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 September
Beginner T’ai Chi Chuan
Impressionism: Nature, Leisure, and the Modern
Great Decisions Discussion Group
Explorations with Jane Hunt

Beginning in October
Great Movie Music from 1895 to 1970
The History of Modern Architecture
Matter of Balance
Islam and Christianity: An Interfaith Conversation
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


Beginner Tai Chi Chuan

   Tuesdays, September 13–December 20
   2:00–2:45 p.m.
   Led by Hau Kum Kneip
   Register online here
   Please note that this class is limited to 18 registrants.

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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Impressionism: Nature, Leisure, and the Modern 

   Wednesdays, September 14–October 5
   1:00–2:30 p.m.
   Led by Margaret Farr
   Register online here

Though widely beloved today, the Impressionists’ paintings baffled, amused, and challenged viewers in the late nineteenth century. Choosing subjects drawn from the contemporary world rather than from history or mythology, they also presented them in unconventional ways. This course will explore how the artists Édouard Manet, Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Pierre-August Renoir, Berthe Morisot, and Mary Cassatt departed from the rules of the French Academy in favor of innovative methods that ultimately led to the creation of modern art.

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
$45 for guest registrants 

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Great Decisions Discussion Group

   Open Series
   Wednesdays, September 14–28; October 5 and 19;
      November 2, 16, and 30

   1:15–2:45 p.m.
   Led by Dick Farkas and David Barnum
   Register online here

   Men’s Group Series
   Wednesdays, September 14–28; October 5 and 19;
      November 2, 16, and 30

   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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Explorations with Jane Hunt

   Wednesdays, September 14–October 26
   (There will be no class on October 12.)

   10:30–11:30 a.m.
   Led by Jane Hunt
   Register online here

Award-winning teacher Jane Hunt, who is celebrating her twenty-sixth year with the CLL, leads this popular class that explores a new topic in the humanities each week. This autumn topics will include politics, contemporary literature, the Puritans, and Winston Churchill. 

Jane Hunt is a retired College of DuPage English and humanities instructor and has been on faculty at the CLL since 1990. She is a graduate of DePauw University and Indiana University and enjoys formulating questions on diverse topics and then looking for answers with her classes.

Free for CLL members
$25 for guest registrants 

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Great Movie Music from 1895 to 1970

   Mondays, October 3–November 21
   11:00 a.m.–12:30 a.m.
   Led by Stephen Kleiman
   Register online here

This class will explore the development of film music from Greta Garbo and Rudolf Valentino to the soundtrack of the 1969 movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. As film technology grew, so did the space for a more expressive musical presence. As an accompaniment to each film, music was simply in the background, but often the music was chosen with the particular purpose of enhancing the atmosphere or to create or enhance an emotional reaction among members of the audience.

We will look at the impact of early twentieth-century music “folios” and the first “talkie” movie (The Jazz Singer, starring Al Jolson) and discuss the music of some of the greatest film composers. We will also explore the music written for Disney Studios and their great output of films and cartoons.

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.

$35 for CLL members 
$55 for guest registrants 

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The History of Modern Architecture

   Tuesdays, October 4–25
   1:30–3:00 p.m.
   Led by Eric Davis
   Register online here

This course is offered in conjunction with the Graham School of the University of Chicago.

Modern architecture was one of the most transformative cultural productions since painting in Renaissance Italy. Like other great art forms, it prompts us to see the world in new ways. Unlike others, it literally asks us to live and work in that world.

This course will examine what Modern architecture is and how it has evolved to produce new ways of seeing and inhabiting our world. Modernist masters such as Mies van der Rohe, Louis Kahn, and Le Corbusier and buildings such as the Farnsworth House and La Tourette, along with more recent late Modern masterpieces, will be studied.

Note: This course will take participants on brief outings to visit some outdoor spaces.

Eric Davis has been a practicing Chicago architect for more than twenty-five years. He has taught and has written on urban design and Chicago architectural history at IIT, Notre Dame , and the SAIC.

$30 for CLL members
$40 for guest registrants  

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Matter of Balance

   Thursdays, October 6–November 17
   11:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
   Register online here

This course is offered in conjunction with Lincoln Park Village, the Clare, and CJE Senior Life.

Matter of Balance is a seven-week program that emphasizes practical strategies to reduce the fear of falling and to increase activity levels in older adults. Each week participants learn to set realistic goals to increase activity, change their environment to reduce fall risk factors, and learn simple exercise to increase strength and balance. The class features an exercise component and discussion.

$45 for all registrants

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Islam and Christianity: An Interfaith Conversation

   Thursdays, October 20–November 10
   2:30–3:30 p.m.
   Led by Susan Quaintance and Zainub Fiaz
   Register online here

There’s no better way to get to know someone (or a group of “someones,” such as a family, community, or faith tradition) than through conversation. That’s what this class will be. The leaders will each do a presentation on a variety of topics (such as scripture, the place of women, signs and symbols), followed by questions and discussion.

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.

Zainub Fiaz, who attended Islamic Foundation School from pre-k through high school, is a senior at Benedictine University pursuing a major in Social Science and a minor in Education. She has been a part of Benedictine’s Catholic-Muslim Interfaith Dialogue Group for the past two years and has participated in various Islamic seminars and conferences.  

$25 for CLL members   
$35 for guest registrants 

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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 Abroad, Life on the Mississippi, and Huckleberry Finn and look at how travel acted as a framework, enabling readers to follow Twain’s 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 jaundice 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.

It is suggested that Huckleberry Finn be read in its entirety, with selections from Innocents Abroad and Life on the Mississippi as assigned. More information will be made available upon registration. 

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 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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