Midlothian, VA. 804.378.2527

Lifelong Learning Chesterfield

History, Humanities and International Studies - Fall 2017              

Lifelong Learning Institute 
in Chesterfield                         

                                                                                    Not an LLI member? Join here now. It's easy!   

The Ancient Near East                              

Wednesday                                   HS173096          


Sept 6, 13, 20, 27, Oct 4, 11

Instructor(s): Glenn Markus

From the end of the last Ice Age until the emergence of the civilizations of Greece and Rome, the most advanced societies lived in the Ancient Near East. It was here that the fundamental transition from hunting and gathering to farming first took place. Here also were the first temples and cities, the first metalworking, the first writing, the first kingdoms, the first empires. The heartland of the Ancient Near East was Mesopotamia, the fertile plains watered by the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. This course examines these very ancient times.


Current Events                             

Wednesday                                   HS173003          


Sept 6, 27, Oct 25, Nov 15, Dec 6

Instructor(s): Fred Nelson

Each class begins with a short introduction by the moderator, who will suggest current event topics of international, national, state, and local importance.  Students will determine the choice of topics for a round-table discussion in which everyone's viewpoint is important and during which differing opinions are always respected.


The Virginia War Memorial: History and Artifacts                                       

Thursday                                       HS173336          


Sept 7

Instructor(s): James Triesler

The Virginia War Memorial, located in downtown Richmond, VA, is one of the largest and most elaborate memorials of its kind. The Memorial features the names of over 12,000 Virginians who made the ultimate sacrifice from World War II through the present. This session will describe the history of the Virginia War Memorial since its opening in 1956, and will feature artifacts on display at the Memorial, as well as highlight the educational and patriotic programs that go on throughout the year.


Africa at a Glance                                       

Friday                               HS173326          


Sept 8, 15, 22, 29, Oct 6, 13, 20, Nov 3, 10, 17, Dec 1, 8, 15

Instructor(s): Emmanuel and Sombo M. Chunda

Africa is one of the wealthiest regions in the world in terms of natural resources. With a land area of 11.7 million square miles, about 20.4% of the world’s total land area, the continent further has reserves of valuable minerals. For example coltan, a mineral used in smart phones and computers, is found and mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Diamonds, gold, copper and bauxite are also found in Africa in abundance. Africa is the second largest continent in the world with tropical rain-forests, savanna/grasslands, deserts and the Mediterranean climates. It boasts of the longest river in the world and one of the seven natural wonders of the world. Some largest games reserves in the world are in Africa. It is home to 1.2 billion people; over 800 ethnic groups and over 1,000 languages are spoken in Africa. For many decades, Africa has been referred to as the Dark Continent. Join us as we explore Africa, its beautiful people, culture, traditions, its opportunities and challenges. We shall answer some of those questions you have had for years like, “Is it still a dark region?” and, “Do people live in trees with a pride of Lions in the neighborhood?”. Come listen to the stories untold and explore Africa with us! Who knows? You might just be landing in Africa for your next summer holiday!


Anthropology: Collapse of Complex Societies                                 

Monday                                         HS173002          


Sept 11, 18, 25, Oct 2, 16, 23, 30, Nov 6, 13, 20, 27, Dec 4

Instructor(s): Annebel Lewis

Complex Societies are characterized by centralized decision-making, high information flow, great coordination of parts, formal channels of communication and pooling of resources. Symbolism is the stuff of which nations are made.  Ritual and symbolism are means of expressing communality and national solidarity without requiring common beliefs. Collapse is fundamentally a sudden, pronounced loss of an established level of sociopolitical complexity. Ritual, though not a cause of collapse, does play an influential role in the maintenance or transition of power or the eventual collapse because they are often methods used to ensure social order as well as reinforcement of important societal codes that allow a society to operate smoothly.  Complex societies which eventually collapse demonstrate evidence that traditional ritual has disappeared, changed in content, or no longer fulfills its seductive role.  In this class we will examine several complex societies including Mycenae, Western Roman Empire, lowland Classic Maya, Cahokia, and Nazi Germany.


