Santa Clara University

Osher Lifelong Learning

Winter 2014 - updated 12/4/13

LONG Courses - One Weekly Class for 2-5 weeks


1. California History and Culture

Time: 10:00 a.m. – 12 noon

Dates: Tuesday, January 7, 14, 21, 28 and February 4

Course Description: Invented as a magical island in a sixteenth century Spanish novel, California has exercised an imaginative influence on the world for more than four hundred years.  From the days of the Spanish conquest, through the frenzy of the Gold Rush, the fantasies of Hollywood , and the tragedies of the Dust Bowl, to the innovative universe of Silicon Valley , California has always been a place where people have projected their hopes, anxieties, and dreams of the future.  Learn about the history of our state from noted California historian Bob Senkewicz in this  Osher 10th Anniversary Encore course offering.

2. Film Odyssey: Saddle UP! A Fresh Look at Six Classic Western Films

Time: 10:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Dates: Wednesday, January 8, 15, 22, 29 and February 5

Course Description: The smell of sagebrush and leather will fill the air when we head out on this dry and dusty cinematic trail! For the first time, Film Odyssey will explore the American Western - the most beautiful and complex of film genres. Join filmmaker and scholar Mark Larson for a survey of six important Western films --witness William S. Hart burn down the town in the silent film Hell's Hinges; discover the Native American director James Young Deer in the sublime White Fawn's Devotion; watch John Wayne and Henry Fonda write (and rewrite) history in John Ford's masterpiece Fort Apache; join a gun-slinging Joan Crawford in a drink with Nicholas Ray's Johnny Guitar; ride with Guy Madison as he fights for Native Rights in George Sherman's Reprisal and Randolph Scott is the moral center of the universe in Budd Boetticher's Comanche Station. A spirited discussion follows every film. 

3. Modern Israel

Time: 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Dates: Thursday, January 9, 16, 23, 30 and February 6

Course Description: During the 60 years since Israel's independence from England, what has been going on in this tiny nation?What was happening in Israel long before she became a sovereign nation?Through discussion, we'll explore some of the major themes of Israel's history.We will look at some of the politics, people, and religious links through the ages.

4. England and the British Empire: From Stonehenge to the Present

Time: 10:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Dates: Friday, January 17, 24, 31 and February 7

Course Description: Part of a small island, England has left a large legacy in world history: the English language and its literature; the English legal system; and the British Empire and its successor states, including the United States. Our course begins with Stonehenge, followed by Roman Britain, the Anglo-Saxon period, the Norman Conquest and Medieval England, and the rise of modern Britain and the Empire beginning with the Tudors. Britain emerges as the world's leading commercial and naval power in the 18th century; "stands alone" against Napoleon at the start of the 19th; and later launches renewed imperial drives into India and South Africa. A major player in the defeat of German expansion in two world wars during the early and mid- twentieth century, Britain becomes part of the Western alliance contributing to the collapse of European Communism in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Today, Britain appears to grow ever smaller and may even leave the European Union; but London remains a major cosmopolitan center and the English language is used and evolves in different parts of the world, progressively morphing into different dialects, much as did Latin after the end of the Roman Empire.

5. California Beautiful: The History of California's Artistic Heritage

Time: 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Dates: Tuesday, February 4, 11, 18, 25 and March 4

Course Description: This course examines the rich cultural heritage of California as expressed through architecture and design.  Beginning at the foundations of California history, we will trace the development of the missions, as a merger of indigenous cultures and Spanish colonialism.  With the insurgence of American immigration from the east at the time of the California Gold Rush, we will discuss the shift to styles merging the European tradition with nostalgia for the "mission myth," the influence of Asia and the American Midwest, and a desire of architects and artists to exploit uniquely Californian materials and light.  Featured subjects include:the California missions; Julia Morgan; Bernard Maybeck; Greene and Greene; the Mission Revival and Craftsman styles; the work of Arthur and Lucia Matthews; and the California Impressionists.

6. Immigration Reform and the Future of American Politics

Time: 10:00 a.m. - 12 noon

Dates: Tuesday, February 11, 18, 25 and March 4, 11

Course Description: Drawing upon materials in the fields of political science, history, economics, sociology, public policy, and law, this course will explore how immigration reform will shape the landscape of American politics in the 21st century.Topics will include:a description of today's immigrants; the history of migration to the United States; reform and anti-reform coalitions (left, right, and center); the impact of globalization on immigration; public opinion and immigration reform; and immigration and the politics of Congress and the Presidency.

