An archive of 2020 Study and Discussion Groups is listed below. Current course listings can be found on the Course and Activity Descriptions pages.
We have an enthusiastic group of science-minded people who enjoy presenting various topics in from all areas of science. They explore theories, research, and discuss related ideas and information among group members.
What was formerly the "Mysteries of the Microscopic World" class shifted to an online discussion group. The group will meet every other Tuesday. We will show one episode of the "Mysteries of the Microscopic World" and couple it with a live presentation from one of our fantastic members.
Please note the change in schedule for November; we will do the last two sessions of Mysteries of the Microscopic World on different weekdays to combine science offerings starting December 1, 2020. We will coincide with the "Understanding Science" class (listed below).
Tuesdays, April 14–October 20: Topics listed on Basecamp.
Tuesday, November 3: Mysteries of the Microscopic World: Allergies as Asthma and Microbes as Weapons
Thursday, November 12: Mysteries of the Microscopic World: Pandora’s Box and Old World to New
Monday, November 23: Mysteries of the Microscopic World: Close Encounters of the Microbial Kind and Microbes as Friends
For some of us, concern for the Earth’s environment is front and center in our lives. We were in college at a time when environmental activism was born in the U.S. and for some of us, the love of our planet and humanity is as strong as ever. Studies of the Earth’s environment have made major strides in the past few decades due to new sensors, new data, and better models.
The Earth Science and the Environment Discussion Group (ESE) meets once a month for two hours. The content for each meeting is drawn from recent events or developments in Earth science, climate change, and the environment. Each meeting is divided into two segments:
August 27: Plastic Production and Elimination, presented by Kathryn Cullen and Ron Polidan
September 24: Reducing Residential Waste and What's New with Electric Vehicles, presented by The Environmental Center of Bend staff members Neil Baunsgard and Ani Kasch
Fourth Thursday of the month, 2:00–4:00 p.m.
Suzanne Butterfield and Ron Polidan
If you love to write, are a would-be author, or are simply seeking a new outlet for your creativity, you are cordially invited to join OLLI-UO’s Creative Writing group. We are authors, columnists, essayists, poets and non-fiction and fiction writers of all genres. Our levels of experience range from those with multiple publication credits to those just wanting to try their hand. Everyone is welcome.
We meet to encourage our creativity-in-common and to exchange ideas and information . . . but our main focus is the sharing of our work. This includes both reading our own and listening to other’s projects-of-choice (at any stage from rough draft to completed masterpiece) as well as offering and accepting constructive, objective critiquing, ideas and suggestions.
Since the written word often has a different feel than the spoken word . . . and since some of us just plain have trouble hearing . . . it would be extremely helpful if you’d bring several hard copies of what you plan to read.
Sharing the process of writing and publication of fiction, non-fiction, poetry and memoirs. Writers of all levels of experience and all genres are welcome.
Given the crises we currently live amidst, both nationally and internationally, Salon members have elected to learn about the history of modern political philosophy to help us better understand the theories and traditions that have influenced the current situation. We’re going to plunge into the nitty-gritty theories of civil life, society and government.
This will be a 36-lecture Great Courses DVD series. We will learn from an excellent lecturer—Prof. Lawrence Cahoone. At each meeting, we watch two lectures, one each hour. The lectures are about 30 minutes, and allows 30 minutes or so discussion before a short break, and then another lecture and discussion the second hour.
A peer-led exploration of philosophers and philosophy. Each session features either a presentation by a group member, or a recorded lecture, followed by discussion.
January 13: Locke on Limited Government and Toleration, Rousseau’s Republican Community
January 27: Kant’s Ethics of Duty and Natural Rights, Smith and the Market Revolution
February 10: Montesquieu and the American Founding, Debating the French Revolution
February 24: Legacies of the Revolution—Right to Left, Nationalism and a People's War
March 9: Civil Society—Constant, Hegel, Tocqueville, Mill on Liberty and Utility
March 23: Marx’s Critique of Capitalism, Modern vs. Traditional Society
April 13: Progressivism and New Liberalism, Fleeing Liberalism—Varieties of Socialism
April 27: Fleeing Liberalism—Fascism and Carl Schmitt, Totalitarianism and Total War
May 11: Conservative or Neoliberal—Oakeshott, Hayek, Reviving the Public Realm—Hannah Arendt
May 25: Philosophy vs. Politics—Strauss and Friends, Marcuse and the New Left
June 8: Rawls’s A Theory of Justice, Ayn Rand, Robert Nozick, Libertarianism
June 22: What about Community?, Walzer on Everything Money Shouldn’t Buy
July 13: Identity Politics—Feminism, Identity Politics—Multiculturalism
July 27: The Politics of Nature—Environmentalism, Postmodernism, Truth, and Power
July 20: Bertrand Russell's "A Free Man's Worship"
August 3: No meeting
August 17: No meeting
August 10: Habermas—Democracy as Communication, The End of History? Clash of Civilizations?
