Tag Archives: Study Groups

Biology and Human Behavior: The Neurological Origins of Individuality

Central Oregon–As described in The Great Courses, the lectures in this DVD series implores when are we responsible for our own actions, and when are we in the grip of biological forces beyond our control? This intriguing question is the scientific province of behavioral biology, a field that explores interactions among the brain, mind, body, and environment that have a surprising influence on how we behave—from the people we fall in love with, to the intensity of our spiritual lives, to the degree of our aggressive impulses. In short, it is the study of how our brains make us the individuals that we are.

Biology and Human Behavior: The Neurological Origins of Individuality is an interdisciplinary approach to this fascinating subject. In 24 lectures, we investigate how the human brain is sculpted by evolution, constrained or freed by genes, shaped by early experience, modulated by hormones, and otherwise influenced to produce a wide range of behaviors, some of them abnormal. You will see that little can be explained by thinking about any one of these factors alone because some combination of influences is almost always at work.

A prominent neurobiologist, zoologist, and MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient, professor Sapolsky is a spellbinding lecturer who is also very entertaining. In a feature story in The New York Times, he was compared to a cross between renowned primatologist Jane Goodall and a borscht belt comedian. An article in the alumni magazine at Stanford University, where he teaches, called him “a man who exudes adrenaline and has a reservoir of intensity deep enough to spin the turbines at Hoover Dam.”

Our sessions will be facilitated by Russ Hopper and fellow OLLI-UO members.

Native Peoples of North America

Central Oregon–Native Peoples of North America recounts an epic story of resistance and accommodation, persistence and adaptation, extraordinary hardship and survival across more than 500 years of colonial encounter. Our 12-week study group will be based on the insightful and unique Great Courses DVD series, which combines images and rare artifacts from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian with the unparalleled knowledge of professor Daniel M. Cobb of the University of North Carolina. According to The Great Courses website, “This course provides a multidisciplinary view of American history, revealing new perspectives on the historical and contemporary experiences of Indigenous peoples, and their significant impact on the history of our country. Professor Cobb brings his experience as an author and teacher to recount an absolutely fascinating, larger-than-life story across a timespan of more than 500 years.”

Course Manager: Pat Ackley

Morning or afternoon session to choose from, 10:00 a.m. or 1:30 p.m. Preregistration is required, and will open the first week of February. Watch your e-mail for an announcement.

More Information on OLLI UO Membership

Science Roundtable

olli-uo-science-roundtable-4Central Oregon–Join the science cohort for a special, one-time “science roundtable,” during which participants bring a science topic to discuss with others. Members can bring an article, a book, or just something they have been curious about. This is an opportunity to see if others in the group can shed any light on the topic in question. This is not structured but will have a facilitator to help ensure all who wish can participate. Attendees do not need to have a science background to join in or to just listen. As always, all are welcome no matter your background.

Understanding, Enjoying, and Interpreting Film

olli-uo-understanding-and-interpreting-film-1Central Oregon–Our new film series offers members an opportunity to understand and enjoy film as an art form, in a deeper and more fulfilling way. Participants of Understanding, Enjoying, and Interpreting Film come together to share their individual perceptions of what the screenwriter and director attempt to convey to the audience. Members also discuss how the film may relate to today’s world. On the third Tuesday of each month through next May, we screen a movie and hold an engaging conversation about its elements.

Much is covered in the first class on November 15. Guest speakers Randy Rogers, cinematographer, and Dean Drabin, audio engineer, discuss film theory and filmmaking. Randy and Dean also share their knowledge of the film industry. Members watch a short video on the ADR (automated dialog replacement) process, followed by a discussion on how the monthly films will be selected. The first session concludes with a viewing of the film Amblin’, written and directed by a very young Steven Spielberg.

Members attending the December 20 session will propose a list and select films for future classes by voting (very similar to how the OLLI-UO book groups choose their reading selections). The film scheduled for the December 20 session is High Noon, which participants will view and discuss. Interested members are encouraged to come to the first session prepared with suggestions to comprise our list.

Here are some websites to help look up films that one might consider:

  • www.afi.com/100Years/movies.aspx
  • www.imdb.com/list/ls000049962/
  • https://www.rottentomatoes.com/ top/bestofrt/

Take part in a class that results in a deeper appreciation of the films we choose to watch, as well as a realization of what we get out of them. Mark your calendars now! The film series occurs the third Tuesday of every month from November 2016 to May 2017. Preregistration is not required to attend this series.

