Santa Clara University

Osher Lifelong Learning

To view the full Fall 2010 calendar as a PDF click here

Fall 2010


  • The Silk Road
  • The Paradox of Health Care in America
  • Venice: Life in a Renaissance Republic
  • Civilization and the City I: Transformation and Conflict in the Urban Environment
  • Languages of the World
  • The Road to Oklahoma!- Development of the American Musical 1870-1943
  • Civilization and the City II: Modifying Dangers, Emerging Phoenixes and the Future of the City
  • Undiscovered Gems- Overlooked Motion Picture Masterpieces
  • Wines of the World I: Tasting and Evaluating Old World Wines from Italy and France


  • The Interior Castle: Your Soul as a Crystal-The Spirituality of St. Teresa of Avila
  • Armchair Traveler: On Tour in World War II France- A Historical Look
  • Behind the Scenes: Macbeth
  • Sports Psychology
  • SCU Chorale Holiday Concert Comfort and Joy with pre-lecture


Long Courses  

The Silk Road--taught by Jane Miller Chai                                                                       Experience the beginning of globalism when a swath of silk could be traded for thousands of horses and camels. The Silk Road is a fascinating story of camel caravans swallowed up in howling winds, and towns and caravansaries lost in desert sands. This four thousand year trade and communication highway produced a rich history in art and technology and enabled the spread of all the world's phulosophies and religions. This subject is important today because at the heart of the Silk Road are the new nations of Central Asia rich in oil and natural gas resources sought after by nations throughout the world.

The Paradox of Health Care in America--taught by Sheila Yuter                                               With the best trained doctors, nurses, and medical technicians, the best equipped hospitals, and world-leading medical research why does the United States remain a third world country in terms of health care results? What is it about the health care systems in other industrialized democracies that allow them to cover everybody, produce better health results, and cost less? Investigate these and other questions and myths surrounding the current health care debate in America. Find out if the recent health care legislation does anything to address these issues. And finally, what steps can we take to reform health care in America?

The popular Western Civilization series                                                                                     A continuation of "Western Civ for Adults" from 2009-2010, reaches a climax this fall with three classes that focus on the role that cities have played in the political, economic, religious, and cultural life of Early Modern Europe (16-18th centuries) and the Modern World. By focusing on the city, Professors Blake de Maria (Art History) and Brigitte Charaus (History) will introduce OLLI members to the "new" approach to history which tends to be global and multidisciplinary--crossing boundaries into fields like social history, economics, and urban geography, while retaining and grounding in either Art History or History. You won't want to miss these stimulating classes that will challenge you to take a fresh look at Early Modern and Modern civilization from a thematic and global approach. Each of the classes is self-contained and members are encouraged to register for any one or all of them.

Venice: Life in a Renaissance Republic--taught by Blake De Maria                                           This class concentrates on the art and culture of the Venetian Republic c. 600-1600 C.E., specifically the ways in which the city's inhabitants and visitors experienced and understood their surroundings. The course begins with a discussion that includes the development of the city itself, the influence of Islamic art on Venetian visual culture, the Basilica of San Marco, the Rialto Market, the development of the Jewish Ghetto, Venetian courtesans, the Villas of Palladio, the Golden Age of Venetian Painting, and Galileo's experiments with the telescope and observations on tidal flow.

Civilization and the City I: Transformation and Conflict in the Urban Environment--taught by Brigitte Charaus                                                                                                                       From Paris to Chicago, from Manchester to Los Angeles this two-part course revolves around the interrelationship of civilization and urbanization, with an emphasis upon understanding human history and its relationship to urban space. Both sections explore specific issues that pose challenges to all modern cities around the world. In this class we'll look at the "hallmarks" of the new "modern city;" the impact that industrialization has had on both the geography of the city and the conditions of city life; and urban redevelopment as a tool of power and authority. Each class meeting will highlight specific cities from around the world that illustrate the topic for the day.

