Midlothian, VA. 804.378.2527

Lifelong Learning Chesterfield

History, Humanities and International Studies - Spring 2020


Lifelong Learning Institute 
in Chesterfield                         

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

History of the United States                                     

Monday                                           HS201421           

9:30-11:00                        

Jan 6, 13, 27, Feb 3, 10, 24, March 2, 9, 16, 23, 30

Instructor(s): Timothy Pace

This course will explore our nation’s history covering the period from 1800 to 1850. The subject matter will pertain to the start of a fledgling democracy. Discussion of individuals such as Hamilton, Adams and Jefferson will also be covered along with Jacksonian democracy, southern society and the defense of slavery preceding the Civil War. A Great Courses DVD will be viewed (two lectures per class), and students will be encouraged to participate in discussion following each lecture.

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Abraham Lincoln: Humble Man, Great President                                           

Tuesday                                           HS201416           

9:30-11:00                        

Jan 7, 14, 21, 28, Feb 4, 11, 18, 25

Instructor(s): Shep Smith

As the nation approached the 1860 election, the country was divided over the issues of slavery and states' rights. Communities, political parties, families and even church denominations were split. The best political minds and compromises had failed to resolve the issues. Abraham Lincoln was born in a one-room log cabin with a dirt floor and had grown up in poverty. He probably only had one year of formal education but read every book that he could borrow. At an early age he joined his father in the fields and gained so much skill with an ax that he became known as "the rail splitter." He hated manual labor and preferred to spend time reading which caused conflict with his father. He left home as soon as possible and worked a number of jobs while he read law. He then became one of the most successful lawyers in Illinois. When Lincoln was elected the sixteenth president in 1860, the American people did not know what to expect. His resume' was largely blank. He had never been vice president, a senator, a governor, a cabinet officer, or a general. He had only served one undistinguished term in the House. Yet this unknown country lawyer successfully led the nation through its greatest crisis of the Civil War and is now considered to be one of its greatest presidents.

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Simpler Times and Current Reality                                        

Tuesday                                           HS201445           

10:00-11:00                      

Jan 7, 14, 21, 28

Instructor(s): John Bennett

It’s always tempting to look back to the past when “things were a little simpler.” Many of those things have changed, usually for the better but often in a more complicated format. Others have faded from importance for most at least. Change is going to happen; but maybe modifications could improve things in our current reality. This course will reflect on the simpler times, consider the importance of some of these past realities to today’s world and discuss how efforts could be modified today to reflect that importance. Would modifications improve things or not? The following topics will be considered in class: (1) Conversing vs. texting or emailing; (2) Outcomes earned vs. entitlements; (3) Good manners vs. no or bad manners; and (4) A few TV channels vs. cable TV. A short introductory video clip will be shown at the start of each class followed by discussion.

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Alexander Hamilton A: Visionary of Modern America                                  

Tuesday                                           HS201440           

11:30-1:00                        

Jan 7, 14, 28, Feb 4, 11, 25, March 10, 24

Instructor(s): Shep Smith

Please register for only one session (A or B) to allow all students a chance to participate. Alexander Hamilton was the most unlikely Founding Father. No other founder had to deal with the shame and misery of early childhood as did Hamilton. Hamilton was born out of wedlock in the Caribbean and grew up in poverty. His father abandoned the family when he was 10 and his mother died when he was 13. He was essentially an orphan who supported himself as a clerk in a shipping company. With the financial help of a group of benefactors, he was able to reach New York in 1773 for education. During the Revolution, Hamilton became General Washington's chief aide. He later became the Secretary of Treasury and placed the nation on a solid financial foundation. Because of Hamilton's low birth, he was thin-skinned and quick to take offense. This led to numerous quarrels and conflicts during Hamilton's adult life. The final quarrel was with longtime rival Aaron Burr which led to Hamilton's death in a duel in 1804.

