The Center for Life and Learning:
   Special-Topic Classes

Center for Life and Learning (CLL) special-topic classes bring in experts from the Chicago area to enrich our annual curriculum and provide a flexible avenue of participation. One need not be a CLL member to register. The special-topic classes cover a broad range of topics from politics to bridge to the humanities; come and check us out!

For information about our special-topic classes, contact Susan Quaintance at 312.981.3386.

Beginning in October
At the Barre: Ballet from Renaissance Europe to Modern America

Beginning in November
Traveling with Mark Twain

Beginning in December
Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice as Christian Comedy

Beginning in January
Calvin College “January Series”
Understanding Color in Watercolor

Romanticism to Realism
Three-hundred Years of Great Piano Music

Beginning in February
Great Decisions Discussion Group
Beginner T’ai Chi Chuan
Learn How to Crochet
A History of British Music
“Caring for the Caregiver” Seminar

Beginning in March
Asian Religions

Washington, Hamilton, and Franklin
“A Little More Aware”: A Short Course on Short Stories


At the Barre:
   Ballet from Renaissance Europe to Modern America

   Wednesdays, October 26–December 7
   (There will be no class on Wednesday, November 23.)

   10:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
   Led by Jeff Nigro and John Nygro
   Register online here

Explore the history of ballet, from the courts of the Renaissance to modern America, in all its grace, energy, and drama. The course will highlight the collaborations of great choreographers, composers, dancers, and designers. Participants will enjoy lectures and discussions and will view video ballet performances to gain a deeper understanding of this exhilarating and multi-faceted art form. 

Jeff Nigro is an art historian, lecturer, and educator. Jeff has had a professional relationship with the Art Institute of Chicago for twenty-five years, first as a staff lecturer and then as Director of Adult Programs in the Department of Museum Education.

John Nygro is a lecturer, musician, and actor with a career spanning more than thirty years. As a lecturer, he has spoken on a number of subjects from classical theater and opera to medieval and Renaissance music to film and television.

$35 for CLL members
$45 for guest registrants

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Traveling with Mark Twain

   Mondays, November 28–December 19
   11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
   Led by Chuck Gold
   Register online here

This course will discuss selections from Innocents AbroadLife on the Mississippi, and Huckleberry Finn and look at how travel acted as a framework for Mark Twain’s works, enabling readers to follow his observations. We will look at Twain's commentary on travel, pieties, other societies, and various foreign countries in Innocents Abroad; the great river and the differences between romantic recollection and jaundiced contemporary observation in Life on the Mississippi; and finally his sometimes scalding critique of small river towns as Huck and Jim make their way down the river in Huckleberry Finn.

Participants are highly encouraged to read Huckleberry Finn and Life on the Mississippi in their entirety for the course, and as much of Innocents Abroad as you can.

Chuck Gold graduated with his Ph.D. in American Literature from Washington University. He has taught at the University of Missouri, Washington University, SUNY Buffalo, and Northwestern as well as in the Adult Education Seminars at the Newberry Library. Chuck spent his professional career in fundraising for higher education institutions and hospitals. Chuck also reviewed books for the American Library Association, the St. Louis Post Dispatch, and the Chicago Daily News.

$25 for CLL members
$35 for guest registrants

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Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice as Christian Comedy

   Thursdays, December 1–15
   2:00–3:30 p.m.
   Led by Adam Rose
   Register online here

Although modern interpretations of The Merchant of Venice often focus on the play’s characterization and treatment of the Jewish moneylender Shylock, both the play’s title and plot suggest that Shakespeare’s focus was on the Christian merchant Antonio. Through a careful reading and discussion of Shakespeare’s play in conjunction with selections both from Christopher Marlowe’s roughly contemporaneous The Jew of Malta and from the New Testament, this course will explore Shakespeare’s exaltation of “graceful Christianity” in both the major and minor plot threads of one of his most controversial plays.

Students are required to read The Merchant of Venice. Selections of The Jew of Malta and the New Testament will be provided.  

Adam Rose has taught in the Basic Program at the University of Chicago since 1993 and is a former Staff Chair of the program. He is primarily interested in the ways texts affect human life. He is the 2007 recipient of the Graham School’s Excellence in Teaching Award for the Basic Program.