The Voices of World War II                                    

Wednesday                                   HS173327          


Sept 13, 20, Oct 4, 11, 18, Nov 8, 29, Dec 13

Instructor(s): James Triesler

James Triesler is the Director of Education for the Virginia War Memorial and has read thousands of letters and interviewed hundreds of veterans from World War II. Using artifacts, film footage, and the words of those who experienced the war, James will teach about a variety of aspects, from the coming of war in the 1930s to the use of the atomic bomb; from the invasion of Europe to life on the Home Front. Much of the focus of the class will be on the intimate experience of the war through the personal stories of those who lived during that time period. Here is a list of the topics that will be presented: The Decisive Moment: Violating the Treaty of Versailles; Pearl Harbor: The Coming of War in the Pacific; For the Duration: The Home Front, the Need for Labor and Raw Materials and the Role of Women in Winning the War; V-Mail and Telegrams: Communication during WWII; Censorship and Family Codes; Island Hopping and the War in the Pacific; The Importance of D-Day; The Last German Offensive: The Battle of the Bulge; and Truman’s Difficult Decision: The Atomic Bomb and Operation Olympic.


The Golden Age of Radio                                        

Thursday                                       HS173328          


Sept 14, 21, 28, Oct 5

Instructor(s): John G. DeMajo

The railroads may have built America, but it was Radio that built American culture. Come with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear as engineer and communications historian, John DeMajo, takes you on a journey to a time before the advent of television, when Radio and the Theater Of The Mind brought a nation of many cultures together. We will explore popular comedy, news, drama and variety shows of the day as America faced The Roaring Twenties, Great Depression, World War II and the transition to television.


Hurricanes Strike the Gulf Coast                                         

Friday                               HS173005          


Sept 15

Instructor(s): Hans Oppe

Between 2005 and 2008, the Gulf Coast was struck by three major hurricanes: Katrina, Rita and Ike. The instructor will talk about the formation of hurricanes and the disaster relief work he was involved in after the hurricanes made landfall. Pictures from the Great Galveston Hurricane of September 1900 will also be included in the presentation.


Great Decisions                                          

Tuesday                                         HS173089           *$30


Sept 19, Oct 17, Nov 7, Dec 5

Instructor(s): Bob Ferguson

The Great Decisions editorial board prepares a book each year covering 8 topics related to foreign affairs. We will cover the last three topics in the 2017 book during this session. A final class is also scheduled in December to provide an update on topics of interest or catch up on new developments. This course continues our coverage of one topic per month.  Since each topic is different and independent, new students can join at any time.  During the class we review the information from the book, view a DVD on the subject, and then share our comments and opinions on the subject of the month. During the fall session we plan to cover "Latin America's Political Pendulum" in September, "Prospects for Afghanistan and Pakistan" in October, "Nuclear Security" in November, and a Year in Review in December. Purchase of the book through LLI is optional, and payment is due at registration.


Nazi Millionaires                                         

Wednesday                                   HS173286          


Sept 20, 27

Instructor(s): Kenneth D. Alford

During the final days of World War II, German SS officers crammed trains, cars, and trucks full of gold, currency, and jewels, and headed for the mountains of Austria. Fearful of arrest and determined to keep the stolen loot out of Allied hands they concealed their treasures and fled. Although most of the men were eventually apprehended, many managed to evade capture making their way into South America. The intensive postwar Allied investigation that followed recovered but a sliver of this mountain of gold. Nazi Millionaires is based upon thousands of pages of unpublished and recently declassified intelligence memorandums, police reports, letters diaries, journals and related documents. We follow Adolf Eichmann who made a last ditch effort to hide millions in gold in a small Austrian pasture before fleeing to Argentina. The real story behind SS officer Kurt Becher and Zionist Rudolf Kastner, who traded their souls for gold in Budapest is revealed. Also the enigmatic, Frederick Schwend with his fortune along with Klaus Barbie and their getaway into South America is detailed. The personal items belonging to Adolf Hitler, Eva Braun other Nazis were of interest to the Allies. What happened to these valuables and what fate befell these people? Students will have an opportunity to explore these areas in detail.