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Anthropology Discussion:  Culture Matters                                   

Wednesday                                     HS201337           

12:00-1:30                        

Jan 8, Feb 12, March 11, April 1

Instructor(s): Annebel Lewis

This is a discussion group. Anthropology studies not only what we've learned about the past and other cultures but how we can apply what we've learned in order to better understand the present. Culture shapes everything we do, and it helps explain how two people can look at the same circumstances and see very different things. Cultural intelligence (CQ) helps one adjust to cultural differences regardless of the context. Culture is like an iceberg and most of it lies hidden beneath the surface. What is culture? How do you know when it's cultural and when it's personality? This discussion group will explore ways to uncover the deeper cultural values that lie beneath a specific cultural custom.

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Alexander Hamilton B: Visionary of Modern America                                  

Thursday                                          HS201441           

9:30-11:00                        

Jan 9, 16, 23, 30, Feb 6, 13, 20, 27

Instructor(s): Shep Smith

Please register for only one session (A or B) to allow all students a chance to participate. Alexander Hamilton was the most unlikely Founding Father. No other founder had to deal with the shame and misery of early childhood as did Hamilton. Hamilton was born out of wedlock in the Caribbean and grew up in poverty. His father abandoned the family when he was 10 and his mother died when he was 13. He was essentially an orphan who supported himself as a clerk in a shipping company. With the financial help of a group of benefactors, he was able to reach New York in 1773 for education. During the Revolution, Hamilton became General Washington's chief aide. He later became the Secretary of Treasury and placed the nation on a solid financial foundation. Because of Hamilton's low birth, he was thin-skinned and quick to take offense. This led to numerous quarrels and conflicts during Hamilton's adult life. The final quarrel was with longtime rival Aaron Burr which led to Hamilton's death in a duel in 1804.

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Ten Crazy Tuesdays: Unforgettable U.S. Elections                                          

Monday                                           HS201375           

11:15-12:45                      

Jan 13, 27, Feb 3, 10, 24, March 2, 9, 16, 23, 30

Instructor(s): Edward Blackwell

An electoral tie? A four-way electoral split? A special commission to determine which electoral votes are legitimate? All have happened in the 200-plus year history of our republic! This course includes concepts such as original intent, "the flexible document," republicanism, democracy, the two-party system, regionalism, third parties, federalism, rule of law, the electoral college, legislative power, and the role of the media in elections. What is legal? What is right? Are the two always reconciled to your satisfaction? The course will focus on the controversial elections of 1800, 1824, 1860, 1876, 1888, 1912, 1968, 1992, 2000, and 2016. Students will learn about "election deciders" like Alexander Hamilton, William Crawford, John Breckinridge, Ross Perot, and Ralph Nader. The foreign policy, economic development, and social climate of this nation has been and will be shaped by…those crazy November Tuesdays! Optional reading: "The Indispensable Electoral College" by Tara Ross.

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The Punic Wars: Delenda Est Carthago                                

Wednesday                                     HS201442           

9:30-11:30                        

Jan 15, 22, 29

Instructor(s): Glenn Markus

"Carthage must be destroyed!" So argued Cato the Elder, demanding that once and for all Rome should annihilate its most formidable enemy in the Mediterranean world. Rome had battled twice against the Carthaginians in a struggle for empire. The First and Second Punic Wars were both hard-fought contests in which the outcomes were very much in doubt. This course is about the three Punic Wars that led to Rome's ultimate dominance in the Mediterranean and North African world.

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Great Decisions                              

Tuesday                                           HS201089            *$35

1:30-3:00                           

Jan 21, Feb 18, March 17, April 28

Instructor(s): Bob Ferguson

This course meets once a month during the year for learning and discussion of topics related to international issues. The new 2020 edition of the Foreign Policy Association's Great Decisions book will be used for eight of the classes during the year.  Other topics, selected by the instructor, will be covered in the four other classes. Usually, a DVD or videos related to the topic are viewed, then discussed.  Students contribute their own information and views related to the discussion area. The topics for this session are: January - Hong Kong, Taiwan, and China (not in book); February - Climate Change and the Global Order (book topic); March - India and Pakistan (book topic); and April - Red Sea Security (book topic). The timing of a topic might be altered depending on new developments in international relations. The book is available for purchase through LLI during Open Registration only, and payment is due at the time of registration; however, the book is not required for the course.