August 24: Just Wars? The Problem of Dirty Hands, Why Political Philosophy Matters
September 7: No meeting; Labor Day holiday
September 21: What is (Western) Philosophy? (Part 1) with Milt Janetos
In this two-part program, we will discuss what Western philosophy is and how it should be done – if at all. These sessions will be facilitated by Milt Janetos and will include some short texts that can be read online. (A handout for the sessions will be available that has links to the reading material.) These initial meetings will be the first in a series investigating the major questions dealt with by philosophers in epistemology, metaphysics and ethics. Additionally, there will be future sessions on political philosophy, the philosophy of religion and Eastern philosophy. Along with short and easily accessible readings for all sessions, specific Great Courses lectures that lend themselves to the topic at hand will also be presented. However, we will not concentrate on any specific Great Course series.
October 5: What is (Western) Philosophy? (Part 2) with Milt Janetos
October 19: Thinking for Oneself Amid the Winds of Rhetoric (Part 1) with David Kolb
As the months go on the swirl of political rhetoric and emotional appeal becomes almost overwhelming. We need to find ways to preserve our ability to think for ourselves and to judge coolly and intelligently. David Kolb will lead three sessions with the philosophy salon on the topic" thinking for oneself amid the winds of rhetoric". The texts to be discussed will be excerpts from Plato's dialogue Gorgias about the nature of rhetoric, and a short essay by Kant on "what is Enlightenment". We will discuss the dimensions and force of rhetoric, Socratic questioning, and how to enlighten oneself and take responsibility for one's own opinions.
November 2: Thinking for Oneself Amid the Winds of Rhetoric (Part 2) with David Kolb
November 16: Thinking for Oneself Amid the Winds of Rhetoric (Part 3) with David Kolb
December 7: Camus's The Plague' (book discussion) with Jeffrey Allen
A book discussion of Albert Camus' The Plague will be the focus of this session. Jeffrey Allen will give a brief biographical sketch of Camus and his philosophical views, followed by an introduction to the novel and its themes. An open discussion will ensue. The Plague is timely reading, as it relates the events of a deadly pandemic that sweeps through the coastal town of Oran, Algeria in the mid 20th century. The responses of the townspeople, the local governmental and religious authorities, and the doctors who fight to contain it offer insight into the human condition, "the absurd," living "in exile," and recognizing and accepting mortality.
December 21: No meeting
Jeffrey Allen, Milton Janetos, and Henry Sholar
A casual gathering for writers at all levels to share in a supportive environment. Creative experimentation with styles and genres encouraged.
Every Monday, 10:00 a.m.–noon
*The nonfiction book group will meet in the bar area of the Elks Lodge. Please note that Martin Luther King, Jr, Day is a holiday observed by UO. There will be no staff support on January 20.
The nonfiction book group meets twice per month to discuss a nonfiction book that the group has selected. The books range from political history to the history of science, to biography, exploration, and natural history. We learn a lot about different topics and have a great conversation.
*The nonfiction book group will meet in the bar area of the Elks Lodge on January 20. Please note that Martin Luther King, Jr, Day is a holiday observed by UO. There will be no staff support on January 20.
Grant Hadwin was an environmental “wacko” who had a mystical experience and then cut down a sacred spruce tree to protest the logging of old-growth forests. This tree had profound meaning to the Haida, a tribe of Native Americans who shared a remote Canadian island where the tree grew. The spruce had a radically different meaning to Hadwin, who saw it as a freak show of the logging industry. The environmental tragedy is not presented by Valiant in the terms of good-versus-evil, but as an ambiguous story.
