Current Eugene/Springfield program offerings are listed below. Select each title listed below to see the full class or activity description. Visit the calendar page if you prefer viewing offerings in a calendar format. A list of current Shared Interest groups can be found on the SIGs page. An archive of past offerings can be viewed in the archive.
Offered as series or stand-alone sessions, these dynamic presentations are typically taught by university faculty, community experts, and OLLI-UO members. The lecture format consists of a presentation followed by lively discussion.
This informal talk will begin with a description of the death penalty legal process, including who is eligible for this penalty, the trial court procedures and the three-stage appeals process along with the costs of all these procedures. We next will briefly discuss research on who receives death sentences and who is executed many years later. This treatment will be followed by a short discussion of the research findings on the possible deterrent effects of capital punishment. In addition, presenter David Jacobs may discuss his research on the social and political conditions that lead to the use of this penalty and the ethics of it in light of the findings outlined in this talk.
Jacobs has published five statistical analyses that dealt with this subject. The first isolated the state political and social factors that help determine whether the death penalty is legal in the states, another dealt with the factors that produce more (or fewer) death sentences in the states, while another publication isolated the state and individual characteristics that help determine who is executed many years after a death sentence.
American soldiers wrote a significant body of poetry during the Vietnam War, as British soldiers did in WWI. This is poetry that matters, poetry of witness that begs us not to forget. Read it as part of our troubled history, and in the context of other war poetry. Vets especially welcome.
About the presenter: University of Oregon Professor Emeritus James W. Earl earned his PhD in medieval English literature at Cornell University in 1971. He taught at the University of Virginia and at Fordham University before joining the UO Department of English in 1987. He cofounded the UO Medieval Studies Program in 1990 and was its first director. Earl founded UO Insight Seminars in 2003. Since then he has offered many month-long seminars on topics in the humanities ranging from Homer, Herodotus and the Bible, to Shakespeare, Tolstoy and Gandhi.
This lecture is a preview/overview of the full four-week course and is open to the public. For more information on 2020 UO Insight Seminars offerings, visit the program website.
Do you prefer to read paper or e-books? But, is that really an important question? Media all around us are changing much more dramatically than that. Think of hypertext dreams dying, the web’s bright promise and its grubby commercial reality, wikis and a blogosphere filled with trolls, story arcs over long episodes, fan fiction and cosplay, complex pages with weird mixtures of argument emotion imagery and irony, and immersive media (VR and AR) that undermine critical distance. (If some of these sound unfamiliar, come and learn what’s streaming around you.)
How do we learn to read anew, when the skills we were taught don’t work as well as they used to? How do we hold on to ourselves, stay centered, and make critical judgments in the midst of today’s overwhelming media flow? Can we apply old rhetorical and philosophical analyses to new media that actively try to undermine them? In two two-hour sessions (on January 27 and two weeks later on February 10) David Kolb will discuss how he was taught to read and why that is no longer adequate. What old skills need improving and what new skills do we need to stay afloat in the flood? Can Socrates survive Facebook and fake news?
David Kolb received his PhD in philosophy from Yale University and taught at Fordham University, the University of Chicago, Nanzan University in Japan, and at Bates College in Maine as the Charles A. Dana Professor of Philosophy. Since 2002 he has devoted himself full-time to writing and lecturing. He is a member of OLLI-UO.
The fire at Notre Dame in Paris has sparked a renewed interest in European cathedrals. We will examine the expression of the sacred through architectural space, style and symbolism, in seven of Europe’s greatest buildings, in Paris, London, Rome, Florence, Cordoba and Istanbul.
About the presenter: A specialist in Italian art of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, James Harper holds a PhD in the History of Art from the University of Pennsylvania. Harper is the Director of the University of Oregon's interdisciplinary Museum Studies Program. Prior to coming to the University of Oregon in 2000, he worked in museums including the National Gallery of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Harvard University Art Museums. In Oregon, he maintains a close relationship with the University’s Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, where he has served as a guest curator and as a member of the museum’s Leadership Council.
This lecture is a preview/overview of the full four-week course and is open to the public. For more information on 2020 UO Insight Seminars offerings, visit the program website.
These courses often cover topics in-depth for two to 20 weeks and may encourage additional reading or preparation. Registration may be required as seating is limited.
Registration for this course is closed. The course is full.
Most western readers could readily define the word “hero” – the stalwart, strong, superior person whose journey toward heroic glory has defined the quest as a purposeful movement from beginning to achieved goal. And, as we visualize this individual, he is usually male: It is he who sets out; he who struggles; he who returns victorious.
