“Food in History and Culture” to Highlight Lifelong Learning Academy

New and Interesting Mix of Mini-Courses offered on Diverse Topics

An all-day seminar on food in history and culture will highlight the spring 2014 offerings by Trinity’s Academy of Lifelong Learning, a program designed for adults who want to pursue new interests, expand their intellectual horizons and enrich their lives.

There will be 12 topics in all, ranging from PBS’s hit show Downton Abbey and physics in science fiction to courses on the Civil War and the Holocaust.

The Academy is open to adults in Greater Hartford, with the mini-courses primarily taught by current and former Trinity faculty. The Academy’s co-directors are Frank Kirkpatrick, Ellsworth Morton Tracy Lecturer and Professor of Religion, and Patricia A. Bunker, retired head reference librarian. Enrollees have access to many Trinity resources, including the Raether Library. Discounts are provided to Cinestudio, Austin Arts Center, and College sporting events.

In addition to the all-day program, all classes but one are scheduled for the early evening. “The Arts and the Brain” will be held on Friday afternoons.

The fees range from $85 for a four-session mini-course to $125 for the all-day seminar, which includes lunch. Fees for the eight-session memoir tutorial are $300. Trinity alumni, faculty, and staff are eligible for a 10 percent discount. Gift certificates are also available.

Among the exciting courses that will be offered in spring of 2014 are:

•    Saturday Academy: Food in History and Culture

This daylong program on Saturday, April 12 will meet from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a break for lunch from 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. There will be two sessions in the morning and two in the afternoon. “Quality and Quantity in Italian Food Culture” will be taught by Dario del Puppo, professor of language and culture studies; “Dining and Drinking with the Olympian Gods” will be taught by Martha Risser, associate professor of classics; “Tomatoes, Potatoes, Chili Peppers, and Chocolate: Four American Foods and the Long Columbian Exchange” will be taught by Thomas Wickman, assistant professor of history and American studies; and “The Art of the Recipe” will be taught by Chloe Wheatley, associate professor of English.

•    Off-Campus Course: The Arts and the Brain

This four-session course, taught by Sarah A. Raskin, professor of psychology and neuroscience, will be held on April 11 and 18 and May 2 and 9 from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at The McAuley, 275 Steele Road, West Hartford, CT. There will be no class on April 25. The course will examine some of the recent collaborations between neuroscientists and artists that have revealed remarkable findings about the arts and the brain. Topics will include the development of musical and artistic ability in the brain, the effect of arts training on brain development, brain processing of art and music in adults, and changes in artistic ability after brain damage.

•    Physics in Science Fiction

This four-week course, taught by David Branning, associate professor of physics, will be held on Trinity’s campus on February 3, 10, 17, and 24 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Students will read four science fiction texts – Tau Zero, The Gods Themselves, Spock Must Die!, and Contact – paying particular attention to the physics they present, and placing them in context within the larger body of science fiction literature.

•    Downton Abbey in Context

This four-week course, taught by Jennifer Regan-Lefebvre, assistant professor of history, will take place on campus on February 5, 12, 19, and 26 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Each session will correspond to a season of PBS’s Downton Abbey and will explore British political and social history during the first decades of the 20th century. Topics will include the Irish revolution, the People’s Budget, World War I and demographic change, women’s suffrage, laws regarding marriage and divorce, and the history of medicine.

•    Holocaust Controversies

This four-week course, taught by Borden Painter, professor of history and president, emeritus, of Trinity College, will be held on campus on February 13, 20, and 27, and March 6 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. The course will examine three of the many controversies that have emerged over the years from the tragedy of the Holocaust: the Holocaust deniers; the reaction to Daniel Goldhagen’s book, Hitler’s Willing Executioners; and the role of Pope Pius XII during World War II.