If “myth” is a pejorative term for untruths, then this book is laced with myths—which Vaillant debunks. The Haida people, whose ancestors likely inhabited the Queen Charlotte Islands during the Pleistocene, have a legacy of ruthless warfare and slavery. The Haida were not tranquil stewards of Eden any more than the European explorers were rapacious fiends of hell. Rather, both were sophisticated, violent, proud, and bigoted people whose myopia sowed the seeds of their own demise. (Conservation)
“Legendary travel writer Paul Theroux drives the entire length of the US–Mexico border, then goes deep into the hinterland, on the back roads of Chiapas and Oaxaca, to uncover the rich, layered world behind today’s brutal headlines.
Paul Theroux has spent his life crisscrossing the globe in search of the histories and peoples that give life to the places they call home. Now, as immigration debates boil around the world, Theroux has set out to explore a country key to understanding our current discourse: Mexico. Just south of the Arizona border, in the desert region of Sonora, he finds a place brimming with vitality, yet visibly marked by both the US Border Patrol looming to the north and mounting discord from within. With the same humanizing sensibility he employed in Deep South, Theroux stops to talk with residents, visits Zapotec mill workers in the highlands, and attends a Zapatista party meeting, communing with people of all stripes who remain south of the border even as their families brave the journey north. …On the Plain of Snakes is an exploration of a region in conflict.” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
First and third Mondays of the month, 10:15–11:45 a.m.
We are a lively and very welcoming group of fiction lovers who choose a novel to read and critique as a group every month. Over the course of the year, each member selects and facilitates the spirited discussion of a contemporary or classic novel of less than 400 pages. We have a great time!
Eight hundred years apart, Nour, a Syrian-American girl and daughter of a widowed cartographer, and Rawiya, a widow’s daughter, travel harrowing parallel journeys across Syria and the North Africa region. Nour is suddenly immersed in the Syrian civil war and becomes a refugee seeking safety. In an Arabian Nights-like setting, Rawiya, disguised as a boy named Rami, joins a legendary cartographer on a mythical quest to map the world. The two interwoven stories, one modern and one historical, reflect one another as both girls navigate harsh environments and terrifying encounters.
In a contemporary world where refugees are often vilified for leaving their home countries to seek a peaceful refuge, Joukhadar’ Map of Salt and Stars is an important reminder of the very human impact of war and violence and the search for safety.
Joukhadar’ Map of Salt and Stars was a 2018 Middle East Book Award winner in Youth Literature, a 2018 Goodreads Choice Award Finalist in Historical Fiction, and was shortlisted for the Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize. It received starred reviews from Kirkus, Booklist, and others.
On the remote Kamchatka peninsula, in the far east of Russia, two young sisters, Alyona and Sophia, ages eight and eleven, accept a ride from a stranger and then vanish. Their kidnapping is the background for a fascinating succession of interconnected short stories of female characters in a post-Soviet Russian world.
The novel moves forward in time during the year after the disappearance, each month narrated by a different woman or girl all connected in some way by the crime. “Through luminous, sharp prose, we meet the women and girls living in the aftermath and discover the more ordinary, everyday ways they suffer trauma and fight to survive. Disappearing Earth is a poetic thriller, as propulsive and enthralling as it is profound.” (Judges citation, National Book Foundation).
The desolate and mysterious beauty of the remote setting, teeming with densely wooded forests, glassy seas, open tundra, frozen glaciers and active volcanoes is a distinct and complex presence in the novel. The only way out of the environment is by air or sea.
Phillips’ Disappearing Earth is a National Book Award finalist and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Prize for Best First Book. It is also listed on numerous 2019 Best Books lists, including those of The New York Times, The Washington Post, New York Public Library, NPR, and Library Journal.
Second Monday of the month, 10:15 a.m.–noon
Generally, each session begins with 15–20 minutes of Internet videos introducing the topic while generating questions and talking points for discussion. The topic for each session is emailed a few days in advance of that meeting so participants can familiarize themselves with the topic. Attendees are welcome to bring their lunches. Visit the website with past and current subject handouts and schedules.
Focusing on some of the most critical problems in the world, this group takes the next step through study and discussion to identify and propose possible solutions to the problems.
January 13: Education
January 27: Domestic Violence
February 10: Critical Thinking
February 24: The Green New Deal
March 9: Extreme Weather
March 23: Capitalism V the Environment
April 13: FEMA and Emergency Response
April 27: Undocumented Immigrants
May 11: Pandemics
May 25: Unhealthy Lifestyles
June 8: Alternative Medicines
June 22: Differences between Liberals and Conservatives
July 27: Alternative Medicines
August 10: Education Reform and How can we re-open schools safely?
