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Mars, Kissinger, jazz among rich topics for Vanderbilt Osher fall term

by Aug. 17, 2018, 2:01 PM

Vanderbilt's Osher Lifelong Learning classes strive to be academically stimulating without the pressure of grades or homework (Steve Green/Vanderbilt University)
Vanderbilt’s Osher Lifelong Learning classes strive to be academically stimulating without the pressure of grades or homework (Steve Green/Vanderbilt University)

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Vanderbilt will offer fall classes about life on Mars, 2018 midterms, American gun culture, and an Oz Arts production on human connections to the environment.

Other Osher classes—open to all those who are 50 and older—include Henry Kissinger’s impact on American power, a sampling of topics related to health, modern Russian culture, and an exploration of music and identity.

A jazz workshop, a class that connects great literature to challenges faced by refugees, another one on understanding the widening political and moral divide in America, steel drum band, and a small-group writing seminar are other choices.

“We strive to maintain an academically rigorous curriculum with stellar Vanderbilt faculty and community experts,” said Norma Clippard, program director for the Osher Lifelong Institute at Vanderbilt. “In addition, members enjoy the camaraderie with fellow students who are passionate about lifelong learning.”

Nashville Mayor David Briley recently spoke to an Osher Lifelong Learning class taught by former Mayor Bill Purcell (Steve Green/Vanderbilt University)
Nashville Mayor David Briley recently spoke to an Osher Lifelong Learning class taught by former Mayor Bill Purcell (Steve Green/Vanderbilt University)

All classes are individually priced.

The following courses comprise the fall term:

“Osher Steel Drum Band — Advanced,” led by Alli Puglisi, director of the Osher Advanced Steel Drum Band; A level up from the Beginning Osher Steel Band, this class moves at a fast pace and focuses on learning different styles of music. The class meets for six Sundays, beginning Oct. 7, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Blair School of Music.

“Osher Steel Drum Band — Beginner,” led by Mat Britain, director of the Osher Beginner Steel Drum Band; No musical experience is needed to join this hands-on class, which meets for six Sundays, beginning Oct. 7, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at the Blair School.

“Music that Shapes You: An Exploration of Music and Identity,” taught by Erin Charles Perez, lecturer in the musical arts teacher education program, Blair School of Music; Among her topics will be the role of music in an individual’s’ self-exploration and resiliency. The class meets for six Mondays, beginning Oct. 8, from 9:30 to 11 a.m. at St. George’s Episcopal Church.

“Our Righteous Minds: An Exploration of Moral Foundations Theory and its revelations to Political Polarization in the Trump Era,” taught by J. Thomas Laney Jr., director of the Turner Center for Church Leadership; Students will explore the key concepts of The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided over Politics and Religion, by Jonathan Haidt, a professor of ethical leadership at New York University. Students will meet for six Tuesdays, beginning Oct. 9, from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. at The Temple.

“What if Alice was a Refugee in Wonderland?” taught by Robert Barsky, professor of French, English and Jewish studies in the College of Arts and Science; This course reviews prominent stories in Western literature within the context of central characters facing challenges that are similar to those confronted by today’s refugees. The class is scheduled for six Tuesdays, beginning Oct. 9, from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. at The Temple.

“Writing Seminar: The Writing Life,” taught by Victor Judge, assistant dean for academic affairs and lecturer, Vanderbilt Divinity School; Participants will compose assignments in both prose and poetry and share their work with their peers. The course, limited to 12 new students, will meet on various Wednesdays during the academic year. The first class is Oct. 10, from 8:30 to 10 a.m. at the Office of Community, Neighborhood and Government Relations.

“Election 2018 – The Midterms,” taught by renowned political science faculty that include Larry Bartels, Joshua Clinton, Bruce Oppenheimer and Alan Wiseman; The class, which will examine the upcoming elections from a variety of angles, will meet for six Wednesdays, beginning Oct. 11, from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. at The Commons Center.

“Life on Mars: What We Know and Why That Matters,” taught by David Weintraub, professor of physics and astronomy; His most recent book is Life on Mars: What to Know Before We Go (2018). Topics include why our incomplete knowledge about life on Mars presents profound moral and ethical questions as NASA plans to send astronauts to Mars orbit by the 2030s. The class will meet for six Wednesdays, beginning Oct. 10, from 11:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at The Commons Center.

“Fantasies of Modern Russian Culture,” taught by Polina Dimova, lecturer of Russian; Modern Russian culture will be studied through the prism of its utopias, science fiction and fairy tales. Participants will sample representative works of 20th- century Russian literature, visual art, music, dance and film. The class meets for six Thursdays, beginning Oct. 11, from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. at West End United Methodist Church.

“Henry Kissinger and American Power,” taught by Thomas Schwartz, professor of history and political science; Schwartz, who is completing a biography of the former secretary of state, will focus on major issues in 20th-century American diplomatic history and explore how Kissinger became a diplomatic celebrity and superstar. The class will meet for six Thursdays, beginning Oct. 11, from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. at West End United Methodist Church.

“American Gun Culture,” taught by Laurie Woods, lecturer in sociology; This course traces the evolution of gun culture in the United States and examines both sides of the current gun debate. The class will meet for six Fridays, beginning Oct. 12, from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. at West End United Methodist Church.

“Medical Sampler,” a lecture series led by Vanderbilt University Medical Center staff members; Topics to be covered include healthy aging, cognitive heath, aging and cancer, and the opioid epidemic. The class will meet for six Fridays, beginning Oct. 12, from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. at West End United Methodist Church.

“OLLI at OZ Arts,” a performance of Falling Out, a performance work exploring human connection to our surrounding environment; Limited to 50 participants, students can attend the show on Oct. 12 at 8 p.m. or Oct. 13 at 7 p.m. There will be a post-show Q&A on the 12th and a pre-show talk on the 13th— both with Jessica Grindstaff and Erik Sanko, Phantom Limb Company’s co-directors. Doors open one hour prior to each performance at OZ Arts Nashville.

“OLLI at the Nashville Jazz Workshop, a one-time session that will focus on the Great American Songbook composer Jimmy Van Heusen; The class, which includes lunch, will meet Nov. 7 from 12:45 to 2:15 p.m.

Click OLLI at Vanderbilt to sign up for classes. For more information, email Norma Clippard or call 615-343-0700.

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