•    Prophets or Messiahs: The Rise of Cults and Cultic Practices in the United States

This five-session course, taught by Leslie Desmangles, professor of religion, will be held on campus on February 17 and 24, and March 3, 10, and 24 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. There will be no class on March 17. In past decades, there have been more than 2,000 new cults in the United States. Among the topics covered by the course are the following: What are cults, and who are their leaders? Are they prophets or madmen? Why are their messages effective among so many, and who follows these leaders? Other topics include “programming” and “deprogramming,” spiritual healing, trance possession, and speaking in tongues.

•    Jewish and Classical Civilization in Cooperation and Conflict: From Judah Maccabee to Rabbi Judah the Prince

This six-session course, taught by Jeffrey Kaimowitz, curator, emeritus of the Watkinson Library, will be held on campus on March 13 and 27, April 3, 10, and 24, and May 1 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. There will be no class on March 20 or April 17. The course will trace the history of the Jews in the period following their return from the Babylonian exile. The main focus will be on the Hellenistic and Roman periods from the second century BCE into the second century CE.

•    HOMER’S ODYSSEY: An Epic of Ingenuity, Inquisitiveness, Discovery, Homecoming

This six-session course, taught by John C. Williams, Hobart Professor of Classical Languages, Emeritus, will be held on campus on March 24 and 31, April 7, 21, and 28, and May 5 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. There will be no class on April 14. The course will examine the creative way Homer presents the myth of Odysseus and study the themes Homer introduces into the story, such as fantasy, escape, mystery, magic, passion, turmoil (and suspense), and discovery. As an oral composition, The Odyssey also presents some interesting literary critical challenges, but most importantly the focus will be on the ways this epic can still speak to readers today.

•    A Second Chance Perhaps? Four Novels of Prospect

This five-week course, taught by Andrew De Rocco, former dean of the faculty at Trinity, will be held on campus on March 26 and April 2, 9, 16, and 23 from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Two of the novels read in the course explore the “new” life one is granted by a presumed death and its consequences, both to be desired and to lament: Jorge Amado’s The Double Death of Quincas Water-Bray and Luigi Pirandello’s The Late Mattia Pascal. The other two readings again involve a duality: José Saramago’s The Double and Jane Bowles’ Two Serious Ladies.

•    The Road to Civil War, 1845-1861

This five-week course, taught by J. Ronald Spencer, associate academic dean and lecturer in history, emeritus, will be held on campus on March 26 and April 2, 9, 16, and 23 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. The course will focus on key events leading to the Civil War, including the struggle over slavery in the vast territory obtained from Mexico after the Mexican War, the Compromise of 1850, the Kansas-Nebraska Act and the ensuing strife in Kansas territory, the rise of the Republican Party, John Brown’s raid, and Abraham Lincoln’s election. The course will conclude with an examination of the secession crisis and the failed effort to patch together a Union-saving compromise during the winter of 1860-61.

•    Myth and the Bible

This five-week course, taught by John A. Gettier, professor of religion, emeritus, will be held on campus on April 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. By focusing on specific topics such as creation, fertility, and heroes, this course will explore the richness and complexity of the interaction by ancient people, storytellers, and the writers who were constantly interacting with other cultures and worldviews. In such a survey, the distinctiveness of the biblical voice within the Near Eastern context becomes abundantly audible.

•    Memoir Writing: Tell Your Own Story

This eight-session course, taught by award-winning columnist Hank Herman, will take place on campus on March 5, 12, and 26, and April 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30. There will be no class on March 19. Course A, held from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., is for students who have previously taken writing classes at Trinity with Herman. Course B, held from 7:45 p.m. to 9:15 p.m., is for students who have not. Students will learn how to write easily and naturally in their own voice, whether to have a neatly-packaged memoir to pass down to their children or grandchildren or a keepsake to enjoy for themselves—or to knock Neil Young and Pete Hamill and R.A. Dickey off the best-seller list!

For more information about the Academy, call 860-297-2125 or email: lifelonglearning@trincoll.edu.