$25 for CLL members
$35 for guest registrants

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Calvin College “January Series”

   January 4–24, 2017
   11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. in the Page Smith Room
   Free and open to all

This is a joint event with the Academy for Faith and Life.

Please note that there will be no video stream on January 16 in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The award-winning “January Series” of Calvin College is coming to downtown Chicago. From January 4 through January 24, Fourth Presbyterian Church will be one of fifty remote webcast locations worldwide to broadcast one of the nation’s leading lecture and cultural arts series.

A few of the featured presenters in the series’ thirtieth-anniversary year include Doris Kearns Goodwin, a world-renowned presidential historian and Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist; Gary Haugen, CEO and founder of International Justice Mission; and Matthew Desmond, cofounder of the Justice and Poverty Project and the recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” grant.

The lectures will be video-streamed live in the Page Smith Room from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. CST Mondays through Fridays. The lectures are free and open to the public. For more information about these speakers and topics, visit www.calvin.edu/january-series/speakers.

Wednesday, January 4 | Karin Maag
   “500 Years Later: Why the Reformation Still Matters”

Thursday, January 5 | Matthew Desmond
   “Poverty and Profit in the American City”

Friday, January 6 | Mark Charles
   “Race, Trauma, and the Doctrine of Discovery”

Monday, January 9 | Reshma Saujani
   “Closing the Gender Gap in Technology”

Tuesday, January 10 | Abraham Nussbaum
   “Tinkering in Today’s Healthcare Factories: Pursuing the Renewal of Medicine”

Wednesday, January 11 | Gary Haugen
   “The Locust Effect: Why the End of Poverty Requires the End of Violence”

Thursday, January 12 | Justin Skeesuck and Patrick Gray
    “I’ll Push You: A Story of Radical Friendship, Overcoming Challenges,
      and the Power of Community”

Friday, January 13 | Todd Huizinga
   “The EU and Global Governance”

Monday, January 16
   No video stream in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day 

Tuesday, January 17 | Doris Kearns Goodwin
   “How Did We Get Here? A Historical Perspective on Our Wild 2016 Election”

Wednesday, January 18 | Eugene Cho
   “Overrated: Are We More in Love with the Idea of Changing the World
      than Actually Changing the World?”

Thursday, January 19 | Taylor Davis in Concert

Friday, January 20 | Bryan Dik
   “How to Find and Live Your Calling: Lessons from the Psychology of Vocation”

Monday, January 23 | Jeremy Courtney
   “Loving Our Enemies: Living amongst ISIS”

Tuesday, January 24 | N. T. Wright
   “The Royal Revolution: Fresh Perspectives on the Cross”

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Understanding Color in Watercolor

   Tuesdays, January 24–February 14
   10:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
   Led by Cheri Reif-Naselli
   Register online here 

Enjoy CLL Watercolor instructor Cheri Reif-Naselli as she takes students through the beautiful and complex world of understanding color in art. This class will cover terminology, how color is perceived, how to mix colors, color interactions and characteristics, and how color can be used effectively. Students will do exercises and projects using watercolor or other mixable color media.

Join us for a fun-filled exploration of the world of color! A supply list will be given upon registration.

Cheri Reif-Naselli is a graduate of the Art Institute of Chicago and brings a variety of teaching experiences to the CLL. She is skilled in various visual art media in addition to watercolors and enjoys the opportunity to guide other artists as they develop their personal style and skill.

$35 for CLL members
$45 for guest registrants

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Romanticism to Realism

   Wednesdays, January 25–February 15
   10:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m. 
   Led by Margaret Farr 
   Register online here

Romanticism was the dominant cultural tendency in the Western world in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. This class will examine how this movement caused a re-evaluation of the nature of art and the role of the artist in society.

Romantic artists moved away from the classical tradition and placed a premium on individual experience, intuition, and subjectivity. We will consider works by artists such as Eugène Delacroix, William Blake, Francisco Goya, Caspar David Friedrich, and J. M. W. Turner and will conclude with a session devoted to mid-nineteenth-century Realist painting, as practiced by Jean-François Millet, Gustave Courbet, and others.

Margaret Farr is an art historian who worked at the Art Institute of Chicago for seventeen years and has taught at St. Xavier University and Columbia College as well as served as Assistant Director of Education at the Museum of Contemporary Art. She received her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, specializing in nineteenth-century art. Her other interests include modern and contemporary art. She is currently an adjunct lecturer at the Art Institute of Chicago. 