Through the centuries, women writers have confronted this archetype, often to challenge how age-old definitions and symbols have shaped literatures worldwide. From earliest times, they have created works that grapple with the monolithic figure we call the hero and his quest, what Joseph Campbell calls the “monomyth,” a structure that, according to Campbell, shapes all quest narratives. This image of a gendered-male hero is undercut by an irony as old as the word “hero” itself. Hero was a woman in Greek myth, and her name is the original basis for the word. In the myth, Hero brings her lamp to the Hellespont each night to light a way for her lover, Leander. Unlike the archetype that bears her name, this Hero did not journey; instead, she becomes a metaphor for those who have illuminated a path toward a redefined quest that shapes the journey of many women writers and their female characters.
This class will explore this path in the form of the story-telling – or re-telling – by women writers who seek to confront, understand, and challenge the monomyth of male heroism.
Delia Fisher received her B.A. and M.A. in English from CSU, Fullerton, in 1967-68, teaching secondary English in California until 1972, when she moved to Southern Oregon to be a mom and homesteader. In 1981, she decided to re-enter the outside-the-home working world and taught English composition at Rogue Community College for the next three years. In 1984, she moved to Eugene to teach in the University of Oregon’s English and Multi-cultural Affairs departments. In 1988, she enrolled in the Ph.D. program at UO and completed her American literature Ph.D. in 1996. In 1997, she and her husband (also an American literature professor) moved to Alabama to teach world literature and composition at Auburn University. In 2001, they accepted teaching positions at Westfield State University in Westfield, MA. Her classes there focused on women writers and a wide variety of courses in the English Department. In addition, she coordinated the English Education Program until 2010, when she retired and returned to Eugene. In retirement, Delia has taught the course Women, Myth and Culture for OLLI-UO during the winter terms of 2018 and 2019.
Course materials: A course reader has been created by the instructor and will be made available for a $5 fee, payable at registration. This course also requires the novels The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston and The Awakening by Kate Chopin.
Registration is required for this course and is limited to 25 persons. Registration will open online, over the phone, and in person on January 7.
Tours and field trips offer opportunities to explore cultural and community resources, both locally and regionally. Registration is usually required to participate, and additional fees may be applied to cover the costs of transportation or admission.
The Ax Billy Grill and Sports Bar of the Downtown Athletic Club is available to us the fourth Friday of every month, between 2:00 and 4:00 p.m. Order a beverage and a bite to eat if you wish and visit a while. Try it sometime and check out the Happy Hour Menu for this no host social.
Please stop in and visit for a bit–we always have a nice, fun group of people who enjoy a strictly social OLLI-UO event! Remember, making friends and building community is essential for our mental health!
Fourth Fridays from 2:00–4:00 p.m.
These groups are designed to be an informal exchange of ideas in a considerate atmosphere. Study groups topics are well-defined and explored in-depth.
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.
The first, third, and fifth (if applicable) Mondays of each month from 9:30–11:30 a.m.
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.
The second and fourth Mondays of each month from 9:30–11:30 a.m.
Jeffrey Allen, Milton Janetos, and Henry Sholar
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.
The second and fourth Mondays of each month from 11:45 a.m.–1:45 p.m.
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.
Every Monday from noon-1:00 p.m.
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
Every Monday from 12:15–1:45 p.m.
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.
Every Monday from 3:15–4:45 p.m.
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.
The first, third and fifth (if applicable) Tuesdays of each month from 10:00–11:30 a.m.
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.
The fourth Tuesday of each month at 1:30–3:30 p.m.
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.
The first and third Wednesdays of each month from 9:30–11:30 a.m.
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
The second Wednesday of each month from 10:00–11:30 a.m.
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.
The first and third Wednesdays of each month from 3:30–5:30 p.m.
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.
The first, third, and fifth (if applicable) Thursdays of each month at 9:30–11:30 a.m.
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.
The second and fourth Thursdays of each month from 9:30–11:30 a.m.
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.
The first and third Thursdays of each month from 11:45 a.m.–1:15 p.m. Attendees are welcome to bring their lunches.
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.
Every Thursday from 11:45 a.m.–1:15 p.m.
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.
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.
The first and third Thursdays of each month from 1:30–3:00 p.m.
Shiela Pardee and Anne Pacheco
Culture Italiane (“Italian cultures”) explores the diverse geography, economies, history, cultures and products of Italy’s 20 regions. English-language videos and the Geografia d’Italia per Stranieri textbook are used to learn about each region.
Knowledge of Italian is not necessary for participating in the study group, which is conducted in English. Textbook passages are translated to English to make them accessible to everyone. For those interested in Italian, the course is also an opportunity to share or improve their Italian language knowledge.
Understanding the cultural diversity of Italy’s regions
Every Thursday from 3:15–4:45 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
Second, Fourth, and some Fifth Thursdays
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.
Every Thursday from 3:15–4:45 p.m.
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.
Fifth Thursdays of the month (usually 5 per year) from 10:00-11:30 a.m.