Fall Course Offerings

Welcome to the Fall session of Senior College at Belfast which begins Thursday, September 21. Classes run for six consecutive Thursdays, ending October 26. All our classes will be offered at the Hutchinson Center on Route 3 in Belfast. Please register early for the classes you would like to take to avoid disappointment, and be sure to order your text(s) or materials at least two weeks in advance. Please note that you are now responsible for purchasing the text(s) if required for your course.

The fee is $35 for each six week course, and $30 for each special one or two day class. You must be a member of a Maine Senior College to take a course. The membership year runs from Aug. 1 to July 31, so last year’s membership is expired and the membership fee is required. Take a look at all the classes, and after you’ve decided on the ones you are interested in, fill out our quick and easy registration form. No login necessary.

Morning Classes

Chaucer’s Tales

Instructor: Juliet Baker

  • Thursday Morning
  • 9:30 – 11:30 AM
  • Text Required *

Rereading Geoffrey Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales” and sharing them with you is something I am eager to do. Considering western traditions of both narrative and poetic literature, I see Chaucer’s writing as a kind of fulcrum among the Greeks, the Hebrews, and the Old English, one which propels us on to Shakespeare, the Renaissance, and certainly the novel. Chaucer’s characters and their stories touch upon all aspects of medieval English life— from the Knight to the Miller, the Wife of Bath to the Prioresss, and the Monk to the Summoner. They also are beautifully written. Chaucer’s Tales can’t fail to entertain us with their faithfully drawn characters, tight and suspenseful structures, their bits of epic, of courtly love, of tragedy, along with some raucous comedy. In this course, we will read Chaucer’s Prologue and five of his characters’ stories. We’ll quickly find that Chaucer’s stories are also our stories!

*Required Text

The essential text we will use is the Norton Critical Edition of Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales,” ed. V.A. Kolve and Glending Olson. 2nd Edition, Norton, 2005. ISBN0-393-92587-0 (pbk). Around $16. Left Bank Books will have copies; it’s also available at Amazon with plenty of used copies which are in fine shape. Norton’s is an excellent text, published in Middle English with clear line-by-line glosses along with plentiful critical, scholarly, and biographical essays. Chaucer’s Middle English is much easier than that some of us experienced with the Pearl Poet! But here, once again, the stories are amazing. It’s important that you have your copy in hand for the first class.

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Intermediate Conversational French: Part VII

Instructor: Lila Nation

  • Thursday Morning
  • 9:30 – 11:30 AM
  • Text Required *
  • Prerequisite: 3 years of high school French or equivalent
  • Class size limited to 15

Many members of this class will have been working together for the past three years; however, don’t think that you need to have participated to jump in! If you feel you have a solid foundation in basic French grammar and a strong desire to strengthen your speaking skills, you will find this course fun and rewarding. We constantly review spoken verb tenses and grammatical concepts, as well as common expressions and idioms, and are continuously building vocabulary and creating personalized conversations.

Prerequisite: 3 years of high school French or equivalent

*Required text: “French All-in-One for Dummies,” ISBN: 8-1-118-22815-9, $34.99 (We will be using this text for the next two semesters at least.) Available on line or at Left Bank Books.

Recommended: “Quick Study Academic: French Grammar,” ISBN: 13-9780157222528-2. Available through Left Bank Books, Belfast, $6.95

Class size limited to 15

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Mainescapes: The Inside Scoop on the Outside Stuff

Instructor: Mike Shannon

  • Thursday Morning
  • 9:30 – 11:30 AM
  • Indoor and Outdoor class

IF EVER A SEASON COMMANDED ATTENTION, AUTUMN IS IT! This class is about both the beauty and the challenges of the fall season. When much of today’s reality is focused on living with technology, it is up to us to engage in a meaningful dialogue with the places where we live. The wildness of mid-coast Maine will be our home ground. Its possibilities will surprise and delight us! We will learn to identify common species, sharpen our observational skills, and arouse our kinship with all life. No text required.

Each class will involve a little bit of walking around the Hutchinson Center campus to view and discuss some of the natural surroundings.

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Introduction to Genealogy

Instructor: Rick Davis

  • Thursday Morning
  • 9:30 – 11:30 AM

Are you related to someone famous? Are you curious about who your ancestors were and where they came from? Would you like to verify or disprove a family story about an ancestor? This class will help you get a start on answering these and other questions about your roots. It is meant for beginners and will focus on research in the U.S., especially New England, using readily available online and printed sources. No text required.

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Elizabeth II, Prince Phillip, and the House of Windsor

Instructor: Peter Reilly

  • Thursday Morning
  • 9:30 – 11:30 AM

This course will not only cover the life and family of the current Queen, but also look in to all that makes up the British Monarchy — its history, traditions, relevance, and impact on British life. Planning a small wedding, or perhaps a casual dinner party? This may not be the course you need! No text required.