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Current Events Discussion A                                    

Wednesday                                     HS201003           

12:30-2:00                        

Jan 22, Feb 26, March 18, April 22

Instructor(s): Roy Dahlquist

Please register for only one session (A or B) to allow all students a chance to participate. This course will begin 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.

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Current Events Discussion B                                    

Wednesday                                     HS201004           

2:15-3:45                           

Jan 22, Feb 26, March 18, April 22

Instructor(s): Roy Dahlquist

Please register for only one session (A or B) to allow all students a chance to participate. This course will begin 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.

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Anthropology: Indigenous People of North America                                     

Friday                                 HS201002           

10:00-12:00                      

Jan 24, Feb 28, March 27, April 24

Instructor(s): Annebel Lewis

Around 25,000 years ago humans began living undisturbed on the vast tracts of the North American continent. They developed versatile, diverse and sophisticated cultures in response to the natural environment including the ancestral Pueblo societies of the Southwest and the elaborate coastal settlements of California and the Pacific Northwest. Also, these early North Americans developed the Moundbuilders societies of the Eastern Woodlands reaching their peak in the Mississippian culture of the South and Southeast and the mounds of the ancient city of Cahokia. Suggested reading: The First North Americans by Brian Fagan.

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An Eclectic History of Black Virginia                                      

Wednesday                                     HS201447           

10:30-12:00                      

Jan 29, Feb 5

Instructor(s): DuBois Miller

Events and personalities that are part of the history of African Americans in Virginia from 1619 to 1976 will be discussed. The course will highlight the coming of Africans to Virginia and how their presence shaped racial attitudes across America. Handouts and activities will be included in the course.

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Eppington Plantation: The 250th Anniversary                                  

Monday                                           HS201318           

11:30-12:30                      

Feb 3

Instructor(s): Bryan Truzzie

This course will address the history of Eppington Plantation focusing on the historical importance of this site. Details of the many unique activities that surrounded the special 250th anniversary celebration of the site last October will be shared.

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Changing Images of American Masculinity in Movies and Media: Man Up!                                        

Tuesday                                           HS201439           

9:30-11:00                        

Feb 4, 11, 18, 25, March 3, 10, 17, 24

Instructor(s): Les Schaffer

For men and women, this course examines the question, “What do we mean when we use the terms ‘masculinity,’ ‘masculine,’ or even the ‘American male’?” Students will explore the multiple, contradictory, complicated and changing images of masculinity on the street, in film and TV, literature, popular secular and religious media, fairy and folk tales, as well as cultural and political rhetoric. Today's emerging sexual and gender fluidity and equality contributes to the conflict between different concepts of masculinity. The old codes may no longer match the reality of today's cultural changes. The time-tested strategies used by 'real men' to measure up to the self-made, rugged individualistic role models of the past may be unwinnable in the 21st century. Students are invited to bring in their own favorite films, TV shows, literature, cultural history and artifacts that helped define one's personal images of what it means to be a man in the new-emerging America.

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Defending Civil War Richmond 1861-1865                                         

Friday                                 HS201411           

9:30-10:30                        

Feb 7

Instructor(s): Hank Holland

This course will cover the Confederate Defenses that protected Richmond during the Civil War 1861-1865.

