On-going groups are self-directed learning communities sponsored by CSC. Participation is free – do not call URock to participate. To join, contact the listed facilitators.
Challenge of Change
We provide a venue for community conversation to discuss economic, ecological, and cultural challenges facing our society. We seek better alternatives in a respectful and positive way. Participants share responsibility for topics, provide resources, and may invite guest speakers. We gather twice monthly at the Friends Meeting House in Damariscotta. Contact Jon Olsen, 549-7787 or email@example.com or Susan van Alsenoy, firstname.lastname@example.org
New Class Adventures
Registration begins January 6
First session is February 3
Form in Nature and Design
6 Tuesdays, 1:00 – 3:00, February 4 – March 10
The natural world is not a random clutter: an accident. To the discerning eye all things appear as inventions and variations from a finite number of basic patterns. The beautiful spiral nebulae, the eddies in a stream, and the nautilus shell share a common theme. So too do meanders, radiations, branchings, as well as linear and circular systems. But why do these archetypal patterns occur? This course investigates the interactions of matter and energies in three-dimensional space as the underlying origins for these primary natural forms. If then, our material culture – what we make and what we build – are also compositions of materials and energies in space, perhaps these archetypal patterns also form the foundations for what we call harmony and beauty in man-made form as it does in nature. The course is taught in a lecture format with some of the topics elected by the class. New material and lectures have been added this year. Class limit: 50
Instructor Arnold J. Aho, A.I.A. has taught architecture and basic design for more than forty years at North Carolina State U., Mississippi State U., and Norwich U., where he started the new Architecture Program and served as its first Director. He was educated at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied under Louis I. Kahn. He has many publications on materials and energies in design, vernacular (folk) architecture, and the relationships between natural and built environments. In addition to numerous design awards, he has received distinguished teaching recognition, including the Burlington Northern Outstanding Teacher Award (MSU) and the Dana Distinguished Professor (NU).
The Alcott Family: Little Women and So Much More
4 Wednesdays, 10:00 – Noon, February 12 – March 4
Who were the real people behind the characters of Louisa May Alcott’s famous 1868 novel? How much were the fictional Marches based on the actual lives of Bronson and Abigail Alcott, and their daughters Anna, Louisa, Elizabeth and May? What prompted Louisa to write this book, and why is it still so beloved, with yet another film version to be released this December? We will investigate these questions in our four-session course outlined as follows.
Week One: Transcendentalism in Action – A Utopian Family. Week Two: Liberty and Duty – Creating Little Women. Week Three: Alcotts and Marches – Fact and Fiction. Week Four: Text and Context – The Life of the Book. Class limit: 40
Instructor Jayne Gordon, who recently taught a course on Henry David Thoreau for CSC, spent nearly 50 years in Concord, MA working at sites and on programs associated with the 19th century Concord authors. She was Director of the Alcott’s Orchard House from 1974-1990, where Little Women was written. Jayne is on the CSC Board and Curriculum Committee and is coordinating CSC programs and courses for Maine’s Bicentennial.
The Worst Are Still “Full of Passionate Intensity”, Right?
6 Thursdays, 2:00 – 4:00, February 6 – March 12
W.B. Yeats’s poems explore social, political and artistic issues in such a way as to help us understand and survive the crises we face in 2020. There is no better example of his relevance than the ubiquity of the lines from The Second Coming: The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity. These lines often appear in today’s editorials and cartoons, parodied, truncated, but useful still. Most importantly, throughout his poetic career Yeats sought and found ways to face down adversity and chaos, in disciplined and care-full poems. Frost, Yeats’s contemporary, once said that poetry offered “a momentary stay against confusion.” Yeats’s legacy is far from momentary; it continues today to counteract the threat of chaos. We will read selections, early and late, from The Collected Poems of W. B. Yeats, edited by Finneran, in the Scribner Paperback Poetry series. Before the first class, I will email a list of poems to be read. Class limit: 20
Instructor John Ward has been professor and chair of Kenyon College (Gambier OH) English Department and has served as Dean of Centre College (Danville KY). He earned his B.A. from Amherst College and Ph.D. from the University of Virginia and has taught courses in 18th and 19th century British literature and the history of the British novel. He has published on 18th and 19th century British works as well as those of Vachel Lindsay and Robert Lowell.
Friends Meeting House, Belvedere Road, Damariscotta
Yes We Can!
Meet Everyone’s Needs and Save the Planet Too
6 Fridays, 10:00-Noon, February 7 – March 13
The common thread of my earlier courses, After Capitalism and An Optimist Looks at Climate Change, was that our current economic system is on a collision course with nature. Climate change is but one consequence. Capitalism routinely overshoots multiple planetary boundaries, yet it fails to deliver on the basic purpose of an economy: to meet the basic human needs of every member of society.
This is where our exploration begins. However, though the temptation may be great, this course is not an invitation to vent. For no matter how eloquently we can recite what’s wrong, why would anything ever change for the better if we cannot clearly state what we would do to set things right?