$25 for CLL members
$40 for guest registrants 

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Three-hundred Years of Great Piano Music

   Mondays, January 30–March 6
   11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m. 
   Led by Stephen Kleiman

   Register online here

The development of the piano is important not only as the instrument with the greatest and most numerous repertoire, but also for how its development follows and reflects society’s evolution. From the sixteenth-century clavichord to the twentieth-century piano, as society changed its expressions, mores, and social structure, the piano and its composers followed suit. 

In this course we will discuss and listen to piano and keyboard music, the major common denominators that link the musical development throughout the western world over the past 300 years.

The script in this class is piano pieces by Beethoven, Mozart, Brahms, the Schumanns, Samuel Barber, Aaron Copland, Debussy, Ravel, Liszt, early Baroque keyboard works by Couperin and Scarlatti, some nineteenth- and twentieth-century American composers as William Mason, Louis Moreau Gottschalk, John Cage, and more.

Stephen Kleiman holds a bachelor’s degree from the Mannes College of Music and a master’s degree from the University of Michigan. An orchestra conductor in Europe and former music director of the National Chamber Orchestra in Washington, D.C., his compositions have been performed internationally and recently at Eastern Michigan University (Ypsilanti), International Chamber Artists (Chicago), the Longy School (Boston), the Newberry Library (Chicago), Music at Eden's Edge (Beverly Farms, Massachusetts) and the Chicago Danz Theatre.

$30 for CLL members 
$45 for guest registrants

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Great Decisions Discussion Group

   Co-ed Series
   Alternate Wednesdays, February 1–March 15; April 12–May 24
   1:15–2:45 p.m.
   Led by Dick Farkas and David Barnum
   Call Susan Quaintance (312.981.3386) to inquire about availability.

   Men’s Group Series
   Alternate Wednesdays, February 1–March 15; April 12–May 24
   10:30 a.m.12:00 p.m.
   Led by Dick Farkas and David Barnum
   Call Susan Quaintance (312.981.3386) to inquire about availability.

In Great Decisions, domestic issues are explored together in a respectful environment. There are two sessions (one open to all; the other men-only), and both will be discussing foreign affairs and domestic issues as they relate to the United States. This class will be jointly taught by Dick Farkas and David Barnum.

Dick Farkas has been teaching at DePaul for more than forty years. He holds an honorary degree from Corvinus University of Budapest and has lectured in Russia, Poland, Hungary, and Croatia. His research compares strategies for political and economic development in post-Communist and post-conflict countries. Dick has consulted for some of the largest corporations in the U.S. and has appeared frequently on U.S. and international media. 

David Barnum graduated from Stanford University with a Ph.D. in political science in 1974. He currently teaches courses in American and comparative constitutional law (First Amendment Rights, Rights of Defendants, Comparative Protection of Individual Rights, National Security and the Constitution) at DePaul University. 

$55 for CLL members
$65 for guest registrants 

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Beginner Tai Chi Chuan

   Tuesdays, February 7–May 16
   2:00–2:45 p.m.
   Led by Hau Kum Kneip
   Register online here

T’ai Chi Chuan is an effective exercise for anyone seeking to enhance balance, strength, and coordination. It is made up of a fluid series of postures joined with deep breathing exercises. In this class, beginning students will learn the history and fundamentals of T’ai Chi Chuan and will be prepared to join the intermediate class upon completion of the beginner series.

Hau Kum Kneip studied with Chinese Tai Chi masters in Hong Kong, Taiwan, mainland China, and Hawaii beginning in 1978. She has taught Tai Chi Chuan at the CLL since 1995 and focuses on increasing balance, strength, and focus in her students.

$80 for CLL members
$90 for guest registrants

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Learn How to Crochet

   Tuesday, February 14–Thursday, February 16
   10:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
   Led by Elizabeth Thornton
   Register online here

Ever wanted to learn how to learn to crochet? This three-day class will teach you how to crochet a blanket. This is a great beginner activity and a great activity for the winter months, so come learn how to get started on your own blanket (which is a great gift to give!).