August 24: Undocumented immigration and legal immigration during the pandemic
September 14: Reducing hunger and malnutrition
September 28: What questions should be asked at the Presidential debates?
October 12: Infrastructure: Green New Deal?
October 26: Nuclear Power: Thorium or Uranium?
November 9: Homelessness
November 23: Volcanic Winter
December 14: Planning session for 2021
December 28: No meeting
The meditation/mindfulness group meets for one hour once a week. The first half hour is spent listening to a talk given by a meditation teacher from the Internet. The next half hour is spent in silent meditation. There are many different levels of meditation being practiced by the group; some are beginners, some are returning to the practice through this class, some are advanced meditators who are here to experience the benefits of group meditation and a sense of community (sangha.)
This group utilizes what is known as Vipassana or breath or insight meditation, focusing on the sensation of breathing. Insight meditation utilizes the five senses to get us to awareness and being present.
Beginning Spanish is open to all, whether you know nothing beyond “hola” for “hello” or if you’re quite good at Spanish, but the time slot suits you. We speak in Spanish as much as possible. We use kids’ books to practice reading. Come and check it out.
Beginning level Spanish course; no basic knowledge required
23-year old Ernesto “Che” postpones his last semester of medical school to accompany his friend, Alberto, on a four-month, 8,000 km motorcycle trip from Buenos Aires to the Guajira Peninsula in Venezuela that profoundly affects what he wants to do with his life. Cast: Gael Garcia Bernal, Rodrigo de la Serna, Mía Maestro Rating: R Run Time: 126 MINS
A successful screenwriter who is struggling with his first novel travels to Paris with his fiancé and her family, where he falls in love with the city, but his romantic notions are not shared by his fiancé. During midnight walks, he has encounters with Paris’ past and the “lost generation” that bring him closer to the heart of the city, but further from the woman he’s about to marry. Cast: Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Kathy Bates, Corey Stoll, Adrien Brody Rating: PG-13 Run Time: 94 MINS
Two carefree guys adrift on a raft in the Mediterranean are cast ashore and find their way to an Arabian Nights City. When one is sold to the beautiful princess Shalmar, the other tries to save his friend, even if it means taking his place as the princess’ slave. But neither figures on the desert chieftain Mullay Kassim, who has designs on the princess himself. Cast: Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Dorothy Lamour, Anthony Quinn Rating: Not Rated Run Time: 82 MINS
Three men criss-cross the North America in pursuit of a Big Year – a record number of bird-sightings in a calendar year – to earn the title of Birder of the Year, but Life keeps getting in the way. Cast: John Cleese, Owen Wilson, Jack Black, Steve Martin, Rosamund Pike, Kevin Pollak, Joel McHale, JoBeth Williams Rating: PG Run Time: 100 MINS
Two Americans – an aging actor past his prime and the 22-year old wife of a photographer on assignment in Japan – meet in Tokyo, where they help each other deal with their feelings of loss and with the cultural barriers they experience in Tokyo. Cast: Bill Murray, Scarlett Johannson, Giovanni Ribisi, Akiko Takeshita Rating: PG Run Time: 102 MINS
Two terminally ill patients, a corporate billionaire and a working class mechanic, decide to leave the hospital room they share and do all the things they have ever wanted to do before they die. In the process, they become unlikely friends and ultimately find joy in life. Cast: Jack Nicholson, Morgan Freeman, Sean Hayes, Beverly Todd Rating: PG-13 Run Time: 97 MINS
A literature professor and author, struggling with her latest book and with her husband’s infidelity, joins her friend on a tour of Tuscany, where she ditches the tour and buys an aged, fixer-upper villa. As she deals with obstacles in her new surroundings, she finds a productive and happy life and the possibility of rediscovering romantic love. Cast: Diane Lane, Raoul Bova, Sandra Oh, Lindsay Duncan Rating: PG-13 Run Time: 113 MINS
