The Center for Life and Learning:
   Special-Topic Classes

All Center for Life and Learning programming will continue online through at least October 15, 2021. Because of the recent COVID surge, resulting mainly from the delta variant, it seems imprudent to encourage people to come to class on campus, especially since many are coming on public transportation. In October we will re-evaluate, and hopefully, actualize the robust buffet of in-person, online, and hybrid programming that was planned for this term. As always, watch the CLL emails for the most current news.

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 that change every term; check us out!

For information about our special-topic classes, contact Robbin at 312.981.3391.

Explorations with Jane Hunt

Basic Tap Dance

Beginner T'ai Chi

Black Narrative Voices

Madame Bovary: An Exploration of Gustave Flaubert’s Novel

Culturing Civilization: A History of Fermented Food and Drink


Explorations with Jane Hunt

Wednesdays, September 15–29
10:30–11:30 a.m.
Led by Jane Hunt
Register online here

Free for CLL members / $25.00 for guests

Celebrating her twenty-ninth year with us, award-winning teacher Jane Hunt leads this popular class through a new topic based in the humanities each week. This fall topics will include clothing, Shakespeare, and Dickens.

Jane Hunt is a retired College of DuPage English and humanities Instructor and has been on faculty at the CLL since 1992. 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.


Basic Tap Dance

Thursdays, September 30–November 18
11:30 a.m.–12:15 p.m.
Led by Susan Fay
Register online here

$65 for CLL members / $80 for guests

If you can walk, you can take this class! Unleash your inner Shirley Temple, have fun, and work those feet and ankles in this basic tap class. Our tap class will teach/review the fundamental steps of tap. We’ll start with taps, heel drops and flaps and progress to simple combination steps and longer phrases. The class will gradually develop our balance, agility and cognitive skills. Feel free to repeat the class as often as you wish!

Susan Fay has a MA in Dance Education from Northwestern University and is a certified Silver Sneakers instructor. She is also a professional actor, having worked with theaters such as Lookingglass Theatre Company, the Court Theatre, Harftord Stage Company, Montana Shakespeare Theater and many more.

Tap shoes required. These are available at Chicago Dance Supply.


Beginner T'ai Chi

Tuesdays, October 5–December 7
2:00–2:45 p.m.
Led by Hau Kum Kneip
Please note this class is limited to 18 registrants
Register online here

$75 for CLL members / $90 for guests

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 T'ai Chi masters in Hong Kong, Taiwan, mainland China, and Hawaii beginning in 1978. She has taught T'ai Chi Chuan at the CLL since 1995 and focuses on increasing balance, strength, and focus in her students.


Black Narrative Voices

Tuesdays, October 12–November 9
2:30–3:45 p.m.
Led by Rebecca Jackson-Artis
Register online here

$40 for CLL members / $55 for guests

This class explores the diverse voices of Black American writers from James Baldwin to Katoya Flemming. Five published articles will be read and analyzed defining tone, theme, content, and writing style. We will delve into the source of the writers’ words and how United States history, and its economic structure were the inciting incident to their works.

Rebecca Jackson-Artis is an actor, writer, and podcaster from Chicago. Rebecca has worked for 20 years in theatre, television and film, the last 10 years in community advocacy and political organizing, and 8 years in maternal and child health as a lactation specialist. She wrote, produced, and starred in a short film, In The Midst of Morons, in 2018. She is the writer, producer, and star of Totally Becky, an award-winning web series she co-creates with Dre Robinson. With Rebecca Fox, she performs in a sketch comedy duo, The Rebecca Show. Rebecca is a Spotify® Sound Up 2019 Podcast Bootcamp alum. Black Becky Speaks, the podcast she began creating in 2019, premiered in 2020. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Hampton University in Theatre Arts and a Master of Fine Arts in Narrative Media Writing at The University of Georgia - Grady College of Journalism & Mass Communications. Rebecca lives with her family in Raleigh, North Carolina.


Madame Bovary: An Exploration of Gustave Flaubert’s Novel

Wednesdays, October 20–November 3
10:30–11:45 a.m.
Led by Jeff Nigro
Register online here

$30 for CLL members / $45 for guests

Flaubert’s now-classic novel Madame Bovary: Provincial Manners provoked a scandal when it was first published in 1856, leading to the author’s trial (and acquittal) for obscenity. This richly textured study of a woman longing for an escape from dreary small-town life continues to inspire discussion today. Is Emma Bovary the victim of a narrow-minded society or a selfish manipulator, a proto-feminist, or a femme fatale? Is the novel itself an endorsement of emotional liberation or a condemnation of a culture that encourages unrealistic expectations of life? This class will explore these questions in the contexts of both Flaubert’s time and ours.

Jeffrey Nigro has had a professional relationship with the Art Institute of Chicago for over thirty years, first as a staff lecturer, then as Director of Adult Programs, and currently as a Research Associate in the Arts of the Ancient Mediterranean and Byzantium. Jeff also teaches adult education seminars at the Newberry Library.

Culturing Civilization:
A History of Fermented Food and Drink (online)

Thursdays, November 11–December 23 (no class on November 25)
11:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
Led by Lucas Livingston
Register online here

$50 for CLL members / $65 for guests

On a virtual journey to the ends of the Earth and across the span of humanity, this course examines the social and cultural roles of fermented foods and beverages (from cheese and tofu to vinegar and wine). Right up there with fire, ceramics, the wheel, and electricity, our ability to harness fermentation has had an indelible impact on the origin and development of civilizations across the globe. Enjoy this highly illustrated exploration of history, mythology, sociology, microbiology, and global cuisine.

Lucas Livingston, MA taught the popular “Ancient Worlds” class at the Center for Life and Learning several years ago. He is an 18-year museum professional focusing on the intersections of the arts, aging, health, and accessibility.

For more information about the Center for Life and Learning, contact Susan Quaintance (312.981.3386), Director of the Center for Life and Learning.