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Mythology: African Mythology and Folklore                                     

Friday                                 HS201443           

10:00-12:00                      

Feb 14

Instructor(s): Annebel Lewis

Epics are an example of a myth's power to capture the spirit, the beliefs, and the customs of a people, and to convey a sense of a way of life that vanished long ago. They are rich and multifaceted, dealing with virtue, vanity, courage, morality and immortality - the experience of life and what it means to be human. This course will present two epics from West Africa - The Dausi of the Soninke people and The Bakaridjan Kone of the Bambara Kingdom of Segu. They recount the adventures of legendary and historical heroes who often embark on great quests overcoming significant obstacles in pursuit of a goal and then return victorious having been changed in the process - the hero's journey.

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The American West:  History, Myth and Legacy                              

Thursday                                          HS201420           

11:30-1:00                        

Feb 20, 27, March 5, 12, 19, 26

Instructor(s): Timothy Pace

This course will continue the study of 200 years of frontier history. This session will cover the period from the transcontinental railroad, homesteaders on the plains, western violence, and law and order, ending with the mythologies associated with the old west. A Great Courses DVD will be viewed (two lectures per class), and students will be encouraged to participate in discussion following each lecture.

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Civilian Conservation Corps and Virginia State Parks                                    

Monday                                           HS201449           

2:00-3:00                           

Feb 24

Instructor(s): Aaron-Paula Thompson

By March of 1933, 13.6 million people were unemployed in the United States. In the face of this emergency, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt created a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Roosevelt intended to put unemployed youth to work in forests, parks and range lands across the country. The CCC built more than 40,000 bridges, planted two billion trees, restored nearly 4,000 historic sites and structures, improved thousands of beaches, roads and shorelines, and created 800 state parks across America including six in Virginia. On June 15, 1936, just three years after the CCC began, Virginia simultaneously opened six state parks. The CCC also helped develop what would become Pocahontas State Park and the National Park Service's Prince William Forest Park. Join this course for an historical overview of the CCC and Virginia State Parks.

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Audubon's America: Wild Times                                            

Wednesday                                     HS201395           

9:30-11:00                        

March 4, 11, 18, 25

Instructor(s): Patricia Ryther

A young man in a young nation, John James Audubon had the ambitious goal of painting all the birds of America, life-size. The still-new United States was mostly wilderness, and Audubon had a small business to run and a family to support. His beloved wife, Lucy, didn’t always support his efforts, and he labored without success for years. He had little formal training in art or science, and he suffered personal rejection and financial ruin. But Audubon never gave up, and when he finally took his portfolio of paintings to Europe, his dream came true. He not only painted the birds but studied their habits, their biology, and added to the scientific understanding of how birds migrate, care for their young, and live in the natural world. This course will follow Audubon and get familiar with his world, a time of explosive growth and rapid technological change. Students will examine some of the obstacles to his success, from physical danger to personal insult, and the legacy he left for the conservationists who would follow.

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Mayan Places: Cracking the Code                                         

Wednesday                                     HS201435           

11:30-12:30                      

March 4, 11, 18, 25

Instructor(s): Rick Kinnaird

An understanding of the Mayan glyphs was not realized until the 1980s. Many of the people who did the breakthrough work are still alive and continuing their studies. This course will provide a fascinating story of mystery, hubris and ignorance. Students will go on a virtual tour of some of the major Mayan sites and the inscriptions that lead to the fuller understanding of the glyphs that are known today. Sites include: Palenque, Tikal, Calakmul, Copan. Additionally, the instructor will present on The Tablet of the Inscriptions, The Tablet of the Slaves, The Tablet of 96 Glyphs and finish with a mini glyph workshop so students can try their hand at discovery!

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Remembering the Fallen: A History of the Virginia War Memorial                                         

Wednesday                                     HS201336           

2:00-3:30                           

March 4

Instructor(s): James Triesler

Since 1956, the Virginia War Memorial has been the Commonwealth’s premier monument, museum, and educational center honoring all Virginians who have served and defended the United States from World War II through today. Learn about the history of the VWM, the Galanti Education Center, and the new C. Kenneth Wright Pavilion.