While on a goodwill tour of Europe, Princess Ann, who hates her regimented life and craves a little freedom from the spotlight, disguises herself as a commoner and slips away from her handlers in Rome. She meets an American news reporter who recognizes her but hides that fact so he can escort her around Rome during her day of freedom and get a scoop. Cast: Audrey Hepburn, Gregory Peck, Eddie Albert Rating: Not Rated Run Time: 118 MINS
A neophyte Australian journalist’s humdrum assignment in Indonesia turns hot as the political situation turns volatile, and he is increasingly drawn into events through his relationship with his photographer, a supporter of President Sukarno, and his affair with a British embassy staffer. Cast: Mel Gibson, Sigourney Weaver, Linda Hunt, Bembol Roco, Michael Murphy Rating: PG Run Time: 115MINS
Enjoy the journey to exotic Istanbul, where a small-time con man is caught between a gang of world-class jewel thieves who plan to steal an emerald-encrusted dagger from the Topkapi Museum and the Turkish secret police who think they are terrorists planning an assassination. Cast: Melina Mercouri, Peter Ustinov, Maximillian Schell, Robert Motley Rating: Not Rated Run Time: 120 MINS
As Joanna and her architect husband drive from their London home to St. Tropez for the unveiling of a house he designed for a client, they recall, in flashbacks, their courtship and their now rocky 10-year marriage together, including tensions that led both to extramarital affairs. Cast: Audrey Hepburn, Albert Finney, Eleanor Bron Rating: Not Rated Run Time: 111 MINS
The son and daughter of a British family living in Sydney find themselves stranded while on a picnic in the Outback. With only the clothes on their back and a few personal possessions, they try to find their way back, and they encounter an aboriginal boy on his walkabout, a rite of passage in which he spends months on his own living off of the land, who tries to help them survive, even though he cannot understand their language or their apparent need to return to civilization. Cast: Jenny Agutter, Luc Roeg, David Gulpilil, John Meillon Rating: GP Run Time: 100 MINS
In the first half-hour we have a session of grammar targeting an intermediate level of French. In the second half-hour we have a conversation class with intermediate levels and advanced levels together and in the third half hour we target an advanced level of French where we read an article or discuss ideas or topics of interest to French language and culture.
Learning and improving our French through grammar, conversations, readings and discussions.
Elaine De Martin-Webster and Thomas Walker
On December 5th we begin a new series called: What Darwin didn't Know. The Modern Science of Evolution. Writing the final pages of his masterpiece The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin looked ahead to the work yet to be done on his groundbreaking theory of evolution by natural selection. “In the distant future,” he predicted, “I see open fields for far more important researches.”
Darwin was right as evolution has emerged as the fundamental concept in all of biology, explaining Earth’s endlessly diverse organisms while spawning new disciplines such as genetics, molecular biology, and evolutionary medicine.
The course is taught by Dr. Scott Solomon who is an Associate Teaching Professor at Rice University, where he teaches ecology, evolutionary biology, and scientific communication. He received his PhD in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior from The University of Texas at Austin, where his research explored the evolutionary origins of biodiversity in the Amazon basin. Fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, he has worked as a visiting researcher with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. and with São Paulo State University in Rio Claro, Brazil.
There are 24 lectures in the series.
To present outstanding introductory college-level DVD science courses, and to enjoy the opportunity to share and discuss related ideas and information among group members. No specialized knowledge is required to appreciate these excellent lectures. The lectures are only mildly cumulative in nature, and if you are occasionally unable to attend, this fact should not impede your enjoyment of the course. Decisions concerning specific course subjects are made by a majority vote of the group. Emphasis is placed on the natural and the formal sciences, but consideration is also given to a broader perspective that includes the philosophy of science, and the social, behavioral, and applied sciences.
