Category Archives: Eugene Springfield

International Relations: Angela Merkel—A Leadership Profile

Eugene/Springfield–Presenter Helene-Carol Brown will cover Angela Dorothea Merkel from a biographical perspective, setting the stage for group discussion of Germany’s domestic and foreign policies including migrants and refugees, relations with the US, China, Russia, Turkey, and the European Union.

Research historian and teacher, Brown has published three historical novels. She is fascinated by the life of Merkel, one of the most important leaders in the world today.

Heart of Dixie: Mexicans in the U.S. South Since 1910

Eugene/Springfield–Why are there so many Mexican immigrants in the United States, and why are so many of them undocumented? In this talk, Julie M. Weise, an associate professor of history at the University of Oregon, will help us answer this question. Her presentation will discuss the history of Mexican immigration to the United States, the factors that have brought so many here, and legal changes that have left so many vulnerable to deportation. She also will be happy to engage in conversation about the Trump administration’s policies towards Mexico and Mexican immigration. Weise received her PhD from Yale University and has been at UO since 2003.

Why Plato Says Democracy Leads to Tyranny—And Why You Should Worry He May Be Right

Eugene/Springfield–The Republic is a Socratic dialogue, written by Plato around 380 BCE, concerning justice, the order and character of the just city-state and the just man. It is Plato’s best-known work, and has proven to be one of the world’s most influential works of philosophy and political theory, both intellectually and historically.

In this lecture and discussion session, OLLI-UO member and retired philosophy professor, David Kolb, will concentrate on what Plato has to say about what happens when the city ruled by philosopher kings decays, falling into a series of lesser political structures ending up in a democracy which leads to tyranny. What interests Kolb is the characterization of democracy and why Plato thinks it leads to tyranny. We will examine his arguments and see if they apply to the present day or not.

Required reading: a short paper to be distributed to participants before the session.

Suggested reading: Plato, Republic, book 8 and book 9

Kitchen Chemistry

Eugene/Springfield–From making the perfect hard-boiled egg to making perfect gravy or fudge, a little knowledge of chemistry will avoid many kitchen disasters. This course assumes a bit of high school chemistry, but if your chemistry background is in the distant past, OLLIUO member and retired professor Nancy Mills also will fill in the gaps.

We will start with the chemistry of eggs, moving from how to make a hard-boiled egg that is both pretty and edible, to the use of eggs in hollandaise sauce and meringues, to the chemistry of flour (how to avoid lumpy gravy) and why one needs to knead bread, and will finish with perfect fudge.

Mills was professor emeritus at Trinity University in San Antonio. After retiring in 2015, she and her husband moved to Eugene to enjoy the outdoors.

The History of the Battle of Puebla on Cinco de Mayo

Eugene/Springfield–In the Battle of Puebla, the fate of Mexico as a democratic country and sovereign nation hung in the balance. A “bush league” Army of the Mexican Republic confronted the invading forces of the French Emperor Napoleon III, who thought the time had come to expand his empire to the Americas, while his promonarchist Mexican supporters saw the chance to destroy the fledgling Republic headed by Benito Juarez. Thus, the Battle of Puebla, on Cinco de Mayo, became one of the most significant dates in Mexican history.

OLLI-UO member Ilene O’Malley follows up on her highly successful short course on the Mexican Revolution with this single-session lecture. O’Malley has a PhD in history from the University of Michigan with a specialization in Latin America, and lived and studied in Mexico on a Fulbright Scholarship.

New OLLI UO Film Series “With a Song in My Heart”

Eugene/Springfield–Musicals have long been a staple of Hollywood entertainment. From the very first talkies, movies have featured song and dance, and not only did we first hear many of our most fondly-remembered songs in movies, but many cinematic dance moments are firmly fixed in our collective pop culture memories, like Gene Kelly dancing in the rain or dancing through the streets of Paris.

The story of Hollywood musicals also is the story of an evolving art form, from big Busby Berkeley production numbers, to sometimes contrived plots –often in a show-business setting – that gave song and dance men and women like Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Gene Kelly, Judy Garland, and Bing Crosby a chance to entertain their audiences, to the cinematic versions of beloved Broadway musicals with popular singers who easily made the transition from stage to screen like Howard Keeler and Barbra Streisand.

