Courses

It may be a book, a poem, a photo, a film, a traveler's tale, or memory savored which sparks the desire of adventuring on your own. This repeat course can help you overcome the obstacles and prepare you for the new delights and fresh discoveries of traveling solo. Sights and sounds, food and drink, rich and rewarding peopled experiences await; why not just do it? Adventures to share in class are welcome.


This repeat class (with updates) will view Sub-Saharan Africa since the first colony gained independence in 1957, focusing on Ghana, South Africa, and the DRC. We will analyze trends and discuss how the past 65 years impact the continent today. Despite this tumultuous and brutal period, we will learn about nation-building concepts, different cultures, and the strengths of human beings.


What lies ahead for America? What is increasing and what is decreasing in American society? Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future of our country? Why? The course will consist largely of presentations by volunteers from the class on topics of their choice, followed by animated but civil discussion. There will be no class during the week of October 9, 2017.


Through six plays, we'll examine the history of Ireland's troubled relationship with England, the 1916 Republican Uprising and subsequent civil war between Irish Free Staters and Diehards, and the bitter struggle between Nationalists and Unionists in Northern Ireland. Plays are studied for dramatic qualities as well as social and historical significance.


An annuity can be a wonderful tool, or it can be a big mistake. It is vital that a person/couple understand how these contracts work -- what the pros and cons are, what they cost and why, and whether a variable-rate policy is best. There are many types of annuities that all have different purposes, options, and riders.


Where did antisemitism come from? What are its roots? Is antisemitism different in England? France? Germany? Russia? We will explore these questions by examining Christian teachings, history, literature, art, canards, and early American documents.


Discover and explore your own inner resources for successful living. Each session in this nine-week, repeat course features insightful talks and meaningful interaction about inner resources such as peace, appreciation, inner strength, self-awareness, understanding, dignity, choice, hope, and contentment.


Escape from "busy" and give yourself a two-hour block of time to work on your art, at your own pace, in a relaxed environment. Fellow artists share ideas, encouragement, and support. Pack your materials and come paint! NOTE: if you are using oils, please plan to use water-based paints only.


How can a painting or a poem give rise to a tactile sensation? How can music summon spatial imagery? Human experience is a creative act. In this slide/ lecture/discussion course, we'll read from philosophers, neuroscientists, musicians, and poets and look at paintings from Lascaux to Expressionism as we attempt to answer these questions. There will be simple, optional homework.


Whether you are planning a move to a smaller place or just want to clean out years of accumulation, there are techniques that can help. We'll share ways to reduce clutter - including successes you've had - talk about stumbling blocks, and explore what kind of support might help.


In this course, we will discuss, watch, and listen to excerpts of musicals from the 1950s. This was Broadway at its best -- the height of the Golden Age of Broadway, with Rodgers & Hammerstein, Cole Porter, Lerner & Loewe, Frank Loesser, and so many others working at the top of their game.


Classics stand the test of time. Great classics have universal themes, believable characters, compelling scripts, and memorable quotes; they also appeal to more than one generation.


In this class you'll not only learn how to draw, you'll also learn how to see as an artist sees. Using simple tools, this eight-week, step-by-step course will teach you how to speak a new visual language, unleashing your inner creativity as you learn how to draw the world you see before you. No special talent or experience needed.


This course will examine the lives of British monarchs from Queen Victoria to Queen Elizabeth II (1837-2006), their follies and foibles, their achievements and triumphs, and their impact upon the institution of the British monarchy.


This repeat course will review major U.S. and world current economic events. Students can determine how each topic will affect them and their family. Topics will include lingering effects of recession and future world economic growth.


This repeat course provides a new view of the Third Age (from 50 to 80), based on 25 years of Sadler's research about people who are creatively redesigning their lives and redefining retirement. Students will explore principles for personal growth that can support a successful transition into a Third Age of fulfillment. Classes encourage participant interaction.


Long-Term-Care planning is one of the most important, and too often overlooked, parts of one's retirement and estate plans. This repeat workshop will present the topic of long-term-care planning in a clear, compassionate, and comprehensive manner. We will discuss the various options that can help us manage our long-term-care risks and will compare and contrast these different solutions.