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Expanding Our Drawing Skills

Instructor: Sandi Cirillo

  • Thursday Morning
  • 9:30 – 11:30 AM
  • Class size limited to 14
  • $5 materials fee collected on first day of class
  • Class is full, registration closed

Through exercises assigned in class, homework and weekly critiques, students will continue to explore their inner selves to gain confidence and clarity in their drawing skills. Students can work in their own areas of interest, with guidance from the instructor, and will be expected to create several finished drawings by the end of this class. This call is open to all skill levels from beginner to advanced. Remember we all learn from each other. Students may also bring their own materials. We will do most of our work in black and white but can add a bit of color here and there if desired.

A materials fee of $5.00 will be collected at the first class for necessary additional drawing supplies.

Class size limited to 14

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Evolution of the American Palate: 1900 to the Future

Instructor: Harry Kaiserian

  • Thursday Morning
  • 9:30 – 11:30 AM
  • Text Required *

Just what is wrong with Wonder Bread? When did Pizza Hut become a “bistro” and McDonalds a “café”? Molecular Gastronomy? What’s that? Do people really eat Spam? Our text for this course, “The United States of Arugula,” tells the marvelous story of how we have changed our eating habits since the 1900s. How did technology, globalization and “the contributions of some outsized, opinionated iconoclasts who couldn’t abide the status quo” all come together to evolve into the wonderful and eclectic cuisine of America in the 21st Century? If we keep on the present course, where do we go from here? Harry will enrich the reading of the book with videos, handouts and stories from the world of American cuisine—in other words, he’ll “super-size” it for us.

*Required text: “The United States of Arugula,” ISBN: 0767915798 on Amazon from $4.50 (paperback, used)

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The Past, Present, and Future of Human Rights in International Relations

Instructor: Bob Rackmales

  • Thursday Morning
  • 9:30 – 11:30 AM

The time frame for this course runs from opening of the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal on November 20, 1945, to its 75th anniversary in 2020. It was first at Nuremberg that legal concepts such as “crimes against humanity” and “genocide” became incorporated into international law. Nuremberg was followed by a long series of international treaties covering such matters as torture, protection of civilians in wartime, economic and political rights, rights of children, refugees and many others. This was accompanied by rapid growth in the number and membership of non-governmental organizations around the world monitoring governments’ performances in these areas, such as Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch.

But the growth of a legal framework for incorporating human rights into international relations has not been universally welcomed. The recent strengthening in some countries of opposition to the liberal world order which promoted the expansion of human rights has raised questions about their future. The course will address those questions by considering both the accomplishments and the failings of existing human rights mechanisms. No text required.

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Afternoon Classes

Capturing Your Family Stories

Instructor: Melinda Regnell

  • Thursday Afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 PM

Oral family histories used to be passed down to future generations by “elders” at family gatherings. But today, many families are spread all over the State, the Country or even the World — and all those funny, sad, and inspiring memories can no longer be shared in person. In this course, you will learn how easy it is to capture your stories, pictures, and memories in print (both hard copy and online) to ensure your extended family shares them for generations to come. Learn how to organize and design your stories, write them up using WORD, capture your old photos and then include them in your documents, and finally publish it all in hard copy or online formats. Learn how to share those precious, one-of-a-kind memories before it is too late. No text required.

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African-American Experience through Literature

Instructor: Wendy C. Kasten

  • Thursday Afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 PM
  • Text Required *

Responding to requests for courses on diversity, this course is the first in a series of exploring African-American history and culture during slavery and following emancipation primarily through two award-winning novels “Copper Sun” by Sharon Draper, and “The Land” by Mildred Taylor, plus a variety of other print and online resources which will be read together during the course. Future courses in the series, although all can stand alone, will include the African-American Experience in the 20th Century, Native American Experiences through Literature, and other ethnic/cultural groups, as requested.

*Required texts: “Copper Sun,” by Sharon Draper, ISBN 13978-0-689-82181, 2006 ed. (also available in paperback); “The Land,” by Mildred Taylor, ISBN 0-8037-1950-7, Penquin Press ed.

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Beginning Conversational French: Starting Over!

Instructor: Lila Nation

  • Thursday Afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 PM
  • Class size limited to 15.
  • Class is full, registration closed

Starting over! In the past, I have used” Essential French” for this course. Even though it contains interesting and amusing dialogues and good explanations of grammatical points, it covers too much information too fast. This semester we will use only handouts, and progress at a much more moderate pace.” Essential French,” however, is available for $15.00 through bookstores and Amazon should you want a reference text. Beginning French will focus on basic French sentence structure, vocabulary, and building your confidence to continue speaking. No text required.