Beginning May 8, 2017, join us and your fellow film-lovers to explore this developmental arc and once again enjoy the memorable songs and the dance of Hollywood musicals, as OLLI’s Film Series Program presents “With a Song in My Heart”, 12 gems from Hollywood’s musical archives in chronological order.  Following is the schedule of films and dates (on the second and fourth Mondays of the month, except for academic holidays, at 1:30 p.m. at the UO Baker Downtown Center).

05/08/17     Gold Diggers of 1933, (1933) 1 hr. 40 min.
05/22/17     Top Hat, (1935) 1 hr. 41 min.
06/12/17     Easter Parade, (1948) 1 hr. 47 min.
06/26/17     An American in Paris, (1951) 1 hr. 53 min.
07/10/17     Singing In the Rain, (1952)1 hr. 43 min.
07/24/17     Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, (1954) 1 hr. 42 min.
08/14/17     The King and I, (1956) 2 hr. 13 min.
09/11/17     Funny Face, (1957) 1 hr. 43 min.
09/25/17     West Side Story, (1961) 2 hr. 54 min.
10/09/17     My Fair Lady, (1964) 2 hr. 50 min.
10/23/17     Funny Girl, (1968) 2 hr. 31 min.
11/13/17     All That Jazz, (1979) 2 hr. 3 min.

Note that three of these movies, “West Side Story”, “My Fair Lady”, and “Funny Girl” are quite long – nearly three hours.  We will include an intermission for these films.

See you at the movies!

Historical Novels and Nonfiction Book Group 2017-18 Reading List

Exploration, Exploitation, the Eiffel Tower, and the Aviatrix

Eugene/Springfield–Magellan’s historic 16th century odyssey, the political upheaval of the 1950s Chinese Cultural Revolution, the 19th-century controversy surrounding the construction of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, and the adventures of the 20th-century aviatrix who first flew nonstop from Europe to America—these represent just a few themes central to the books selected for reading over the next year by the Historical Fiction/Nonfiction group.

As the sharp distinctions between genres have dissolved in recent decades, historians now weave important historical events into absorbing storytelling. The upcoming reading list offers a wide selection of history from both fiction and nonfiction titles. OLLI members are encouraged to join in the discussion on any or all selected books on the second and fourth Wednesdays at 10 a.m. in the Canada Room.

Faciliator: Joyce Churchill

Reading List for 5/17–4/18

May: Gail Tsukiyama, A Hundred Flowers (fiction)
June: Joshua Hammer, The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu (nonfiction)
July: Nancy Horan, Under the Wide and Starry Sky (fiction)
August: Beryl Markham, West with the Night (nonfiction)
September: Beatrice Colin, To Capture What We Cannot Keep (fiction)
October: Laurence Bergreen, Over the Edge of the World (nonfiction)
November: Paulette Jiles, News of the World (fiction)
December: Candice Millard, Hero of the Empire (nonfiction)
January: Alan Brennert, Moloka’i (fiction)
February: Nomi Prins, All The Presidents’ Bankers (nonfiction)
March: Hanaya Yanagihara, The People in the Trees (fiction)
April: Jessie Burton, The Miniaturist (fiction)


International Relations: Field Trip to the Nobel Peace Park

Eugene/Springfield–All OLLI-UO members are invited to tour the Nobel Laureate Peace Park. The tour will be led by John Attig, founder of the project creating the first ever U.S. peace park honoring 24 American winners of the Nobel Peace Prize. They ended wars, prevented others, aided war victims, and saved millions of lives. The field trip is an opportunity to learn more about our nation’s internationally recognized peace makers. Instead of meeting at the Downtown Baker Center, travel directly to the main entrance of Alton Baker Park north of the Duck Pond for the 10:00 a.m. start.

Contacts: John Attig or Randall Donohue

Adventures of a Ballet Historian

Eugene/Springfield–When Marian Smith was doing her doctoral research on ballet music in the Opéra archives in Paris, she saw a mysterious photograph of a musical score for ballet that was heavily annotated with instructions about how to perform the ballet. However, she could not find the original manuscript. In this presentation (which includes pictures and short videos), she will describe her attempt to locate this exciting manuscript, and the ways in which her search and findings along the way affected her ideas and appreciation for 19th-century ballet.

Smith is professor of music at the University of Oregon School of Music and Dance, where she teaches courses on western art music and musical theater. She earned a PhD in musicology from Yale University.