Despite one-party control, our national political environment seems both frozen and fluid, polarized in ways that make the most modest of issues impossible to address and, some would argue, dangerous. Are there any breakthroughs emerging to fix major challenges with policies concerning health care, economic growth and inequality, the environment, infrastructure, trade, and taxation?


Reading and discussion of earlier shorter works, including White Nights, Notes From Underground, and The Gambler, all point toward our main focus, Crime and Punishment, one of Dostoevsky's greatest novels.


From Russia 1917 to Poland 1939, this class will be an inquiry into the years between WWI and WWII that included the Russian Revolution, the Holocaust, the Great Depression, the rise of dictatorships, and many other exciting and horrific events.


Enjoy six weekly, narrated walks through Portland's historic neighborhoods exploring the city's history, architecture, and people since Europeans arrived. In this repeat class, you'll view historic structures, learn about Local architects and their works, and discuss immigrant populations. The longest walk is 2 miles in two hours.


September 20, 2017 to October 25, 2017 ( No seats currently available )

This video-based course features seven short (60 to 90 minutes) documentaries by Ken Burns that reflect various aspects of American character. Class discussions will focus on Burns' selection of topics, his film techniques, and the impact of his work on the interpretation of American history.


This exploration of the Myers Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) is an opportunity for seniors to expand their limitless horizons by learning about themselves and how to relate to others in very creative ways. Whether you are familiar with this Personality Type Indicator or this is an introduction for you, the course will offer an exciting and enjoyable experience as we delve deeply into the nature of Personality Type, brilliantly discovered by Dr. Carl Jung.


Sir John Falstaff is described in one text as "a decadent aristocrat whose appetite for wine, women, and song is matched only by his wit and intelligence." Another critic calls him "a liar, a thief, a sponge, and a coward." However he is portrayed, he is unforgettable. We will read, discuss, and see videos of the three plays in which Falstaff appears.


At a time in our political history when women are either praised or denigrated, this repeat workshop will examine the impact of five key women on President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Throughout his life, FDR was greatly influenced by his Mother, Sara; wife, Eleanor; cousin, Daisy Suckley; soulmate, Lucy Rutherford; and Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins.

This series will be easygoing, laid-back, and enjoyable! Six of eight films will provide lots of "grist for the mill" for us to discuss character development and the sources of inspiration, setbacks, and limitations that uniquely relate to musicians. The remaining two are documentary films; hence not as conducive to in-depth analysis. Of primary importance: We're going to "sit back and enjoy the music" from a variety of genres.


View and discuss four of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's late operas: Cosi fan Tutte, Don Giovanni, Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro) - all with libretto by the composer's greatest collaborator, Lorenzo Da Ponte - and his final opera, Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute). The videos are filmed live in great opera houses with great conductors and include performances from La Scala in Milan, The Royal Opera House Covent Garden, the Salzburg Festival, and Britain's Glyndebourne Festival.


Have you wanted to explore 21st-century fiction, but aren't ready to tackle an 800-page book? Are you curious to see how much power can be packed into fewer than 250 pages? We'll read and discuss four of the best new novels and enjoy guest appearances by Sarah Franklin.


We will examine the major waves of immigration, why peoples left their homelands ("Push Factors"), why they came to America ("Pull Factors"), how they adapted to life in America, and how America adapted to them.


This course explores the interaction of earth materials, processes, and time that shaped New England and Maine. It focuses on the specific types of minerals, rocks, and the physical and chemical means that molded the landscape and provided our geological resources. Special emphasis is given to the bedrock foundation and surficial constituents and the river, glacial, and wave actions that have been the prime movers in determining what we see today. No prior geology is required.


Great Decisions is a flagship program of the World Affairs Council of Maine, facilitated by members of the Council. This session repeats the eight topics of discussion covered in spring 2017: The Future of Europe, Trade and Politics, Conflict in the South China Sea, Saudi Arabia in Transition, U.S. Foreign Policy and Petroleum, Latin America's Political Pendulum, Prospects for Afghanistan, and Nuclear Security.