Elizabeth Thornton from the Knitting and Crocheting group at Fourth Presbyterian Church will be our instructor. For more information on the Knitting and Crocheting group, which makes items to be donated to children and families in shelters, hospitals, and nursing homes, click here.

Participants must bring their own materials: A supply list will be given upon registration

$10 for CLL members
$15 for guests

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A History of British Music

   Wednesdays, February 22–March 29
   10:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m. 
   Led by John Nygro
   Register online here

From medieval sacred motets to Renaissance madrigals to Baroque operas to Romantic nocturnes and symphonies of the twentieth century, British composers have used different forms of expression while paying homage to their cultural past. We will explore the many facets of British music to discover its beauty as well as its universal transcendence. 

John Nygro is a lecturer, musician, and actor with a career spanning more than thirty years. As a lecturer, he has spoken on a number of subjects from classical theater and opera to medieval and Renaissance music to film and television.

$25 for CLL members
$40 for guest registrants

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“Caring for the Caregiver” Seminar

   Mondays, February 27–March 20
   1:00–3:00 p.m.
   Register online here
   Please note that this series is limited to 28 participants.

Joint event with the Replogle Center for Counseling and Well-Being and Pastoral Care at Fourth Presbyterian Church

Do you know anyone caring for a family member or friend who is chronically ill, disabled, or has dementia? Care-giving takes many shapes and forms in today’s society and can be stress-inducing for the caregiver.

The Center for Life and Learning, the Replogle Center for Counseling and Well-Being, and Fourth Church Pastoral Care are teaming up to offer a four-week seminar on how caregivers can care for themselves during these difficult times. Each week a professional will discuss topics such as long-distance care-giving, care-giving strategies for success and redirecting difficult behaviors, family involvement, and end-of-life issues. The goal of this seminar is to offer spiritual and personal self-care tools and communication for the caregiver on their journey.

$30 for all registrants

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Asian Religions

   Tuesdays, March 7–28
   2:30–4:00 p.m.
   Led by Timothy Gutmann
   Register online here

Offered in conjunction with the Graham School University of Chicago and Lincoln Park Village

This course focuses on traditions of religious thought and practice in China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. We will discuss the relationship between Confucianism, which prizes the family and political service, and Buddhism, with its concern for suffering and practice of detachment, and other, more local traditions. Though these ways of thinking are different, we will look at how they inform East Asian worldviews together. We also will view Asia’s encounter with modernity that radically changed these legacies in thought and practice.

Timothy Gutmann is a Ph.D. candidate in religion focusing on Islam and East Asian thought at the University of Chicago. His research and teaching focus on religious orthodoxy and dissent, critical theory, knowledge and philosophy of education, and in psychology in Asian and Islamic traditions. Originally from outside Washington, he lives with his family in Kenwood, Chicago.

$45 for CLL and Lincoln Park Village members
$55 for guest registrants

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Washington, Hamilton, and Franklin

   Tuesdays, March 7–21
   11:45 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
   Led by Diane Kelliher
   Register online here

As children it is likely that we learned the myth about Washington and the cherry tree, saw Hamilton on a ten-dollar bill and heard Franklin’s dictum “a penny saved is a penny earned.” Come meet these three ambitious and imperfect men who were key players in the history of our nation. As well as coming to know them better as public figures, you’ll get to know more about their private lives.

Diane Kelliher earned two masters degrees from Loyola University, one in sociology (social psychology) and the other in pastoral theology, and has been interested in history for more than thirty years. She is devoted to making history lively, informative, and interesting, and she enjoys being with other seniors in the process.

Free for CLL Members
$15 for guest registrants

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“A Little More Aware”: A Short Course on Short Stories

   Mondays, March 13–April 10
   11:00 a.m.–12:15 p.m.
   Led by Susan Quaintance
   Register online here

Contemporary American short story writer George Saunders says that when we read a short story we “come out a little more away and a little more in love with the world.” We’ll decide if we agree as we explore how plot, point of view, setting, and character work together in this most underappreciated of literary genres. We’ll read some classics along with some newer pieces that highlight what Annie Proulx (another short story author) calls the “intensity, brevity, balance and word play” of the short story.

Susan Quaintance holds an M.A. in theology from St. John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota. She taught high school theology and English for more than twenty years and has facilitated many adult days of recollection and retreats.

$30 for CLL members
$40 for guest registrants

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