January 7: Lecture 5 - Geology and Genes: The Geography Of Life and Lecture 6 -Genetic Drift: When Evolution Is Random
January 21: Lecture 7 - Rapid Evolution Within Species and Lecture 8 - Evolution In The Lab
January 21: Lecture 7 - Rapid Evolution Within Species and Lecture 8 - Evolution In The Lab
February 4: Lecture 9 - The Many Origins of Species and Lecture 10 - Cambrian Explosion to Dinosaur Extinction
February 18: Lecture 9 - The Many Origins of Species and Lecture 10 - Cambrian Explosion to Dinosaur Extinction
March 3: Lecture 13 - Evolution Doesn't Repeat, But it Rhymes and Lecture 14 - The Evolution of Extreme Life
March 17: Lecture 15 - Imperfect Nature: Ad Hoc Body Designs and Lecture 16 - The Sterile Worker Paradox
March 31: Lecture 17 - Coevolution: Peace Accords and Arms Races and Lecture 18 - Microbiomes: Evolution with Small Partners
April 7: Lecture 19. The Evolution of Brains and Behavior and Lecture 20. The Evolution of Sex and Parenting
April 21: Lecture 21. The Evolution of Aging and Death and Lecture 22. Evolutionary Medicine
May 5: Lecture 23. Gene Editing and Directed Evolution and Lecture 24. The Future of Human Evolution
September 15: Continuing with What Darwin Didn't Know: The Modern Science of Evolution series: Lecture 15 - Imperfect Nature: Ad Hoc Body Designs and Lecture 16 - The Sterile Worker Paradox
September 29: What Darwin Didn't Know: Lecture 17 - Coevolution: Peace Accords and Arms Races and Lecture 18 - Microbiomes: Evolution with Small Partners
October 6: What Darwin Didn't Know: Lecture 19 - The Evolution of Brains and Behavior and Lecture 20 - The Evolution of Sex and Parenting
October 20: What Darwin Didn't Know: Lecture 21 - The Evolution of Aging and Death and Lecture 22 - Evolutionary Machine
November 3: What Darwin Didn't Know: Lecture 23 - Gene Editing and Directed Evolution and Lecture 24 - The Future of Human Evolution
November 17: What's Going on With Our Weather and Climate with Professor Richard Johnson
December 1: Anthropology and the Study of Humanity: Lecture 1–Why Anthropology Matters and Lecture 2–Science, Darwin, and Anthropology
December 15: Anthropology and the Study of Humanity: Lecture 3–Our Primate Family Tree and Lecture 4–Paleoanthropology and the Hominin Family
December 29: No meeting
Barbara Nagai and Mike Rose
We meet on the fourth Tuesday of each month to discuss a classic book, usually at least fifty years old, which was important when published and remains significant today. For example, we read a collection of Anton Chekov's short stories which are as fresh today as written. At times we make exceptions to the fifty-year guideline. Usually the person who nominates a title leads discussion of that book plus gives a brief biography of the author and times when the book was written. We alternate fiction one month with nonfiction the next.
Read and discuss classic fiction and nonfiction.
Book for January: The Razor's Edge by W. Somerset Maugham
Book for February: The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt
Book for March: Solaris by Lem Stanislaw
Book for April: The Puritan Dilemma: The Story of John Winthrop by Edmund S. Morgan
Book for May: Nectar in a Sieve by Kamala Markadaya
Book for June: The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen
Book for July: Billy Budd Foretopman by Herman Melville
Members learn through presentations and discussions on topics connected with geo-politics, international business, global cultures, trade, the environment, and America’s place in the world. The facilitator maintains an email list for distribution of presenters’ materials, links to websites, videos and readings prior to the sessions.
International affairs, history, current global developments and U.S. foreign policy.
January 1: No Meeting
January 15: Geography of Wine with Randy Stokes, Manager of Sundance Wine Cellars
February 5: Deciphering US interests in North Africa - and does it matter?
February 19: ICSP student panel
March 4: U.S. Nuclear Modernization: Is $1.7 Trillion for New Nuclear Weapons Necessary?
March 18: Central Asia
April 8: Thailand
April 22: Letter from London: Brexit
May 6: TBA
May 20: The Philippines: Del Rosarios Panel + Great Decisions
June 3: Brazil
June 17: Hong Kong
Susan Walcott and Howard Schuman
If you would like to brush up on history and enjoy a good story along the way, join us twice a month for some very lively discussions of the books by a group of thoughtful and insightful men and women. Expect diverse opinions—we'll welcome your insights too!
Titles are selected by group vote every six months and each book (or author) is discussed over two meetings.
The reading and discussion of historical novels and nonfiction.
Book for January: Varina by Charles Frazier (fiction)
Book for February: Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How It Changed the World by Laura Spinney (nonfiction)
Book for March: The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende (fiction)
Book for April: Caravans by James Michener (fiction)
Book for May: Leonardo DaVinci by Walter Isaacson (biography)
Members of the group take turns selecting plays to be read. The person making the selection becomes the “director” and casts it from members present. Character changes are made as necessary to make sure that all present get a chance to read.
The interpretive reading of plays, usually accompanied by some discussion of a play’s merits, information about its author, or other related matters.