This is a story about the "hard problem" of human consciousness. But, as H.L. Mencken said, "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple?and wrong." This story threads the archives of mythology, psychology, and physics.


How can Zen Buddhism help us understand our perceptions, time, space, the nature of reality - and ourselves? How does sitting meditation figure into this understanding? This repeat course examines the basics of Soto Zen, based on the instructor's book and on Brad Warner's Hardcore Zen. Warner is a former punk rocker who became an ordained Zen master.


This is a continuation of the History of Britain course offered in spring 2017. However, it stands alone, and the previous course is not a prerequisite. We will cover the period from Richard the Lionheart through the Wars of the Roses.


This two-semester course will cover Maine from pre-historic times to the recent past. Each semester is independent but will complement the other. Presenters are a collaboration of noted scholars of Maine history. Though this is a repeat of Part 1 from fall 2016, there will be some new topics and lecturers.


If you missed reading the Iliad when you were in school or college, or would like to renew your acquaintance, here's your opportunity. We will read and discuss Homer's story about the wrath of Achilles and its terrible consequences in the Trojan War, caused by Helen (so some say). We'll also briefly consider the Iliad's place in the Epic Cycle, reading some bits from a few extant passages, and will view wonderful art from the period as well. No prior knowledge is needed.


This fun and highly interactive class will explore four characteristics associated with happy lives: gratitude, laughter, altruism, and resilience. The course provides insights into how to enrich your life.


This course will examine the important works of recognized international film directors from an aesthetic point of view. We will try to cover them both geographically and chronologically, starting with silent film and coming close to the end of the 20th century. The primary focus will be on the films, with some lecture and discussion of related material.


Jean Vigo (1905-1934 / France) made only four films - A Propos De Nice (1930), Taris (1931), Zero De Conduite (1933), and L'atalante (1934), yet his reputation as one of the rarest of film poets has been confirmed by a number of the great international directors and critics.


This repeat workshop will be an introduction to the family of religions we call Buddhism. We will begin by discussing the development of Buddhism in India, focusing on the life and teachings of its founder, and will then briefly follow its spread across time and space through Asia and the West. Along the way, we will focus on enduring Buddhist ideas and practices.


This repeat course aims at providing a basic foundation in the combined skills of listening, speaking, and writing Chinese characters as well as cultural aspects related to communication. Learners will learn the Mandarin phonetic system (Pinyin), pronunciation, stroke order, and basic Chinese characters.


Let's tackle today's controversies. Each week we will explore two issues grouped under that week's topic (race, education, health care, media, money, politics, and justice). The specific issues we will address include inequality, special education, partisanship, censorship, Affirmative Action, traditional justice, restorative justice, social media, and eight more.


Over the past quarter century, hundreds of students have taken this course, originated at Brandeis University and taught at OLLI for some eight years. Many have published books; all have written life stories. Included will be informational lectures, writing and editing tips, and "how-to's"; oral and written classroom exercises; and home writing assignments.


A continuation of French-language study, with emphasis on expanding vocabulary and listening and speaking ability. This six-week course assumes a basic knowledge of French, as it is conducted largely in French to encourage participation in simple discussions.


Did you study French many long years ago, have French-speaking family members, or grow up in a New England mill town? Here is your chance to step back into le bain de la langue.


This ongoing, participatory dance class draws from the dances of many cultures - traditional American Country/Western using contemporary C/W and pop music, Greek circle dances, Brazilian samba, tango, rhumba, Spanish cha-cha, and the Shim Sham jazz line dance from Harlem. Not all of these are taught every semester. Prior dance experience is not necessary, but ability to comfortably walk two miles at a decent pace is strongly recommended. This class includes a mix of new dances as well as dances taught in previous sessions.


This course will introduce you to the lighter side of math. Think of the young children in your life and take away with you some interesting and fun tricks and reasons why things work that you may share with them. We'll explore puzzles and math tricks and create some of our own.


