Winterim Course Offerings

Welcome to the Winterim session of Belfast Senior College which begins Thursday, January 18. Classes run for four consecutive Thursdays, ending February 8. 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) or materials if required for your course.

The fee for all Winterim classes is $30. You must be a member of a Maine Senior College to take a course, so please renew your membership if you have not already done so. The membership year runs from Aug. 1 to July 31. 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

Gospel Sing and Shout!

Instructor: Lila Nation

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

Have you ever wanted to just belt out a gospel song when listening to it? This is your chance! It makes no difference your religious affiliation or lack thereof; it makes no difference your ethnic background; it makes no difference if you can read music or not. All that matters is that you really want to sing and shout some favorite gospel songs (and perhaps one or two new ones), clap your hands, stomp your feet, and have a great time with other “soul” mates.

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Silent House by Orhan Pamuk

Instructor: Arlin Larson

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

Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk was the 2006 Nobel Laureate for literature. His novels illustrate the complicated lives of late twentieth century Turks as they navigated the treacherous waters of modernization, Islamization, civil wars, and the vast changes ushered in by the collapse of the Ottoman empire. Equally as important are the characters’ personal lives, motivated by quixotic quests, sexual desire, greed, and copious amounts of the Turkish national drink, raki. The “silent house” is the home of Fatma, the widowed matriarch of an upper middle-class family exiled from Istanbul because of her late husband’s political views. He, Dr. Selahattin, had compounded the family misery by alienating the community he depended on for his income by attacking their religious faith. Also, his affair with his housekeeper resulted in illegitimate children; one of whom, Recep, he took in to become the loyal family servant. Events in Silent House unwind around a weekend in which three grandchildren, Faruk, Nilguen, and Metin, visit, bringing with them the situations facing the new generation. Each chapter is narrated by one of the main characters.

Since its first cities were built, Turkey has been a crossroad of civilizations. For the past couple of centuries, in the eyes of many it has offered the best hope of bridging the East-West divide. Recent events have called that progress into question. Silent House and other Pamuk novels immerse us deeply in the possibilities, dangers, and ambiguities of the new era.

Required text: Silent House by Orhan Pamuk. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Kindle Edition, $10.92 at Amazon.

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When MBNA Came to Belfast and Maine and Changed Everything

Instructor: Mike Hurley

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

More than twenty years ago a dinner conversation in Camden led CEO Charles Cawley to place a branch of his fast-growing credit card corporation, MBNA, in Camden. Within a short few years, there were over 5,000 employees all over Maine with the great majority in the Belfast and Camden area. An enormous economic dynamo, MBNA transformed the area pay scale, expectations, and opportunities, and revolutionizing local real estate, the arts, and support services, as well as having a positive effect on education and non-profits of every stripe. The class will learn about the arrival of MBNA, Charles Cawley, the growth in the mid-coast area, its effects on public and private entities and the economy, and MBNA’s powerful impact on the employment market. The class will host numerous “in the know” guest speakers, and will learn and feel the dramatic events that occurred as MBNA arrived in Belfast and the area.

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Branding: Its Impact on Politics, Business, and Careers

Instructor: Elaine S. Potoker

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

“If you don’t brand yourself, you can be sure that someone else will do it for you.” (source unknown)

How much are you influenced by “branding” and “brands”? Your reply: “Not me, I’m not influenced that much….” Well, maybe a little,” says he/she. Well, let’s just see. Think further. Consider the choices you make, have made, will make, or have been made for you as consumers, or in the political arena, and by decisions that have affected your career paths.

In this course you will focus on the Art of the Brand and Branding. You’ll delight and/or experience other perhaps more visceral emotions (we hope) as we uncover what gurus say and continue to say about the subject of branding. We’ll explore through real world examples how branding affects you in many ways that you may not ever have considered. Plan on lots of discussion and interaction.

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20th Century Sculptors: A Personal Selection

Instructor: Stephen Porter

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

This class is a survey of a personal selection of 20th century sculptors including, among many others, Constantin Brancusi, David Smith, and Donald Judd, covering their work and importance in the development of the history of modern sculpture.

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Julius Caesar: The Continued Relevancy of Shakespeare

Instructor: Nick Turner

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

An interactive and engaging look at Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, and how it’s drama and themes are timeless, culminating in a viewing of the play. (There will be a National Theater Live broadcast of Julius Caesar on Thursday, 2:00, March 22 at the Grand in Ellsworth and will be free to students, if they choose to attend.)

Required text: Any edition of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar is fine for this course as long as it is the full version. It is NOT required, but if you do not have a copy and want one, some are available at the Folger Library, and there is even a free Kindle version online.

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Everything You Wanted to Know About Wills, Trusts, and Probate

Instructor: Randy Mailloux

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

Everyone likes to think that their affairs are in order, but how sure are you that you have charted a sensible plan? In this eminently practical course on estate planning, we will look at the history of the general probate process, including protecting persons (guardianships and conservatorships), wills, and trusts. We will also explore a variety of strategies for making sure your wishes are carried out without burdening your survivors.

We will open with a quick review of the history of the probate process, specifically wills and trusts, and then move into an explanation of just what wills and trusts are, what they can accomplish, and how they are disputed. We will discuss specific types of trusts and explain their purpose and possible uses, such as for Medicaid planning, general estate disposition, and special needs. We will also consider the various ancillary documents that are essential to a proper estate plan, including advanced health-care directives, powers of attorney, and personal property disposition memoranda.

The ultimate goal of the class is to give participants a thorough background in the above areas so they can better prepare their personal estate plan and deal with the probate court should it ever become necessary. Remember, it is not if… but when…

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Try Something New in Knitting

Instructor: Judy Beebe

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

Let’s go get a pattern for something new–maybe with a challenging idea–and purchase the yarn and needles that will really make it special. Bring everything to class and we will all work away, ask questions, and share what we are doing. This could be a time to learn some new twists and, of course, chat. That is what knitters do!