Civilization and the City II: Modifying Dangers, Emerging Phoenixes and the Future of the City--taught by Brigitte Charaus                                                                                           From Beirut to Tokyo, from Warsaw to Beijing, this class revolves around the interrelationship of civilization and urbanization, with an emphasis upon understanding human history and its relationship to urban space. In Part II we'll examine the growth of urban planning and new visions of city life; the growing involvement of urban populations int he front lines of warfare; the ways in which cities resurrect themselves after disaster; and the migration of peoples into urban areas and the subsequent impact on politics, economies, and the environment. Each class meeting will highlight specific cities from around the world that illustrate the topic for the day.

Languages of the World--taught by Asya Pereltsvaig                                                              From the Glamour of Grammar to Languages of the World, Professor Pereltsvaig offers classes that are academic, interesting and engaging. Join her to learn about the world's linguistic diversity. More than 6,000 languages are spoken in the world today and their variety seems unbounded. This linguistic diversity tells us a lot about the development of human language and thought. It also serves as an important tool for understanding the history of human civilization and what it means to be human. In this course, we will acquaint ourselves with the diversity of human languages; examine how languages evolve; and trace historical relationships among languages. We will take a whirlwind tour of the world's language with stopovers in five myster locations (a different location each week) and through examining the languages spoken in those places, we will learn the story of populations migrating, splitting, evolving, and interacting.

The Road to Oklahoma!- Development of the American Musical 1870-1943--taught by Joe Marchi                                                                                                                                      The musical is one of the glories of American culture. With roots in European operettas, African rhythms, British music halls and the traditional music of arriving immigrants, it developed nonetheless along distinctly American lines and became an expression of American ideas and ideals through story, music and song. This course will take us from the early days through the landmark production of Showboat (1927) as we travel the road the leads to Oklahoma (1943) and the point at which the musical play finally became a significant American art form.

Film Odyseey: Undiscovered Gems-Overlooked Motion Picture Masterpieces--taught by Mark Larson                                                                                                                                         The classic movies are well known and often discussed, but lurking beneath the surface is a world of seldom seen films that are amazing, entertaining and influential. Please join filmmaker/educator Mark Larson on a special guided tour of these Undiscovered Gems. Charles McGraw and Marie Windsor live and die on The Narrow Margin (1952). Gena Rowlands discovers Love Streams (1984). Woody Allen becomes Broadway Danny Rose (1984). Debbie Reynolds and Donald O'Connor sing I Love Melvin (1953). Steve McQueen ropes and rides and loves in Junior Bonner (1972). A spirited discussion will follow each film.

Wines of the World                                                                                                                      This year OLLI @ SCU introduces a three-term series of wine appreciation courses with Certified Sommelier, Seth Orvis. Each course will focus on wines from a different wine-growing region of the world: Old World Wines, The Americas and "Off the Beaten Track." Each class session will include and introduction to deductive tasting, an overview of the specific wine growing region, discussions of the wine-making process, and the pairing of wine and food.

Tastings are a significant educational part of the class. You will learn how to remember the characteristics of the wines evaluated and how to identify them in the future. There are no prerequisites. Each course is completely independent. Sign up for those that interest you or fit into your schedule. This promises to be a very popular series. Enrollment is strictly limited to the first 40 people who register for the course each quarter.

Wines of the World I: Tasting and Evaluating Old World Wines from Italy and France--taught by Seth Orvis                                                                                                                The two most significant influences of Old World style winemaking are tradition and terroir. Tradition refers to the long history of a wine region. Over timet raditional practices became enshrined in local regulations such as the French Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) and the Italian Denominazione di origine controllata (DOC). Terroir is often used to describe the aspects of a wine region such as soil, climate and topography that are out of the winemaker's control. Wines in the Old World are generally labeled based on the region or place of origin because Old World winemakers believe that the unique terroir-driven characteristics of a wine's origins plays a more distinct role in shaping the resulting wine than the grape variety itself. In this class we'll taste and evaluate wines from the Tuscany and Piedmonte regions of Italy, and from Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Alsace, Loire, and Rhône regions of France.