Our task is not to fight capitalism. Nor can we effectively address climate change by swearing off certain diets or modern conveniences. Our hands-on task is to create a new economy that outperforms the old and that meets the needs of every member of society without violating the natural limits imposed by Planet Earth – even if we can only meet this challenge one human need, one human right at a time. Class limit: 20
Instructor Paul Kando is well known to us as an advocate on energy and sustainability. After a career in synthetic fiber manufacturing, Paul switched to the energy field. His expertise includes solar energy, energy conservation, energy storage, and improved building technologies. He is a co-founder of the Midcoast Green Collaborative, a frequent presenter of climate science workshops to lay audiences, and a Maine State certified energy auditor.
Jane Austen for Adults
6 Thursdays, 2:00 – 4:00, February 6 – March 12
Many of us read Pride and Prejudice in our teens, watched BBC serials of her novels, and later the full-length films during what I call the Austen revival. The novels were easily converted into romantic films, since the central action was the husband-hunt, the only adventure and occupation open to women of her time. But we know from her letters that Austen wrote to educate as well as entertain her reading public, both men and women. Come back to Austen as adults with adults’ experience and you will discover perhaps for the first time Austen’s comic critique of her society and her sharp observations on family life and dynamics. We will read Pride and Prejudice and Emma and Persuasion. For the first class read chapters 1-18 in Pride and Prejudice. Class limit: 25
Instructor Maryanne Ward is retired after a 40-year career in small college education. She chaired Kenyon College (Gambier OH) humanities program and served as academic dean until moving to Centre College (Danville KY) to become Professor of English and Chair of the Humanities Program. Her area of special interest and scholarship is 19th century British literature. Among other topics, her publications have examined the relationship between literature, landscape and painting.
Optimizing Brain Health: Good News from Evidence Based Science
8 Wednesdays, 2:00 – 4:00, February 5 – March 25
Advances in neuroscience have led to the understanding that the brain changes which lead to dementia usually occur 20 years in advance of symptoms and a diagnosis. An extraordinary amount of research is now focused on what we can do to prevent and even turn around early degrees of Normal Age-Related brain changes or a diagnosis of Mild Cognitive Impairment. There is very good reason to be optimistic!
One major paradigm-altering discovery has been the discovery of neuroplasticity. It is now proven that even aging adult brains can develop new synaptic connections in response to stimulation and will respond favorably to the health conditions of the body based on personal life practices. The purpose of this course is to dive into the current state of evidence-based science research on life practices and types of cognitive training to maintain optimal brain health. However, we all know that lifestyle changes can be challenging to implement, so we will also delve into research to successfully create those changes. With each class you will receive a pdf document with links to many researchers, books, articles and videos for your further research. Class limit: 25
Instructor Steve Raymond began his healthcare career as a 23-year-old registered nurse. He has specialized in senior care for the past 25 years, and says that, “Now as a 66-year-old experiencing my own age-related changes, I am determined to apply the best available knowledge from researchers in longevity medicine, neuroscience, dementia prevention, older age physical performance, and Type 2 diabetes prevention. My passion and purpose are to spread the good news that we can have a great deal of influence in maintaining optimal cognitive health, and even reverse some early changes that may have already occurred.” Steve is the Admissions Director at the Lincoln Home in Newcastle, a frequent public speaker and aging activist, and the producer and host of the popular LCTV show Spotlight on Seniors.
War & Peace in the Balkans
Cold War, Ethnic Conflict, & the Return of Russia
4 Mondays, 10:00 – Noon, February 3 – March 2
This course will cover the violent dissolution of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, the ethnic conflicts and international diplomacy that followed, and ends with a session on the Balkans today, including the re-emerging competition between Russia and the West. The course will be a combination of historical scholarship and personal insights of the instructor. It will cover the following topics:
- Why are the Balkans, well, so Balkan? How the region is sometimes said to produces more history than can be consumed locally.
- The heart of darkness in the heart of Europe – War in Bosnia and peace in Dayton.
- Conflict in Kosovo – Humanitarian intervention halts genocide but final settlement proves elusive.
- The Balkans today – Cockpit of conflict yet again?
Class limit: 20
Instructor Sell has had a 28-year career in the U.S. Foreign Service, focused on Russia and the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, and nuclear arms control. After leaving the Foreign Service he was post-war director of the Kosovo office of the International Crisis Group and was a founder and first executive director of the American University in Kosovo (AUK). As political advisor to former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt, as the first International High Representative for Bosnian Peace Implementation, he participated in the international diplomacy that ended the Bosnian conflict, including the Dayton Peace Conference. He has lived over eight years in the Balkans in times of war and peace and speaks Serbo-Croatian and Russian. He was present and reported on the dissolution of Yugoslavia as well as the collapse of the USSR and its aftermath. He is the author of Slobodan Milosevic and the Destruction of Yugoslavia and From Washington to Moscow: U.S.- Soviet Relations and the Collapse of the USSR. He teaches at AUK and UMF and lives in Whitefield where he serves as a volunteer firefighter.