Jack Bennett and Iona Waller
Members share poems they have written, provide each other with supportive feedback, and delve into their own creative process in a like-minded group. All voices and levels of experience welcomed. Come as you are. Prompts are provided if wanted. Opportunities for reading in front of an audience discussed.
Writing and speaking your inspiration and craft.
A team of volunteers suggest about dozen recent news stories for discussion, in the areas of international, domestic and local. The group and moderators work together to determine what will be discussed. Participants are diverse in their experiences and interests, and they read and watch a wide range of news sources. No additional preparation is necessary. It's OK to disagree with the views of the other participants—but not to be disagreeable.
Learning through a lively exchange of views on recent local, national, and world news.
Rotated among a team of volunteers
Thinking Allowed is a participatory round table discussion group where all can contribute their knowledge and opinions toward making broad, complex issues more understandable to everyone. The subject areas are selected by the participants, with a write up about the specific topic for each session emailed a few days in advance to permit personal thought and investigation. Visit the website with past and current subject handouts and schedules.
An informal discussion group devoted to the exchange of views on contemporary social issues and problems confronting the nation, state and local community.
January 2: No Meeting
January 16: TBA
February 6: TBA
February 20: The National Debt
March 5: Eugene Police Chief Chris Skinner (special session; see listing in Lectures section for details)
March 19: Overpopulation
April 2: Racism and the Legacy of Slavery
April 16: Education Reform
May 7: Reducing Hunger and Malnutrition
May 21: Infrastructure
June 4: Nuclear Power
June 18: Homelessness
July 2: Volcanic Winter
A shared period of silence with a bit of social connection on both sides.
Becoming comfortable with resting in the presence of others with awareness and acceptance.
Note: period of shared silence between 12:10 and 12:50 p.m.
Short story anthologies are generally used as a source of each term’s readings; additional selections may be provided by the facilitator.
Reading a variety of short stories and discussing them as a group.
January 2: No Meeting
January 16: The Passage Bird by Deborah Willis (Handout)
February 6: Sonny's Blues by James Baldwin
February 20: Mary Ventura and the Ninth Kingdom by Sylvia Plath (handout)
March 5: A Late Encounter with the Enemy by Flannery O'Connor and The Shawl by Cynthia Ozick
March 19: At the Round Earth's Imagined Corners by Lauren Groff
All selections, unless otherwise indicated, are from The Oxford Book of American Short Stories, 2nd edition, edited by Joyce Carol Oates. Stories marked “handout” will be made available at the CPE office in Room 110.
Shiela Pardee and Anne Pacheco
Our monthly film series offers members an opportunity to understand and enjoy film as an art form, in a deeper and more fulfilling way. We view films from a variety of genres selected by the group. Prior to the showing interesting trivia regarding the actors and the film production is presented, followed by lively discussions afterwards. Group members share their individual perceptions of what the screenwriter and director attempt to convey to the audience.
There is drama, music, and mystery when the long-lost “red violin,” a rare instrument crafted during the Italian Renaissance, and painted with a dead wife’s blood, shows up at a modern auction. The story reveals its mysterious history and the lives of its previous owners in a series of flashbacks spanning three centuries.
The Red Violin received numerous film awards including the 1999 Academy Award for Best Original Music Score. It dominated the 1999 Genie Awards (Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television) with eight wins.
Cast: Carlo Cecchi, Jean-Luc Bideau, Christoph Koncz, Samuel Jackson. Director: Francois Girard. Writers: Don McKellar, Francois Girard. Run Time: 2 hr 10 min
Shane, a mysterious drifter and skilled gunfighter, rides into a conflict between cattlemen and settlers in Wyoming sometime after the Civil War. He is hired as a farm hand by a homesteader and his wife who refuse to sell their land to the brutal cattlemen who attempt to force them out of their valley. An evil hired gun is hired and a classic gunfight ensues. In the iconic closing scene a badly wounded Shane rides off as the homesteader’s young son cries, “Shane, come back!”
Shane won an Academy Award for Best Cinematography and was nominated for several more, including Best Actor, Best Director, Best Picture, and Best Screenplay.