Facilitators: Bonnie Campbell and Sharon Dawn 

From Monet to Van Gogh: A History of Impressionism

1Central Oregon–Join facilitator Burt Litman for a reprise of this much-loved DVD study group. The Impressionists “appeared in a period of upheaval. They saw the rebuilding of Paris, the rise of industrialism, the ruin of the Franco-Prussian war. They displayed their startling and shocking works in a series of exhibitions from 1874 to 1886. And by the 1890s, this ‘loose coalition’ of artists who rebelled against the formality of the French Academy had created the most famous artistic movement in history.”

In these recorded lectures, “Professor Brettell is your expert curator and guide to a movement that created a new, intensely personal vision of the world.

Separate analysis is given to the important Impressionist exhibitions and their contemporary critics like the writer Baudelaire. Among key topics covered are the public and private worlds of Parisian modernity, life in the countryside, the new leisure class, and the influential legacy of Impressionism.” (The Great Courses).

Our study group will use the Great Course series of lectures as the basis of sessions that will introduce members to the style, subject, and function of Impressionist painting by artists including Monet, Renoir, Cassatt, Cézanne, Toulouse-Lautrec, and van Gogh. Refer to the newsletter schedule on pages 4–5 for listings of each session’s topics.

A Visual Guide to the Universe with the Smithsonian 

A Visual Guide to the Universe with the Smithsonian

Central Oregon–Our new science series will be based on an 18-lecture course developed by The Great Courses and the Smithsonian. They describe it, in part, as follows:

“For the first time in human history, we can see the full splendor and mystery of the universe, thanks to instruments on scores of planetary probes and observatories that have been launched into space since the 1990s.

From Saturn’s rings to the heart of the Milky Way, and from colliding galaxies to cataclysmic gamma-ray bursts at the edges of visible space, some of the most spectacular sights in the cosmos are now as easy to see as the stars above. Many of these cosmic phenomena occur at wavelengths of light that are beyond the range of human vision and can only be detected by special instruments in space.”

“The dazzling new images are not just a data bonanza for scientists; they have entered popular culture, appearing in art galleries and coffee-table books, as well as on posters, T-shirts, and even postage stamps. Above all, this stunning archive is providing a new perspective on our dynamic universe.” (The Great Courses)

Tune in on Thursday afternoons to unlock the keys to understanding the large-scale structure of the universe. OLLI member Jim Hammond facilitates our session discussions.

 

Music Appreciation Study Group

Each 90 minute session generally consists of 1) a video lecture using instructional material produced by The Great Courses, academic institutions, local libraries or from other sources; 2) listening to and discussing recorded music on CD or videotape. Time is allotted for discussions among those in attendance of current or past musical events in our community.

Food: A Cultural Culinary History 

Food: A Cultural Culinary History

Central Oregon–If you love history and food, you’re in for an exciting adventure! This new study group offers a deeply insightful lens on human history, shedding new light on the evolution of social and political systems, cultural interactions, economic empires, human migrations, and more. In the process, you will discover the stunning richness of world cultures as seen in their distinctive food traditions, and greatly broaden your own enjoyment of fine food.

The scope of this course is global, covering civilizations of Asia, America, Africa, and Europe and how cultures in each of these continents domesticated unique staples that literally enabled these civilizations to expand and flourish. The course also covers marginalized and colonized cultures that were dominated largely to feed or entice the palates of the great.

Eighteen weekly sessions will be built around lectures from a Great Courses DVD series featuring Professor Ken Albala of the University of the Pacific. With this new topic, we’ll travel the world discovering fascinating food lore and culture of all regions and eras—as an eye-opening lesson in history as well as a unique window on what we eat today. The result is a compelling inquiry that will change the way you look at both history and food itself.

OLLI-UO member Pat Ackley manages this course, along with other members as facilitators.

Preregistration is required and will be announced through e-mail.

Understanding Science

Understanding Science

Eugene/Springfield–This study group presents outstanding introductory college-level DVD science courses, and discusses 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 on a quarterly basis. 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.

Meets first, third and fifth Tuesdays.

Italian Language

Italian Language Class

Eugene/Springfield–Participants will be active speaking and listening to Italian by doing grammar and vocabulary exercises, watching and listening to expert speakers interact, and practicing short conversations. Cooperative learning with a partner will be important as it maximizes the opportunities to interact in Italian.

Meets weekly on Tuesdays at 4:00 p.m. This course is suitable for absolute beginners.