical,cocksure police commissioner resolved to clean it up. Writing with great wit and zest, Zacks explores how young Roosevelt goes head to head with Tammany Hall, takes midnight rambles with muckraker Jacob Riis, and tries to convince two million New Yorkers to enjoy wholesome family fun. When Roosevelt’s crackdown succeeds too well, even his supporters turn on him, and TR discovers that New York loves its sin more than its salvation.
Common Reading: Island of Vice: Theodore Roosevelt’s Doomed Quest to
Clean Up Sin-Loving New York, by Richard Zacks (March 2012)
1st & 3rd Thursday, p.m. – Room 7
Coordinators: Laura Guneau & Carol Wingate
(KOR) TWO KOREAS – THE STORIED PAST AND
Mysterious North Korea is a repressive, totalitarian regime—an Orwellian, starving nation, cut off from the Internet, where displays of affection are punished, informants are rewarded, and an offhand remark can mean a lifetime term in the gulag.
South Korea, a modern democracy, is home to companies like Samsung & Hyundai. In 1953 the world’s poorest nation, South Korea now claims the world’s 15th largest economy. It expects in 2012 to provide every household with an internet connection 200 times the speed of that in the US. A cosmopolitan nation, host to the 1988 Olympics, South Korea boasts a 97% high school graduation rate and all students learn English. Intrigued? Come delve into Korea’s modern history and its culture(s); discuss the Korean War, North Korea’s recent rocket launch, and what it all means for our world.
2nd & 4th Thursday, p.m. – Room 8
Coordinators: Dick Johnson & Ralph Brown
(MED) HOW TECHNOLOGY IS CHANGING MEDICINE
The rise of technological breakthroughs, particularly digital and wireless technology is revolutionizing the medical profession. Experts agree - we are entering a new age of medicine, one that will be more efficient and more participative. Some examples: Low cost hardware and software that monitors a patient’s condition, images the heart, warns of impending heart attacks; telehealth software that serves as a monitoring nurse for difficult to manage chronic illnesses such as diabetes; wheelchairs operated by reading electrical brainwaves. The promise of ‘individualized medicine based on genomics, is getting closer.
We will explore how technology has changed diagnosis, surgery, medicines, and services to the disabled, record keeping, patient-doctor contact, health care costs and many other aspects of medicine. We will discuss what the human experience will be and how we can prepare ourselves for the moral and ethical challenges that these awesome changes will bring.
Common Reading: The Creative Destruction of Medicine by Eric Topol, MD
(Basic Books, 2012)
2nd & 4th Wednesday, p.m. – Room 7
Coordinators: Rich Mansfield & Catherine Gallipeau
(MTW) THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MARK TWAIN
This first complete and unexpurgated autobiography is a major literary event that brings to readers, admirers, and scholars the first of three volumes. It presents Mark Twain’s authentic and unsuppressed voice - brimming with humor, ideas, and opinions, and speaking clearly from the grave as he intended at the 100th anniversary of his death. We will research, reflect upon and discuss: reminiscences from his youth of landscapes, rural idylls, and Tom Sawyeresque mockery; acid-etched profiles of friends and enemies; his searing polemic on a 1906 American massacre of Filipino insurgents; a hilarious screed against a hapless editor who dared tweak his prose; the countless tales of the author’s own bamboozlement, unto bankruptcy, by publishers, business partners, doctors, and miscellaneous moochers; and, his vision of America - as half paradise and as half swindle.
Common Reading: Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 1, by Mark Twain
(Un. of California Press; November 2010; 760 pages)
2nd & 4th Monday, p.m. – Room 7
Coordinators: John Doyle & Elaine Vandermay
(MUS) MUSICAL MOVIES AND AMERICAN CULTURE
An exploration of American culture and values as depicted in the musical movie. Americans have always been in love with musicals. Some reveal enduring American values and some reveal snapshots of our society at a particular time; all appeal to the masses. If you are interested in enjoying the great music and songs of popular musicals and in discussing what has made America America, then this group would be for you. Each participant would choose a musical movie for each of us to watch at home. He or she would then prepare a presentation about the movie and prepare discussion questions regarding the movie and how it depicts American culture or values. Some possibilities for musical movies are: Sister Act, Oklahoma, Dream Girls, Pocahantas, Chicago, 1776, Grease, Hairspray, South Pacific, and many, many more.