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Adventures of Hiking the Camino de Santiago in Europe                                            

Thursday                                          HS201381           

1:30-3:30                           

March 5

Instructor(s): Robert Abbott

The Camino is a series of paths and trails in Europe that all converge in the city of Santiago in northwest Spain, the resting spot for the bones of St. James. Since the 11th century, pilgrims have hiked the Camino to cleanse their souls. In more recent times the hike has changed from purely religious reasons to more spiritual and social reasons. This course is tailored to those who are possibly interested in hiking the Camino as well as those interested in learning more about the history and background of the Camino. There will be time for questions at the end!

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History of the U.S. Constitution                              

Friday                                 HS201446           

9:30-11:00                        

March 6, 13, 20

Instructor(s): Dr. John Lemza

Considered by many to be the most important foundational document of our nation, the origin and structure of the Constitution, as well as its influence on our society, are largely unknown to most Americans. This course will unpack that living document, study its controversial history and explore the ways that it shapes and informs our identity as a people. A discussion of the Electoral College will also be included.

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A Review of Rome: Republic, Empire, Holy City                               

Monday                                           HS201444           

10:30-12:00                      

March 9, 16, 23, 30, April 20, 27

Instructor(s): Ray Nelson

This course will examine the history of Rome with all the "schisms" and "falls" including when Islam emerged. Despite all that, both worldly and spiritual "Rome" survived. Topics of study will include the following descriptions and aspects of Rome: the legendary name, triumphant, splendid, heroic, brutal, peaceful, a model for law, statesmanship, oratory, architecture, “The Vatican,” "holy," "eternal" and more. It is the home of Christ's "Vicar on Earth," is no ordinary city, and is a country within a city. Students will learn about the Second Rome, Third Rome, Babylonian Captivity Rome and more.

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Falling Creek Ironworks: The 400th Anniversary                             

Monday                                           HS201451           

11:30-12:30                      

March 16

Instructor(s): Bryan Truzzie

This course will address the importance of the first iron furnace in the New World and focus on the importance of iron production. Students will learn about the impact this industrial achievement had on the scope of iron production. The special dedication ceremony that was held and unique activities that were part of the 400th anniversary event will also be shared.

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VMI Men in Pickett's Charge                                   

Tuesday                                           HS201456           

9:30-10:30                        

March 24

Instructor(s): Waite Rawls

To any of his past students, it’s no secret the instructor went to VMI. Its graduates played a very prominent role in the Civil War particularly in Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg where 5,000 Virginians led the way. This course will deal with how many Keydets made the charge that day, the roles that they played and the results. It will be an interesting insight into the people who make the Civil War so interesting.

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Monuments Men                                         

Tuesday                                           HS201292           

11:30-1:00                        

March 24, 31

Instructor(s): Kenneth D. Alford

Van Eyck's "Ghent Altarpiece," Michelangelo’s "Statue of Madonna and Child," and Vermeer's "The Artist in His Studio"; what happened to these celebrated artworks and other treasures procured by the Third Reich during the thirties and forties? Monuments Men - Nazi Europe answers that question while telling a remarkable story of greed and avarice, with war-torn Europe as its backdrop. More than fifty years of research and documentation have revealed the extent to which the German Forces stole from the land they occupied and portrays the American military as both liberators and plunderers themselves. Van Eyck's "Ghent Altarpiece" and Michelangelo’s "Statue of Madonna and Child" were featured in the movie "Monuments Men." The course will start by revealing fact verses fiction in this excellent movie.

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Elizabeth Van Lew and the Unionist Underground of Richmond                              

Wednesday                                     HS201453           

1:00-3:00                           

March 25

Instructor(s): Jeffry Burden

Elizabeth Van Lew, a daughter of wealth and privilege in Richmond, organized and led a highly successful espionage network in Civil War Richmond. She pulled together both leading citizens and common folk who shared her Unionist beliefs, risking her freedom and her life in the service of the United States. This course will focus on her growth from a committed but inactive young abolitionist into the dynamic and capable spymaster she became after 1861 and thereafter to a champion of political and civil rights in the post-war city. Also covered will be stories of her compatriots in the Van Lew network including such prominent Richmonders as Franklin Stearns and John Minor Botts.