Required materials: Yarn, needles, and your pattern!

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Afternoon Classes

Mythology and History of Octopuses

Instructor: Howard Torrey

  • Thursday Afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 pm
  • Text Required

We will survey the mythology of the octopus from ancient Greece to the present, and some fascinating anecdotal accounts of human interaction with octopuses. We will then discuss recent scientific accounts of the amazing intelligence and behavior of the creature. The text for the course will be The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness by Sy Montgomery. The subtitle offers a good indication of our subject matter.

Required text: The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness by Sy Montgomery, $16.00, copyright 2015 (should be in print)

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Watercolor Painting

Instructor: Lynnette Sproch

  • Thursday Afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 pm
  • Materials fee

Don’t let the idea of watercolor painting scare you. Watercolor has always had a bad reputation for being a difficult medium in which to work, but I love to teach students that within every “mistake,” there is a beautiful solution. Color is the essence of art, and it is easily taught with watercolor. With some simple techniques and a bit of color concepts, I can assist you into the magical world of pigment and paper while having fun and creating beauty!

Required materials: $20.00 to be reimbursed to the instructor the first day of class.

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Human Impacts on the Ocean

Instructor: Larry Mayer

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

Humans have strongly affected the ocean on both local and at global scales. We review these effects in various parts of the ocean, emphasizing how we can separate human from pre-human activity. Specific topics will include the effects of getting food from the sea, getting energy and stuff out of, or into, the ocean, changing living communities by immigration or habitat, changing climate, acidifying seawater, changing the shape of coastlines, and more.

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Spearing Sturgeon by Torchlight: Finding Home Where We Live

Instructor: Cloe Chunn

  • Thursday Afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 pm
  • Class size limited to 25

What does it mean to really belong to a place, a community, a landscape? Much of our “modern life” is lived apart from the natural world and its beings, human and nonhuman. The process of finding home has been characterized as rewilding ourselves, decolonizing ourselves, becoming indigenous, becoming native, discovering our roots, becoming whole, developing a sense of place, reconnection and recovery. In our time together, we will go more deeply into our love of place through meeting and greeting our “elders,” getting to “know the people at the party,” walks outside, sit spots, short readings, discussions, and other practices aimed at living in our landscape dearly and closely, and knowing that we belong.

Class size limited to 25

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Music in the Movies, Part III: Documentaries

Instructor: Neal Harkness

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

In the third part of our look at music in the movies, we will survey the best music documentaries. Much of our knowledge of music history comes from the record preserved by non-fiction filmmakers. Concert films, biographies of great musicians, and histories of musical trends and movements will all be examined. We will watch clips from the great documentaries to illustrate both the importance of their subject matter and the relevance of the films themselves in cinema history.

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Mathematics: The Study of Patterns

Instructor: Patrick Lorenz

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

Mathematics is the science of patterns, says Keith Devlin, a highly respected mathematician and well-known popularizer of math. The idea that math is just the study of numbers and their practical use is about 2,500 years out of date. The alternative viewpoint that mathematics is too esoteric or abstract, irrelevant to our understanding of ourselves and our surroundings, is equally incorrect. To quote from Devlin’s work, Mathematics — The Science of Patterns, “Mathematicians now view their work as the study of patterns, real or imagined, visual or mental, arising from the natural world or from within the human mind.” This four-week course will explore mathematics as the search for order, and how its basic principles can be understood without a detailed working knowledge of its language, in much the same way as music can be appreciated by those unable to read a single note. Please join us for a great time, and bring some of your own notions for us to explore!

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Photography: Thinking Visually with a Camera

Instructor: Jim Kosinski

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

This upbeat course will ignite your enthusiasm for and enjoyment of photography! The workshop is dedicated to exploring and generating visual ideas and creating images with them. Each session begins with a lively presentation and discussion of photographic themes and ends with a hands-on photo session to put new concepts to work. There are no special skills required; the creative exercises allow everyone to contribute and develop their imaginations.

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Jump Start Your Writing for the New Year

Instructor: Linda Buckmaster

  • Thursday Afternoon
  • 1:00 – 3:00 pm
  • 3 week course
  • Required reading

This three-week course will be influenced by multiple approaches to teaching and inspiring writers. Writing prompts and exercises will get students going, and we will look at the work of published authors for inspiration and examples of craft. We will focus on the process of writing as well as the product. You will get a start on material you may want to develop beyond the class. N.B. This is a three-week course ending February 1.

Required readings: Various handouts

Suggested readings:

  • Reading Like a Writer. A Guide for People Who Love Books and For Those Who Want to Write
  • Them by Francine Prose, Harper Perennial
  • Lu Chi’s, The Art of Writing, translated by Sam Hamill, Milkweed Editions
  • One Continuous Mistake: Four Noble Truths for Writers by Gail Sher, Penguin Compass
  • Ron Carlson Writes a Story: From the first glimmer of an idea to final sentence by Ron Carlson. Graywolf Press
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One-Day Classes

Henna: Its Origins, Uses, and Meanings

Instructor: Saadiya Boutote

  • Friday, Jan. 26, 9:30 – 3:00 p.m.
  • 9:30 am to 3:00 pm
  • Materials Fee

This course is a concise history of henna and its various cosmetic and artistic uses, followed by a practical application. The class will cover the origin of henna, and the medicinal and traditional uses of the plant. There will be preparation of the henna paste, and the practical application of henna on the hands.

Required materials: $20.00 henna kit to be reimbursed to the instructor the first day of class. The kit includes two pre-mixed organic henna cones, henna designs, and an after-care oil bottle.

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