Tag Archives: History

Field Trip to Pendleton and Baker City

Central Oregon–Central Oregon member Marcia Stone and her committee are planning a three-day field trip to Pendleton and Baker City. The plan includes the Pendleton Underground Tour, tours of the Pendleton Woolen Mill and Tamastslikt Cultural Institute, with free-time visits to Hamley Saddleshop, Pendleton Center for the Arts, Heritage Station Museum, or the Pendleton Round-Up and Happy Canyon Hall of Fame. In Baker City, a tour of the Oregon Trail Cultural Center and Interpretive Center and free-time visits to the Geiser Hotel, Baker Heritage Center, the Chinese cemetery or the Leo Adler House. The return trip home may include some strategic stops in Sumpter, John Day, and Prineville.

OLLI-UO staff is requesting commitments for this special field trip by June 15. A pretrip meeting will follow with all who plan to go. Fliers and e-mail notifications will be out in early May.

Coordinators: Marcia Stone and Suzanne Butterfield

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

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.

Survey of American Literature

Central Oregon–Ann Sargent returns to explore with us the various movements of American literature as they correspond to history. A variety of stories and authors will be featured through readings and discussion. Ms. Sargent plans to present a study of the American Literary Movements, moving from Puritanism all the way through to Modernism, while highlighting how these movements correspond to events in American history. Participants learn to identify signature writing styles and features of each historical movement.

Sargent taught a three-part course about the short story last fall. She is a former college textbook editor and high school English teacher and has been teaching at the community college level for 13 years, currently as a writing instructor at COCC. Sargent’s love is American literature. She taught OLLI program classes at Bradley University in Illinois for three years (from 2005–2008) before moving to Bend.

Registration is required and the course is limited to 25 participants. Watch your e-mail for announcements. Registered members will receive short stories to read prior to the start of the course.

Ukraine’s “Revolution of Dignity” and U.S. Foreign Policy

Central Oregon–Bend resident Bruce Donahue, who recently retired as Minister-Counselor from the US Department of State, speaks about his last assignment as Deputy Chief of Mission at the United States Embassy in Kiev, Ukraine, from 2013–2015. In his presentation, Donahue reviews the often misunderstood events of the winter of 2013–2014, which led then-Ukrainian President Yanukovych to flee the country and allowed a pro-Western government to come to power. He also discusses Russia’s actions during the “Revolution of Dignity,” including the invasion of Crimea and eastern Ukraine. Finally, he outlines implications for U.S. foreign policy and lessons learned from the Ukrainian revolution.

Donahue retired from the Foreign Service in 2016 after a 33-year career as a Foreign Service Officer. During most of his career, he focused on Russia and Eastern and Central Europe, serving in Poland and Moscow. Other overseas assignments included South Korea and Armenia. Donahue received his BA from Cornell University and his MA and PhD from the University of Oregon, respectively. He has been married to his wife, Karen, for 34 years; they have four adult children.

Registration is required for this lecture.

History of Atlantis Story from Plato: Literal or Symbolic Story?

Central Oregon–Join one of our favorite presenters, Bob Harrison, who takes us through the history, exploration, and archaeology of the fabled island of Atlantis.

Atlantis has been the subject of historical and literary debate since Plato first brought it up in Athens in the fifth century B.C. It reflected something he overheard from his uncle Solon, the great liberal Athenian lawgiver, discussed at a symposium some years earlier. Solon had visited Egypt (a real tourist destination for Greeks and Romans) and had met with Egyptian priests at Memphis (Egypt’s northern capital), who told him the story of Atlantis from hieroglyphic inscriptions dated 10,000 years earlier (10,500 B.C.). It depicted a highly advanced civilization that traded with Egypt and had been destroyed by an apocalyptic event.

Atlantis went down under the sea never to be seen again. Since it was past the Pillars of Hercules, historians presumed it must have been in the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean, or even Brazil. The search continues in those locations. The mystic Edgar Casey had a vision it would be found at Bimini in the Bahamas. The steps found underwater at that location, however, went nowhere, like the rest of the sites.