7. American Composers: a Study of Culture, Diversity and Hope through Music

Time: 9:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Dates: Wednesday, February 12, 19, 26 and March 5, 12

Course Description: Today America's music does what it always has done – bring people together.In American music, every aspect of life, ethnicity, and culture is merged, mixed, and highlighted.The rich diversity of American culture and life is reflected in its lively beat-filled rhythms.American music is the story of the country, a reflection of a nation alive with change, filled with curiosity, and led by hope and excitement. It intertwines with aspects of social and cultural identity, thereby reflecting our country's multi-ethnic population through a diverse array of distinctively American styles, such as folk, jazz, blues, and Native American, as well as adoption of European techniques.During this course, we will explore classical American music that emerged by the end of the 19th century, and its development throughout the 20th century. We will follow composers who pursued experimental traditions, and works by significant immigrant composers; we will discuss the social, cultural and/or political context in which some of the works were composed, and other artistic or experimental aspects that influenced their musical style.Composers include Stravinsky, Ives, Gershwin, Copeland, Bernstein, Cage, and more.


8. Reading Faulkner's Short Stories

Time: 2:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Dates: Wednesday, February 12, 19, 26 and March 5

Course Description: Faulkner's short prose is some of the most moving and beautiful in American Literature. We will explore in close reading and teacher analysis four stories: "A Justice;" "Wash;" "A Rose for Emily;" and "Percy Grimm." These cover themes including the destruction of Native American culture, the death of Southern aristocracy, and the blind obsession of a patriot/fanatic. One story will be covered in each class session; and it is recommended that participants read the story being covered before each session.

9. Last Call: The Alcoholic Republic and Prohibition

Time: 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Dates: Thursday,  Jan 9, 16, 23, 30 and Feb 6

Course Description: Daniel Orkent's bestseller Last Call:  The Rise and Fall of Prohibition and Ken Burns' recent PBS series Prohibition revealed that from its start America has been awash in drink. The sailing vessel that brought John Winthrop to the shores of the New World in 1630 carried more beer than water, and the first building constructed by Harvard University was a brewery. In the 1820s, Americans consumed three times as much alcohol per capita as they do today—and liquor flowed so plentifully it was cheaper than tea. "Americans drank from the crack of dawn to the crack of dawn" (W. J. Rorabaugh, The Alcoholic Republic: an American Tradition). That Americans would ever agree to relinquish their booze was as improbable as it was astonishing.  Yet we did; in 1920, the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution killed the nation's 5th largest industry by banning the manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcohol nationwide.  The origins, history and impact of Prohibition in America make for a complex story.  In order to pass prohibition, progressives and suffragists made common cause with the Ku Klux Klan—which in turn supported a woman's right to vote.  Then champions of the people like liberal Democrat Al Smith fought side-by-side with conservative plutocrats like Pierre du Pont for its repeal.    In the end, Prohibition did make a dent in American drinking—at the cost of hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries from bad bootleg alcohol, the making of organized crime—and Las Vegas and NASCA, and changed our country forever.

10. Language & Identity in Geopolitical Hotspots

Time: 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Dates: Thursday, February 13, 20, 27 and March 6, 13

Course Description: Many of today's geopolitical conflicts are brewing in regions where warring groups cannot find a common language, sometimes quite literally. In this course, we will consider the interplay of language and identity in such regions as India and Pakistan, the greater Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa, and the Caucasus, with a goal of developing a better understanding of these regions' cultural and political landscapes. We will see how a language may be a unifying factor for groups such as Kurds, who live in different states, practice different religions and may not have a common genetics. Conversely, we will also encounter languages, such as Hindi/Urdu, which – despite linguistic near-identity – are perceived by their speakers as distinct tongues because of the ethnic and religious divides between groups.

11. Our Violent Earth

Time: 10:00 a.m. - 12 noon

Dates: Friday, February 14, 21, 28 and March 7, 14

Course Description: The recent disastrous earthquake and tsunamiin Japan and Indonesia, tremors in New Zealand, Haiti, Chile, and the volcanic eruptions in Ireland remind us of the more catastrophic aspects of Earth's evolution.Though they certainly do cause havoc in our lives, when viewed as natural Earth processes, they simply reflect the dynamic realities of our planet.Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions threaten cities, but also lift mountains.Floods and landslides disrupt lives, but restore landscape equilibrium.Tsunamis help shape coasts, while devastating poorly planned coastal communities; and dynamic geologicalprocesses in deserts and glacial regions sculpt those important environments.

In this course, we will investigate these and other significant geologic processes, and highlight their impact on society and civilization.Situated on the edge of a tectonic plate, the San Francisco Bay Area is subject to many of these hazards, so relevant regional phenomena will be emphasized.


SHORT Course - One Week Day Class or Weekend

1. Life in Cyberspace: How the Internet Works

Time: 1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Dates: Wednesday, January 15, 22

Course Description: Have you ever wondered how the email you write on your home computer gets to someone half way around the world?  This course will explain that—and more!In language even the least tech-savvy can appreciate, we will explore how industry and organizations have built upon technology to produce the internet that we know today.You will become familiar with the internet services that we use every day:email; web browsers; search engines; instant messaging; and internet telephone and video.After taking this course, you will be able to use the internet more effectively and securely; make better purchasing decisions; and even watch the paths that your messages take through various networks, on their way from you to their destinations.