The White House of the Confederacy: a Victorian Masterpiece                              

Tuesday                                         HS173196          


Sept 26

Instructor(s): Waite Rawls

We normally think of all of the history that happened in the White House of the Confederacy, but this course will concentrate on the architectural style of and the Victorian decoration inside the White House. Come learn about the sometimes great and sometimes curious features of one of Virginia’s most historic structures.


Global Cultural Geography: The Middle East Past and Present                               

Tuesday                                         HS173087          


Oct 3, 10

Instructor(s): William Seay

Cultural geography is one of the two major branches of geography (versus physical geography) and is often called human geography. Cultural geography is the study of the many cultural aspects found throughout the world and how they relate to the spaces and places where they originate and then travel as people continually move across various areas.


Threats to Ségou, Richmond’s Sister City in Mali, West Africa                                

Thursday                                       HS173133          


Oct 12

Instructor(s): Robin Poulton

Mali is a beautiful country south of the Sahara. This is the land of Timbuktu and Tuaregs with turbans riding camels across the sand dunes of the Sahara Desert. This is the land of the Lion King, whose medieval Empire spanned the great Niger River and supplied most of Europe’s gold before the 1500s. In this beautiful country, Richmond has a Sister City. Ségou is the former capital of the 18th century Bambara Kingdoms, and it has many cultural and historical links with Richmond. Dr. Poulton has written a new book entitled, "The Limits of Democracy and the Postcolonial Nation State: Mali's democratic experiment falters, while jihad and terrorism grow in the Sahara", which tells the story of the first ten years of Richmond and Ségou as Sister Cities. This course will aim to answer the question: “Are drug smuggling and terrorism a threat to Ségou, Richmond’s Sister City in Mali, West Africa?”


The Sixties: Part 1                                      

Thursday                                       HS173325          


Oct 19, 26, Nov 2, 9

Instructor(s): Dr. John Lemza

War, protest, Flower Power and tie-dyed imaginings. We will examine the political, social, and cultural aspects of the United States during the tumultuous “Sixties.” It was a time of transformation for America driven by the engines of shifting demographics, emerging ideologies, and disparate movements that repudiated existing conditions and rigid social norms, and lent their energies to revisions of the traditional consensus. In that context, the course will begin the investigation of the long decade that began with the Beat Generation of the 1950s and resonated through the “Me Decade” of the 1970s.


Founding NATO and Its Evolution                                       

Tuesday                                         HS173329          


Oct 31, Nov 14, 28

Instructor(s): Martin Fisher

This three-part lecture series covers NATO’s charter and objectives, how it came about and how it dealt with the Cold War. It will discuss its funding and buying platforms and weapons. When the Cold War ended in 1990, NATO changed its operation and expanded its membership as countries broke away from the USSR. NATO’s current organization and funding and how its political side operates will also be covered. Finally, the wars and military engagements NATO has been involved with will be discussed, as well as what have been the major crises.


The Electoral College Examined: Does My Vote Matter?   

Wednesday                                   HS173335          


Nov 1

Instructor(s): Gary Porter

The Electoral College has come under fire recently. Why was it designed this way? What were the framers trying to accomplish? Many today want to replace the Electoral College with a National Popular Vote. Is this in our best interests? These questions and more will be answered in this course.


Civil War Museum Treasures                                 

Friday                               HS173330          


Nov 10

Instructor(s): Kenneth D. Alford

A Bible, an officer's mess kit, a cane arm chair and a blood stained note...At first glance these items might not seem to have much in common. But in closer examination they prove to be some of the most interesting artifacts of the Civil War. This course details memorabilia in museums in 21 states and provides matchless artifacts in their collections. The museums are described with details on how each artifact came to be in that location and a narrative about each item will be presented.