Short Courses

The Interior Castle: Your Soul as a Crystal-The Spirituality of St. Teresa of Avila--taught by Arlene Goetze & Julianne Simone                                                                                            This four-hour retreat program will lead you through The Interior Castle written by Teresa of Avila, one of only two women Doctors in the Catholic Church. This is a journey to finding God deep in one's soul. Teresa, in the person of Julianne Simone, will cast off the distractions in the dark dungeons in the Castle basement and lead participants into a new form of prayer in each of the seven rooms: Prayer of Recollection, Contemplation, Centering Prayer, Prayer of Union. Learn about Spiritual Consolations and Mystical Experiences on this journey inward. Like a silkworm, emerge into the 'white butterfly' of a new life with transformation. Become one in union with the Divine. Each participant will receive a 10-page handout for journaling and reflections along the way. Closing discussion will focus on the value of Teresa's writings in life today.

Armchair Traveler: On Tour in World War II France-A Historical Look--taught by Bert Gordon                                                                                                                                          In June 2009, President Barack Obama visited Normandy to help celebrate the 65th anniversary of D-Day, which marked the beginning of the Allied liberation of France after four years of occupation by Nazi Germany (1940-1944). Annually, hundreds of thousands of visitors tour the Normandy beaches, memorials, and the more than 30 museums set up there to document the Liberation. They travel independently or in tour groups to see for themselves the very places where the liberation of France and Western Europe began. Normandy isn't the only French destination that attracts throngs of World War II tourists. In this class we'll begin by exploring some of the reasons behind World War II tourism in general, and then visit a number of significant historical sites in France to see how the war is remembered and commemorated. In addition to Normandy, we'll visit the Maginot Line, Allied and German military cemeteries, war museums, and the town of Vichy, the capital of occupied France. We'll also look at some of the lesser-known sites, such as Marshal Pétain's birthplace and the German Castle where he and many of his supporters were exiled in 1944. This class is designed for people like you with a desire to learn, understand, and appreciate recent history through the lens of tourism to World War II French historical sites.

Behind the Scenes: Macbeth--taught by Fred Tollini                                                                  Join OLLI as we go behind the scenes to learn about Shakespeare's great tragedy, Macbeth. This play, which follows the rise and fall of a great man, offers a penetrating psychological development of Macbeth's character, and shows the tragic consequences of his ambition, his choices, and the evil that is within himself.

Sports Psychology--taught by John Ellsworth                                                                           Competition at the professional and college level has put an increased emphasis on the importance of the mental aspects of most sports. Successfully addressing the mental aspects of competitive athletes has also prompted its application at the high school level. One frequently hears coaches talk about the difference in champions being their mental toughness. Is a person born with this toughness or can it be taught by professionals in the field? This program will provide an appropriate understanding of why sports psychology has become an important field and why it often succeeds and sometimes fails to accomplish its intended objectives.

SCU Choral Holiday Concert Comfort and Joy with pre-lecture--taught by Ryan Brandau    Each December, the Santa Clara Chorale holiday concert, Comfort and Joy takes listeners on a journey through the Christmas story using pieces from a variety of musical styles, historical periods, and musical traditions. This year's program features works by Palestrina, Bach, Vivaldi, Mendelssohn, Whitacre, and others. The pre-lecture will serve as a guide to the program and leave participants musically enriched and ready for a fruitful listening experience at the performance.

Artistic Director Ryan James Brandau will share the process of selecting, rehearsing and performing a musical concert program. He will take us inside the pieces on the program, exploring musical-textual relationships, providing historical context, and highlighting key elements of the different musical styles. The central work on the concert program-Antonio Vivaldi's stunning Baroque masterpiece, Gloria, will be examined in depth. The class will include time for a question and answer discussion.

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