2. Famous Photographers and Their Role in History

Time: 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Dates: Tuesday, January 21, 28

Course Description: This course will provide an illustrated overview of famous photographers who have created important and memorable images in the history of photography.Legendary photographers from the 19th and 20th centuries will be covered, including Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, and many others.Each class will consist of a fast-paced slide lecture, describing influential photographers and their approach to the medium.While not a how-to course in photo technique, you'll come away inspired to continue your own photography!

3. Big Brother? How Statistics Are Influencing Just About Everything in your Life

Time: 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Dates: Monday, January 27and February 3

Course Description: Statistics influence all of our lives in ways that few of us are aware.  Everything from the amount you pay for insurance to the advertisements you see on television to the menu choices at restaurants are driven by statistical data.  As people spend more time on the internet, "big data" is being collected and analyzed in ways we couldn't even dream of 10 years ago.  In this short course, we won't spend time learning formulas or crunching numbers; but we will learn how other people are using statistics to influence our daily lives, including who we elect to govern us!  By increasing your awareness of how the system works, this class will help you to be a more informed consumer and citizen of our increasingly data-driven world.

4. August Wilson, Playwright

Time: 1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Dates: Wednesday, January 29 and February 5

Course Description: As August Wilson set out to chronicle the history of African Americans in the 20th century in his decacology known as "The Pittsburgh Cycle," we will discover the decade by exploring a few of his plays including, Joe Turner's Come and Gone, The Piano Lesson, and Gem of the Ocean.In the process, we will gain a greater appreciation for the craft of the two-time Pulitzer Prize winning playwright; a deeper understanding of Mr. Wilson's vision of reality; and a richer understanding of the African Americans depicted in his plays, through close readings and discussion of his scripts.It is strongly recommended that class participants read the plays before coming to class.


5. Secrets in Our Lives

Time: 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. (with one hour for lunch)

Date: Saturday, February 1

Course Description: Secrets and secret keeping have captivated the interest of humankind throughout history.  The works of countless authors, playwrights, and philosophers have explored the psychological significance of secrets.  The act of keeping distressing thoughts and feelings secret from others, and the psychological consequences of doing so, are also longstanding concerns of psychologists--from Freud's pursuit of the pathogenic secret to modern day family therapy's focus on family secrets. Recent work in this area, by the instructor and others, has illuminated the nature and role of secrets and secret keeping (self-concealment) in our lives. This class will present what these recent forays into the world of secrets have taught us, and examine the following topics: why we keep secrets; secrecy, privacy and self-disclosure in the modern world; the nature and role of secrets and secret keeping in our lives; the health effects of both concealing and revealing closely guarded personal information; family secrets and their effects on present and future generations; secrets in adolescence; our biggest secrets and how we manage them; secrets at the end of life; and sharing secrets.


6. The Armchair Traveler Goes to Iran

Time: 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Dates: Monday, February 24 and March 3

Course Description: From the splendors of ancient Persia to the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Armchair Traveler explores the fascinating and complex history of one of the most important countries in the Middle East.Join History Professor Emerita Dorothea French and her husband, videographer Wes French, as they share with you their discovery of Iran's rich historical monuments (6 of them UNESCO World Heritage Sites), dramatic geography, lovely gardens and parks, exquisite mosques, bustling bazaars, and pro-American citizens.

7. Classic Movie Theatres around the Bay - Architecture and History

Time: 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Dates: Monday, February 24 and March 3

Course Description: Following a survey of some of the most spectacular motion picture theatres built across America during the 1920s and 1930s, we will be exploring the evolution of what we now consider the classic, single-screen movie theatres in the San Francisco Bay Area, particularly in the South Bay and on the San Francisco Peninsula.As the Bay Area's cities and towns grew, and wherever commerce went, entertainment followed.Movies, as the 20th century began to unfold, became the region's--and America's--most beloved and least expensive form of mass entertainment.Beginning with the storefront nickelodeons, continuing through the movie palace era, to neighborhood and small town showplaces, to the drive-ins, and the earliest shopping center theatres of the suburbs, this course will provide a visual feast of showplaces once beloved by many in the past, and largely unknown to the current generation.The visual emphasis will draw primarily from vintage images, but attention will also be given to the current status of those theatres still surviving today.For those who remember such places, it will be a walk down Memory Lane.For those accustomed only to motion picture viewing at the multiplex, at home, or in the hand, this course will serve as an in-depth introduction to the subject


Osher Distinguished Speaker Series – Special Event  -- Barry Posner

Saturday, Feb 8, 2014   (Refreshments: 9:30 - 10 am; Program: 10 am -12 pm)

"What People Look for in their Leaders"

Location:  Fess Parker Studio (Mayer Theatre)

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