First Ladies of Virginia: Fashionable Politics                                    

Friday                               HS173332          


Nov 10

Instructor(s): Sherry Graves and Elizabeth Watkins-Morris

This course will provide a survey of fashions worn by the first ladies of Virginia, such as Mrs. Washington, Tyler, Davis, Arthur, and Wilson while in the White House(s). How did political issues of the time influence their choices (or not)? Come hear from the two instructors who will be in attire specific to two of the first ladies being discussed!


Earthquake in Peru                                    

Friday                               HS173100          


Nov 17

Instructor(s): Hans Oppe

The 8.0 magnitude earthquake that struck the coastal region of Peru in 2007, killed over 1000 people and left tens of thousands homeless. The instructor went with the Salvation Army into the region to assist those in need.


Pre-Columbian History                             

Wednesday                                   HS173331          


Dec 6, 13

Instructor(s): Kenneth D. Alford

Hundreds of years before the Europeans invaded the Americas, three large city/states had flourished and disappeared. These city/states, Chaco Canyon (New Mexico), Teotihuacan and Chichen Itza (Mexico), will be examined in depth. This class will begin in the year 1000 B.C., when the Olmecs created the first proper civilization in Mesoamerica along the Gulf of Mexico. It was the Olmecs that carved the large stone head and organized many ceremonial centers. Their decline resulted in the rise and influencing of the Mayan civilization, followed a thousand years later by the rise of the Zapotec and creation of the city of Mont Alban near Oaxaca. This course will explore the varying cultures collectively called Mound Builders where these prehistoric inhabitants lived principally along the Mississippi River valley in North America. During a 5,000-year period, they constructed various styles of earthen mounds for religious and ceremonial, burial, and elite living areas. In the American southwest between 850 and 1250 A.D., the Anasazi built Chaco Canyon as a major center of culture for thousands of inhabits. This class will present in detail several astronomical events, the Mayan written language and their remarkable numerical counting system. The instructor has firsthand knowledge on this subject, as he has traveled and studied in all the locations in this presentation.


Letters from a Soviet Prison and a Son's Search for the Truth                                

Monday                                         HS173334           *$25


Dec 11

Instructor(s): Francis Gary Powers, Jr.

In 2015, Steven Spielberg directed the Academy Award-winning film, “Bridge of Spies,” about the exchange of CIA U-2 pilot, Francis Gary Powers, for KGB Colonel Rudolph Abel. This course will separate fact from fiction and provide an in-depth overview of the Cold War, U-2 Incident, and a son’s search for the truth through the pilot’s personal journal and correspondence from Soviet prison. On May 1, 1960, Francis Gary Powers, Sr., was shot down by a surface-to-air missile while flying over the Soviet Union. Powers bailed out and parachuted safely to the ground where he was captured by the KGB and held for interrogation. America’s secret reconnaissance missions were exposed and President Eisenhower was forced to admit to aerial spying. After extensive questioning by the KGB, Powers was convicted of spying and sentenced to ten years in prison. In February 1962, he and a detained American student were traded for captured Soviet spy Rudolf Abel. If you would like a copy of the new book, “Letters from a Soviet Prison: The Personal Journal and Correspondence of CIA U-2 Pilot Francis Gary Powers,” simply pay the optional course fee at time of registration, and you will receive your signed copy at the class!


Life of the Civil War Soldier                                    

Thursday                                       HS173333          


Dec 14

Instructor(s): Ken Chandler

This course will provide a large display of U.S. and C.S. flags, will explain where they came from and share how they were used. The instructor will also show food that a soldier would have daily, how they lived between battles, the music they played and the weapons they used. This program will be educational, entertaining, musical and humorous.


About Fees
Your Lifelong Learning Institute membership gives you access to all of LLI classes and trips, most without any additional costs. There are some classes and trips which require additional fees. Where there are additional fees, those fees must be paid at the time of registration. Fees can be paid by check, cash or credit card. If paying by check, please clearly indicate the classes and trips being covered.