Class size limited to 15

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Creating with Collage

Instructor: Deborah Stevenson

  • Thursday Afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 PM

The art form of collage goes back one hundred years, beginning with Picasso, adopted by surrealists, employed by mid-century modernist painters, becoming a staple in popular culture across all mediums. It has grown in popularity over the decades as a truly unique form of expression. People use it for personal reflection as a sort of a visual journal; they use it to make political statements; they use it to create comical images…there is no limit to the things that people can say in collage. We also talk about the incredibly robust life collage has on the internet and learn about different sites to explore and join for sharing with others around the world.

This class is a great way to explore this we learn about the various techniques and styles by doing many different exercises to make our own collages. Creating pieces takes us into the territory of art basics. These include composition, texture, positive/negative space, abstraction, color theory and working strictly in black and white, just to name a few. We also learn tricks and techniques for cutting and ways to use the paper inventively. Collage has a collaborative side as well, and we have fun doing what was called “Exquisite Corpse” collage, where we begin a piece, pass it on, and add to ones we receive from other class members—the results from this process are pretty amazing. We take time to look at and share our thoughts about each others’ work in a supportive, non-judgmental atmosphere. All you need is a good pair of scissors and a glue stick. There will be printed material such as magazines on hand, and you are invited to bring your own as well.

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Children of Abraham: Islam, Judaism, and Christianity

Instructor: Rev. Arlin T. Larson

  • Thursday Afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 PM
  • Text Required *

In addition to their prominence in current world affairs, the three Abrahamic religions are the most prominent in the United States. The three form a natural triad in virtue of their monotheistic character, origins in the Middle East, and claim to a common founder (Abraham). Immigration and the emergence of African-American Islam have combined with geo-politics to make understanding of these religions essential. They also hold in common an ambivalent attitude toward the others, territorial rivalries, and important impacts on Western culture. The course will note similarities and differences, sketch relevant histories, and lay out basic beliefs. Conflicting claims to be Abraham’s true successors will provide a focal point. Students will be encouraged to read in their foundational documents: New Testament, Tanach (Hebrew Scriptures), and Qur’an.

*Required text: “Qur’an,” Oxford Univ. Press, available on Amazon for $5.34 (paperback)

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Music in the Movies: The History of Musicals

Instructor: Neal Harkness

  • Thursday Afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 PM

As soon as movies could talk, they sang. The Musical, as a distinct form of cinema has a long and storied history, beginning in the 1930s and continuing until the present day. From Fred Astaire to Frozen, we will explore the full range of song and dance on film. We will learn about the great directors, stars, composers and musicians who have made the Movie Musical one of the most enduring genres in cinema. No text required.

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Intelligence Wars at Home and Abroad

Instructor: Dick Topping

  • Thursday Afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 PM

Charges of Russian interference in the 2016 Election have focused attention once again on secret intelligence and covert action — who engages in such operations, who issues their marching orders, and who oversees their implementation? The past 70 years have produced some shadowy successes, ghastly failures, and, more often, uncertainties and/or heated controversies over specific programs. Hopefully, a review of that record will provide some context for assessing the troublesome events of the past year or so, and for evaluating the true significance of the scandal rocking the U.S. Capitol today. No text required.

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One-Day Classes

How Money Works

Instructor: Robert Stallworth

  • Monday, October 2, 2017
  • 9:30 am to 3:00 pm
  • Bring a bag lunch

Do you know how to take care of your money? Do you have a financial plan? Since you never know how long you might live, it is very important that you have some understanding of how your money works when you invest it. This one-day course will examine the risks you take when investing your money, provide a clear explanation of annuities, and how both annuities and life insurance can be misused. It will give you a much deeper comprehension of mutual funds and managed accounts, and walk you through the pros and cons of products available to seniors. No text required.

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Special Two-Day Class

Introduction to Figure Drawing

Instructor: Sandi Cirillo

  • Tuesday October 17, 2017 –  9:30 am to 3:00 pm
  • Wednesday October 18, 2017 – 9:30 am to 3:00 pm
  • Bring a bag lunch
  • Class size is limited to 12 students
  • $12 modeling fee payable first day of class

In this two-day class, we will be exploring how to draw the human figure in various poses. The first day will be spent learning how to draw the figure using various drawing techniques like gesture drawing, contour line drawing, and anatomical drawing. On the second day, we will have a live nude model to draw from and we’ll practice making short, quick drawings as the model poses for longer periods of time. If there is enough interest in this two-day class, a longer, more extensive six-week figure drawing class may be developed for the spring semester.

This class is open to anyone who wishes to learn more about drawing the human figure. Please bring your own art supplies to this class. Each student will be assessed a $12.00 fee to cover the cost of the model, and will be payable to the instructor on the first day of class. There must be a minimum of ten students for this class to be offered.

Class size limited to 12

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