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Global Cultural Geography: British America                                      

Thursday                                          HS201087           

9:30-11:00                        

March 26, April 2

Instructor(s): William Seay

This course will provide an historical and cultural geographical journey through British America from colony to colony: Virginia to New England, Pennsylvania, the Carolinas and Georgia. Students will discover various ethnic groups that contributed to a new "American" identity.

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Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun                                       

Tuesday                                           HS201322           

9:00-10:30                        

April 14

Instructor(s): Kenneth D. Alford

Few stories are better known or more poorly documented than that of the women seduced by Adolf Hitler and his final days in a Berlin Bunker. Only two women have emerged with any clarity from Adolf Hitler's shadowy private life: his youthful niece, Geli Raubal, and Eva Braun. Both died violent deaths at their own hands as did four others. Popular imagination the world over has been quick to seize on the macabre details of those affairs and the last days in the bunker in flaming Berlin, where a mad genius cringed in the rain of Soviet artillery and felt the walls of his terrible world closing in upon him. This course will cover the suicide of this scheming henchman, the defection of those who fattened on the blood he had spilled, the last-minute marriage with his blowzy mistress Eva Braun, the suicide pact they made together, and the final dispatch of their bodies to Valhalla in the flames of a funeral pyre. All this and more wrote a tawdry Wagnerian finish to this evil story.

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Defeating Germany: 75 Years After the Fall of the Third Reich                                 

Monday                                           HS201448           

11:15-12:45                      

April 20, 27

Instructor(s): James Triesler

This course will explore the rise and fall of Germany, 75 years after the conclusion of World War II. Original artifacts will be on display.

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Historic Point of Rocks                               

Tuesday                                           HS201452           

10:00-11:00                      

April 21

Instructor(s): Bryan Truzzie

This course will focus on the importance of one of the most recent historical site acquisitions in the county. Historic Point of Rocks served as the site of a major Union hospital during the Bermuda Hundred Campaign in 1864. Learn about the military battles that took place, the logistics surrounding the hospital and uncover the roles of famous individuals who were part of this site such as Clara Barton, General Benjamin Butler and President Lincoln.

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Papal History in a Nutshell                                       

Tuesday                                           HS201450           

2:00-3:30                           

April 21

Instructor(s): Dr. Bruce Colletti

The papacy is the oldest continuously active institution in the world. This course will tell the story of their push and shove over 2000 years. The story is a bottomless well of curiosities that features 266 popes (or was there a Pope Joan?) who range from the impressive and memorable to the regrettable and forgettable, as Professor Thomas F.X. Noble says. After the papacy emerges from the murky early centuries to become an accepted and then official religion of the Roman Empire, we will buckle the seat belt for the roller coaster ride that follows. Starting with St. Peter (was he really the first pope?), among the popes we’ll meet are Leo I, Gregory I and Nicholas I (all dubbed “The Great”), Gregory VII (the most important pope), Innocent III (the most powerful), Boniface VIII (the most megalomaniacal), Urban VI (the most disturbed), Benedict XIV (even the arch-enemy of Catholicism liked him), Pius VI (the “Last Pope”), Pius IX (the first infallible pope), Pius XII (the last legitimate pope according to some Catholics) and John XXIII (but there were two - while one was the most beloved pope, the other was among the most reviled).

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Bloodletting in Appalachia: Then and Now                                       

Wednesday                                     HS201454           

12:30-2:00                        

April 29

Instructor(s): Max Travis and Marshall Pearman

Using an interview format, Max will examine the influence of violence and moonshine on the way of life in Appalachia, the coal mining wars, and the feuds between the Hatfields and McCoys and Altizers and Whitakers. Recommended readings: “The Feud” by Dean King and “Bloodletting in Appalachia” by Howard Lee.

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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.