There had always been a mythical ethos to this whole story since no recognized civilization existed as far back as Solon indicated (10,000 B.C.). Finally, it was realized that the Egyptian hieroglyphic sign for the number 100 had been mistranslated by the Greeks as 1,000. That meant that 10,000 years was really 1,000 years and that 15,000 B.C. was really 1500 B.C. and that the Pillars of Hercules was not at Gibraltar but at the Straits between the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. The only possible civilization at that location and time that met Solon’s description was that of the Minoans who inhabited Crete and the surrounding islands in the Eastern Mediterranean (Aegean Sea). Archaeologist Sir Arthur Evan excavated this location in the 1940s and has paved the way for new insights into the mystery of Atlantis as something far beyond a morality tale.

Bob Harrison currently teaches history classes at COCC. He recently gave a fascinating two-part lecture on Alexander the Great.

Please note: the dates for these lectures may need to be adjusted to our speaker’s schedule. Updates and preregistration will be announced via email and classroom announcements.

Styling Afro-Descendant: Connecting with Africa in Latin American Music-Dance

Eugene/Springfield–Many of the Latin American music styles that are most familiar to people in United States—salsa, samba, cumbia, and even tango—exhibit expressive connections to Africa. In this talk, UO Assistant Professor of ethnomusicology, Juan Eduardo Wolf, begins by highlighting those shared performance characteristics that are commonly associated with music styles of African heritage. He will give examples from various regions in Latin America to illustrate how different populations of African descent (Afro-descendants) have historically used these characteristics as resources to address their local musical and political challenges.

Wolf will then turn to the subject of his book project, Afro-Chile?! Styling Blackness in Music-Dance. Since Chile’s independence and expansion northward, its elite has downplayed and overlooked the role of Afrodescendants in the country’s history. At the beginning of the 21st- century, however, an organization of Afrodescendants demanding government recognition appeared along Chile’s northern border. They danced their way into the headlines, grabbing both national and international attention. Since 2006, Wolf has visited the city of Arica, documenting Afro-Chilean performances to understand the creative processes that this community has participated in. Wolf focuses on the process of styling—how performers frame themselves in relation to other performers—to discuss how and why Black people in Chile have used music-dance: first to blend in, and now to stand out. The result is to ask ourselves to rethink the connections between music-dance and the African Diaspora.


Eugene/Springfield–Downwinders, Part 1

Tuesday April 4, 2:00-4:00 pm.

Nuclear Savage: The Islands of Secret Project 4.1, a film by Adam Jonas Horowitz (2011). Between 1946 and 1958 the United States tested 67 nuclear weapons above ground on or near Bikini and Enewetok atolls in the Marshall Islands. One hydrogen bomb was 1000 times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb, blanketing populated islands with fallout. The heavily exposed people of Rongelap were then enrolled as human subjects in the top-secret Project 4.1 to study the effects of radioactivity on human beings for nearly 30 years.

Featuring recently declassified U.S. government documents, survivor testimony, and previously unseen archival footage Nuclear Savage reveals one of the most troubling chapters in modern American history-how the Marshall islanders, labeled as uncivilized, were deliberately used as human guinea pigs, with devastating results.

The film follows the islanders today as they continue to fight for justice and acknowledgement of the harms done to them. The film raises disturbing questions about racism, the U.S. government’s moral obligation to the people of the Marshall Islands, and why, decades later, the government continues to cover up the intent of the tests and Project 4.1.

Introduced by Annette Rose

Downwinders, Part 2

Tuesday April 11, 2:00-4:00 p.m.

In this follow-up session, Annette Rose, will present a general overview of US nuclear testing, from the Marshall Islands to Nevada. Bomb making, nuclear testing, and the use of nuclear energy have exposed hundreds of thousands of people to harmful radiation, and has left a legacy of waste that will remain hazardous for thousands of years. This waste presents so many problems it still lacks suitable disposal plans. And yet the government is refurbishing nuclear weapons and planning a new bomb plant. Where do we go from here?

Dividing Household Labor: Men, Women, and Money in Japan

Eugene/Springfield–People worry these days about the way our traditional household tasks have been assigned by gender; some things are women’s tasks, others are for men. In Japan, this division has been even sharper—but their assignment of tasks is quite different from ours. What does this imply about who was supposed to do what in the home and outside the home? Oregon Humanities Center Dissertation Fellow, Hillary Maxson has studied women’s magazines written for Japanese housewives over the years. Come and discover what women were told they should, how that has changed, and how it compares with what we were taught.