No Common Reading.
MU1: 1st & 3rd Thursday, a.m. – Room 7
Coordinators: Cheri Davis & Ginny Schmeichel
MU2: 1st & 3rd Wednesday, p.m. – Room 7
Coordinators: Teresa Yu & Leila Jennings
(PAR) AMERICANS IN 19TH CENTURY PARIS
This class will discuss the Americans who went to Paris in the 19th century to acquire the finest training in the fine arts, writing, and medicine. It will describe the diplomats who witnessed the abdication of King Louis Philippe, the Revolution of 1848, the Franco-Prussian War and the Paris Commune. It will include the Paris Exhibitions, the great inventions of the 19th century and the circuses Americans introduced to the French. Presentations will cover a wide variety of topics and the men and women who played so great a part. The quality of the text and the variety of possible presentations should make this an interesting class.
Common Reading: The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris, by David
McCullough (May 15, 2012)
PA1: 2nd & 4th Tuesday, a.m. – Room 8
Coordinators: Sharon Siegelman & Tom Vincent
PA2: 2nd & 4th Wednesday, a.m. – Room 7
Coordinators: Carol Simone & Jean de Angelis
(POL) WINNER TAKE ALL POLITICS
In his 2002 book, Wealth and Democracy, Kevin Phillips wrote, “The debate over the compatibility of wealth and democracy is as old as our republic. DeTocqueville, in 1837, hedged his praise for democracy in America with concern that the new industrial elite, ‘one of the harshest that ever existed’, would bring about ‘permanent inequality of conditions and aristocracy.’”
Last year, the Occupy Wall Street protests focused attention on the increase in income inequality in the United States. In our common reading, political scientists Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson maintain that these developments, driven by politics, have been harmful to the middle class – and to the country as a whole. Others assert that income inequality is actually good for the country and ought to be encouraged. In this S/DG, we’ll continue this debate.
Common Reading: Winner Take All Politics; How Washington made the Rich
Richer and Turned its Back on the Middle Class, by Jacob Hacker and Paul
Pierson (March 2011)
2nd & 4th Friday, p.m. – Room 7
Coordinators: Carol Lopilato & Ruth Hart
(PPP) WHY NATIONS FAIL: THE ORIGINS OF POWER,
PROSPERITY, AND POVERTY
We continue to see and read about poor countries in the world. We send money and clothing to various causes. In some cases we volunteer our time and efforts in helping people in these countries. Yet the solution ultimately seems to frustrate us. This course will challenge your views on why some countries are poor and some are rich. The two economists, Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson, focus on a single question: Why are poor places poor, and is there something we can do about it? This is one of the most important questions imaginable in economics—indeed, in the world today. Acemoglu and Robinson have assembled what is, in effect, a gigantic, super-complete database of every country’s history, and used it to ask questions—wicked smart questions. They found unexpected answers—ones that may not satisfy partisans of either side, but have the ring of truth.
Common Reading: Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson (March 2012)
PP1: 2nd & 4th Friday, a.m. – Room 7
Coordinators: Lori Geittmann & Sunny Moss
PP2: 2nd & 4th Tuesday, p.m. – Room 7
Coordinators: Dennis Goodno & Linda Jenson
(REV) THE REVOLUTIONARY GENERATION
The class will examine the generation responsible for combining the ideals of the 1776 Declaration of Independence with the 1787 Philadelphia Constitutional Congress to create the practical workings of our government. We will study what distinguished the American Revolution from most others, the selection of Washington D.C. as the nation’s capital, slavery and how the beliefs, personalities, and strengths of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Ben Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John and Abigail Adams influenced the development of our national identity. Potential Study/Discussion Group topics include the principals’ lives, contributions, legacy and other early influences in formation of our government.
Common Reading: Pulitzer Prize Winner Founding Brothers: The
Revolutionary Generation, by Joseph J Ellis (2002)
2nd & 4th Tuesday, a.m. – Room 7
Coordinators: Jim Slattery & Joy Ambrosetti
(SCE) THE SOCIAL CONQUEST OF EARTH
This course will look at trying to understand the human condition. The three fundamental questions raised in Wilson’s latest book: ‘Where Did We Come From?,’ ‘What Are We?’ and ‘Where Are We Going?’ Wilson’s work challenges one of the central tenets of evolution - that natural selection acts far more strongly on individuals and genetic relatives than on broader social groups. He also demonstrates that religion, philosophy, and introspection alone can never sufficiently answer such queries. His book also reverses his prior view that the evolution of altruism was driven by kin selection rather than group selection. As cooperative colonies dominate non-cooperative ones and multiply, so do their alleged ‘altruism’ genes, he contends that the competition of one group against others favors self-sacrificial behaviors in individuals that benefit the group - even those that aren’t related.