Cast: Alan Ladd, Jean Arthur, Van Heflin, Brandon DeWilde. Producer and Director: George Stevens. Writers: A. B. Guthrie and Jack Sher. Run Time: 1 hr 58 min
Cast: James Stewart, Kim Novak, Barbara Bel Geddes, Tom Heimore, Henry Jones Director: Alfred Hitchcock Writers: Alec Coppel and Samuel Taylor Run Time: 2 hours 8 minutes
Cast: Jeanne Crain, Linda Darnell, Ann Sothern Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz Writers: Vera Caspary and John Klempner Run Time: 1 hour 43 minutes
Cast: Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, John Fiedler Director: Gene Saks Writers: Vera Caspary and John Klempner Run Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Fourth Monday of the month, 1:30–4:00 p.m.
In this study and discussion group, we watch and discuss a variety of films: 1) classic and contemporary Italian films; 2) documentary films related to Italy; and 3) American-Italian films. All Italian-language films have English subtitles. Each film is preceded by a brief introduction and followed by a short discussion, as time allows.
Learning about Italy by watching Italian films
January 23: La Strada. Federico Fellini’s 1954 classic has been called “a magical tale of love, loss and loneliness.” The film stars Fellini’s wife Giulietta Masina, Anthony Quinn and Richard Basehart. La Strada won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. 97 minutes.
January 30: No Meeting
February 13: Pavarotti. Ron Howard’s 2019 documentary film about Luciano. 114 minutes
February 27: Nuovomondo (Golden Door) The film's website describes Nuovomondo as "a moving yet unsentimental film of mythic resonance which tells the story of the early years of mass Italian immigration to the United States." The New York Times review called it "a beautiful dream of a film," whose achievement is "to immerse the modern viewer in a way of perceiving the world that has nearly been forgotten." 112 minutes. English-language trailer.
March 12: March 12: Cristo si è fermato a Eboli (Christ Stopped at Eboli) This 1979 movie, based on writer Carlo Levi's 1945 memoir, tells the story of Levi's 1935 expulsion by the Fascist authorities to a poor village in southern Italy and his experiences there. In 1983, the film won the BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Language Film. 118 minutes. Trailer with English subtitles.
March 26: La Meraviglie (The Wonders) "A family of Tuscan beekeepers find their idyll interrupted by the arrival of a troubled teenage boy after their daughter enters a competition to appear on a television show." (Wikipedia). English film critic Mark Kemode commented that "terrific performances from the ensemble cast bring warmth and insight to this Cannes Grand Prix winner about an alt-lifestyle family eking out a breadline existence as beekeepers in the Tuscan wilds." 2014. 111 minutes
April 9: La Meglio Gioventù (The Best of Youth). Part 1. 2003. 2 hours. La meglio gioventù is a family saga set in Italy from 1966 through 2003. It chronicles the life of an Italian family but focuses primarily on two brothers, Matteo and Nicola, documenting their journey from the prime of their wild youth in the mid-1960s counterculture to parenthood and retirement in the early 2000s. The film shows the interaction of the personal and the political, and the ways in which small events may become turning points in the important choices made by individuals." (Wikipedia) Film reviewer David Edelstein commented: "The Best of Youth doesn't have a boring millisecond. It isn't an art film; it's a mini-series with the sweep of a classic novel, with tons of plot . . . This is the sort of movie you'll recommend to friends and they’ll go, "Six hours! Are you nuts?" and then call you up and thank you in the middle of the night."
April 23: La Meglio Gioventù Part 2. 2 hours.
April 30: La Meglio Gioventù Part 3. 2 hours.
Someone volunteers to facilitate the meeting, and everyone contributes readings or topics for conversation in Español. Some of us speak Español rather well and want to practice it weekly. Others are very rusty but get more fluent as they keep trying.
Speaking Spanish informally. Basic knowledge.
Stan Cook and Carolin Keutzer
Once a year, group members suggest topics they would like to discuss with each other. These topics are voted on by the entire group. Those with the most votes begin the new year and continue on until completed. Examples of topics: How travel experiences changed your life?, Growing up in America, what changes have you experienced in how society views male/female roles?; What teacher/mentor had the greatest impact on your life and how?; Are you an extrovert or an introvert and how has that impacted your life both positively and negatively?; As a youth, what were your thoughts about growing old and how do they compare with what you’ve experienced so far?
Sharing our personal life experiences through open discussion.
January 30: Think about a historical person who is very important to you. It could be anyone . . . from Attila the Hun or King Tut to Bernie Sanders or Michelle Obama. Each participant will explain a little about the person they chose and why they are important to you.
April 30: TBD
July 30: TBD
October 29: TBD