Lifelong Learning

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Tuesday Morning Study Groups

World War II at Sea: Submarines, Codes, Convoys, and Tin Cans
9 - 11 a.m.
Tuesdays, March 20, 27, April 3, 10, 17, 24, May 1, 8

The submarine wars conducted by Germany against the Allies and by the United States against the Axis, mainly Japan, are among the least well-known and most decisive actions of the war. The breaking of the German and Japanese naval codes were vital to these victories. The submariners of both Germany and the United States suffered the highest casualty rates of the military arms of those two nations. How did Germany come to lose the submarine war while the US won the submarine war against Japan?.

Conveners: Richard Dowen is NIU professor emeritus and former chair of the Department of Finance. He has convened many study groups for LLI including many involving his avocation of military history.

 

Frontiers of Science
9 - 11 a.m.
Tuesdays - March 20, 27, April 3, 10, 17, 24, May 1, 8

The conveners will host faculty from various scientific disciplines to present recent signigicant developments in those disciplines in a way that is accessible to non-scientist LLI participants.

Conveners: Jerrold and Carol Zar are longtime LLI members and conveners. Carol has a background in public administration while Jerry is a retired NIU biological sciences faculty member. 

 

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Tuesday Afternoon Study Group

Peril on the Sea
1:30 - 3:30 p.m.
Tuesdays, March 20, 27, April 3, 10, 17, 24, May 1, 8

Explore the nature of World War II at sea through the use of films. These films may include The Cruel Sea; Battle of the River Plate; Sink the Bismarck; Lifeboat; Run Silent, Run Deep; The Caine Mutiny; The Enemy Below; and Mister Roberts.

Convener: George Spencer is NIU professor emeritus and former chair of the Department of History. George has convened and co-convened for LLI for several years including, "Postwar America Through Film" and "The 1920s" with his wife Elaine.

 

The Greater Journey
1:30 - 3:30 p.m.
Tuesdays, March 20, 27, April 3, 10, 17, 24, May 1, 8

"Not all pioneers went west," writes David McCullough in the beginning pages of The Greater Journey. From the 1820s to 1900, generations of Americans made the pioneering journey across the Atlantic on a mission of learning and accomplishment in the intellectual, scientific, and artistic capital of the western world: Paris. Listen to video commentaries by McCullough, then read about and help the conveners explore the stories of generations of Americans whose struggles and discoveries in Paris set them on a path to high achievement.

Recommended reading: David McCullough, The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris. Simon & Schuster, 2011, ISBN# 978-1416571766.

Conveners: Paul Pawlowski and Sharon Tourville. Paul has convened many study groups for LLI, especially in the area of music. Sharon has served on the LLI Steering Committee since January 2008 and has co-convened study groups in the past. 

 

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Wednesday Morning Study Group

Reconsidering Disability
9:30 - 11:30 a.m.
Wednesdays, March 21, 28, April 4, 11, 18, 25, May 2, 9

Explore disability as a social construct. That is, how people understand and respond to disability depends, in large measure, upon how they perceive it. Discussion topics will include how language and media influence attitudes, historical perspective on segregation and discrimination, eugenics and reproductive technology, community living (versus nursing home placement), disability rights and legislation, and Universal Design. At least one guest speaker will be included to provide first-person perspective from someone with a significant disability.

Convener: Greg Long is a Presidential Teaching Professor at NIU who has a lifetime of experience related to disability. He teaches a popular general education course, "Disability in Society," and chairs the NIU Presidential Commission on Persons with Disabilities.

 

Comparative Religions
9:30 - 11:30 a.m.
Wednesdays, March 21, 28, April 4, 11, 18, 25, May 2, 9

Topics to be explored include the nature of religion and how important world religions contain universal and unique elements. The goal of the course is to develop an understanding of and appreciation for differing beliefs.