Common Reading: The Social Conquest of Earth, by Edward O. Wilson
1st & 3rd Monday, p.m. – Room 7
Coordinators: Rick Spillane & Bill Gargaro
(SHK) SHAKESPEARE: ALL THE WORLD’S A STAGE …
With players standing and with a few props, we will do reading walkthroughs of two Comedies (Cymbeline & The Two Noble Kinsmen) plus King Edward III.
Class members will learn how to research all perspectives of Shakespeare’s works — sources upon which the Bard builds rich characters and enhances the plots, how to play each character “in character,” themes, symbols, images, motifs, and commentary on issues of the day. Members will leave this class with a fuller understanding of the masterful story construction, realistic characters with depth and humanity, and the rich, evocative language which have earned William Shakespeare the title of greatest writer in the English language.
Common Reading: Selected Plays
2nd & 4th Thursday, p.m. – Room 7
Coordinator: Hal Hart
(TED) TED TALKS: IDEAS WORTH SPREADING
A click on www.ted.com will take you to an unusual and fascinating website – TED talks. TED is a small nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, and Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader, adding people from the worlds of Arts, Business, Culture, Science, and Global Issues. TED conferences bring together the some of the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes). These are, for the most part, riveting talks by remarkable people made available free to the world online. A presenter can click on ted.com, select a talk and do research on the subject and/or perhaps the speaker. This Study/Discussion Group is available to members who have access to a computer.
No Common Reading.
TE1: 2nd & 4th Thursday, a.m. – Room 8
Coordinators: Leslie Schettler & Cordelia Hwang
TE2: 1st & 3rd Tuesday, p.m. – Room 7
Coordinators: Catherine Gallipeau & Dan Stern
TE3: 1st & 3rd Monday, p.m. – Room 8
Coordinators: Zelda Green & Mary Gluck
(VIS) BINOCULAR VISION: AWARD-WINNING SHORT
Award winning author, Edith Pearlman, is one of our premiere storytellers. In this sumptuous collection of short stories she provides a feast for fiction aficionados. Spanning four decades and three prize-winning collections, these twenty-one vintage selected stories and thirteen scintillating new ones take us around the world, from Jerusalem to Central America, from tsarist Russia to London during the blitz, from central Europe to Manhattan, and from the Maine coast to Godolphin, Massachusetts, a fictional suburb of Boston. These charged locales, and the lives of the endlessly varied characters within them are evoked with tenderness and incisiveness found only by our most observant seers.
No matter what situation in which her characters find themselves, Edith Pearlman conveys their experience with wit and aplomb, with relentless but clear-eyed optimism, and with a supple prose that reminds us, sentence by sentence, page by page, of the gifts our greatest innovators can bestow.
Common Reading: Binocular Vision: New & Selected Stories, by Edith
Pearlman (January 2011)
VI1: 2nd & 4th Thursday, a.m. – Room 7
Coordinators: Judith Bayer & Anne Coniglio
VI2: 2nd & 4th Wednesday, p.m. – Room 8
Coordinators: Andrea Gargaro & Sally Downie
(WRI) THE WRITING MIND
This S/DG concentrates on fostering creativity and improving techniques of the writer through the production of original pieces of writing, literary critique and presentations by each group member.
Our interest is in writing original pieces of fiction, non-fiction, essays, poetry, etc. and supporting each other in discussion and critique of our work to improve our efforts. As members of Omnilore, we make presentations on literary topics and on the philosophy, subtleties or techniques of writing. Presentations on famous writers are to concentrate on influences on the writer, style and techniques used, not just on biography. Primary interest for presentations is on the craft of writing. We know that many Omniloreans are interested in family history and autobiography and we welcome them.
No Common Reading.
2nd & 4th Monday, p.m. – Room 8
Coordinators: Merle Culbert & Jean Custer