Convener: Joe Gastiger is retired from NIU, where he taught English and was program coordinator for the NIU Honors Program. He is currently the pastor of the First Congregational United Church of Christ in DeKalb. Joe has also convened study groups, such as "Unlikely Stories" and "Words We Love More than the Things Themselves."

 

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Wednesday Afternoon Study Groups

The Joy of Music from Vivaldi and Bach to Copland and Bernstein 
1 - 3 p.m.
Wednesdays, March 21, 28, April 4, 11, 18, 25, May 2, 9

In this program we will explore the infinite beauty of music created by the greatest composers of the past, as performed by the greatest musicians of the present, and the power of this music to move an audience. Our aim: sheer pleasure - and some fun.

Convener: Albert Resis is a retired NIU history professor. He is also a connoisseur of classical music and has convened many LLI study groups including, "The Symphony Orchestra: Instruments, Players, and Composers" and "China Today: An Introduction."

 

Literature and Film: Responses to Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway
1 - 3 p.m.
Wednesdays, March 21, 28, April 4, 11, 18, 25, May 2, 9

Explore Virginia Woolf's classic early twentieth-century Modernist novel and Michael Cunningham's late twentieth-century response to it. We will view both films together and explore both novels during the course of the discussion group, so participants should have read Mrs. Dalloway (by no later than week 3) and The Hours (by no later than week 6). Books will be available for purchase from the University Bookstore.

Recommended reading:
Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway, Mariner Books, 2005, ISBN#978-0156030359
Michael Cunningham, The Hours, Picador Publishers, 2000, ISBN# 978-0312243029

Convener: Lise Schlosser is an experienced convener having led discussion groups on Queen Elizabeth I, Renaissance Women, and Shakespeare's Women. She is a Ph.D. student studying English and women's studies at NIU. 

 

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Thursday Morning Study Groups

Castles, Palaces, and Vineyards in Europe - Location, Location, Location!
9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Thursdays, March 22, 29, April 5, 12, 19, 26, May 3, 10

Discuss the differences between a castle and a palace and learn about the geopgraphy of the top wine producing areas in Europe. The study group emphasizes the importance of landscapes in France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Germany and how those countries developed their castles, palaces, and vineyards.

Conveners: Dan & Joanne Dillman. Dan is professor emeritus in geography at NIU and has an ongoing interest in characteristic features of regions. The Dillman's recently convened a study group on lighthouses, shipwrecks, and invasive species of the Great Lakes. 

 

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Thursday Afternoon Study Group

Blue, White, and Red
1 – 3 p.m.
Thursdays, March 22, 29, April 5, 12, 19, 26

Juliette Bincohe, Julie Delpy, Irene Jacob and Jean-Louis Trintignant starred in some of the best roles of their careers in this triptych of films by director Krzysztof Kieslowski.

In Blue a young woman is left devasted by the unexpected death of her husband and child. White tells the tale of a man whose beautiful wife deserts him and his dangerous scheme of vengeance against her. In Red a young model has a chance meeting with an unusual stranger who leads her down a path of intrigue and secrecy.

After viewing each film in one session, we will follow the next week with discussion and the audio commentary (included on each movie disc) by film scholar Annette Insdorf. Her explanations of themes, music, and colors used in the films make for a profound study in Kieslowski's film making genius. 

Convener: Jan Graefen, Sue Lehto, Marilyn Loy, and Jan Modloff are all regular LLI participants and contributors.

 

Digital Photography
1 - 3 p.m.
Thursdays, March 22, 29, April 5, 12, 19, 26, May 3, 10

This class is designed to help you become more familiar with your camera, its settings, capabilities, and mysteries. We will share questions, problems, and common mistakes - and maybe even laugh together. Our goal is to discover ways to improve our images and conquer our fears of composition, exposure, and lighting. Class participation will determine the exact topics covered.

Convener: James Womack has taught photography and maintained a successful photography business for many years. James has convened other digital photography study groups for LLI in the past.

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