Evergreen Cemetery is a jewel in the heart of the city. Many prominent Portlanders have been interred there. Walking through with a knowledgeable docent is a walk through our history. We will meet at Evergreen in the Wilde Chapel weekly, and we will learn about a different aspect of our past, as we have a lecture and a guided tour with a different trained docent each week.


Of the 15 most-performed operas in the world today, Mozart wrote four, more than any other composer, including Verdi and Puccini. Had he written only operas, he would be one of the greatest figures in music history. But he also wrote 41 symphonies, 27 piano concertos, and a vast array of other symphonic, chamber, solo, and sacred works - over 626 works in all - before he died at the age of 35!


We will reexamine the importance of music in enhancing the cinematic experience. We will highlight a few more great movie composers whose work has stood the test of time and is frequently heard in symphony halls.


A dull knife is a dangerous knife. Let's learn how to sharpen kitchen knives and be ready for fall and winter holidays. We'll learn about knife-making, materials, knife safety, knife care, sharpeners, and sharpening technique. Bring two knives (well-wrapped) for the instructor to sharpen. This is a repeat workshop.


Why is U.S. health care so complicated and expensive, and how did it get this way? We will use the history of medicine (e.g., discovery of DNA) and public health to organize the class as we work through the story of the U.S. health care system. Through lectures, reading, and class discussions of the Health Industrial Complex and its history, we shall shed a little light on why we have the most expensive health care, and some of best and worst health outcomes, in the developed world.


You must be a current member in order to participate in OLLI Programs.

July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018 (838 seats (34%) remaining)

The Ottoman Empire was one of the largest and longest-living empires in modern history, going back to its founding around 1307 and lasting to 1919, with its apogee under Suleiman the Magnificent (1520 to 1566). We explore the factors of its success and ultimate downfall: the unifying factor of Islam, but also tolerance of diverse ethnic and religious groups. We will delve into the political, economic, social, and cultural life of the empire to provide an understanding of modern Middle East history.


Let's explore the elements of design and composition, applying them to your photographs (and mine), discovering the different things that make a photograph "work." Plan to create images each week and bring them to class for "show and tell." Yes, there is homework, which you will enjoy and which will help boost creativity in your photography.


Willingness to use your imagination to immerse yourself in a role is a prerequisite for this ongoing class. It's an opportunity to learn and practice basic acting techniques using voice and facial expressions. Class includes pantomime and improvisation skills.


We will read and discuss Tocqueville's classic work Democracy in America. Written in the 1830s by the young French aristocrat Alexis de Tocqueville after a visit to the United States, Democracy in America has become a timeless classic, now regarded as perhaps the most perceptive and astute description and analysis of American society, politics, and law.


Shakespeare is at the top of his dramatic game in this, the seventh of eight History plays that tell the story of medieval English kings between the death of Richard II in 1399 and the death of Richard III in 1485. Here, we will follow the fortunes of Falstaff and the progress of Hal from Prince to King Henry V-"the mirror of all Christian kings."


This repeat course traces the history of "blues" through female singers, primarily African-American, who for the most part started in the 1920s taking the blues tradition away from men who had sung them since the Civil War. You will meet "Ma" Rainey, Alberta Hunter, Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Janis Joplin, and E. G. Kight, to name a few. "Torch singers" will include Lena Horne, Julie London, and Sarah Vaughn. You will also meet obscure singers whom time has for the most part forgotten.


Embark on a visual trip around the world through the prism of eight international movies made by native filmmakers in their own language. This is not a repeat course! It features eight new movies.


Everyone has stories to tell. Our stories define us; they are our personal myths. All you have to do is write them. In this ongoing writer-supportive course, you will rekindle memories or past events, find your own voice, and develop storytelling skills that give life to your experiences. In the process you'll get to know yourself and other people in your life better than you ever imagined. Writers new to the program are cordially invited to join this stimulating group.


Populism is on the rise, as evidenced by the surprise passage of Brexit and the election of President Donald Trump. And even though the National Front lost the hotly contested presidential election in France, it is an increasingly influential movement, along with others in Germany, the Netherlands, Greece, and Spain.


From 1923 to 1956, Universal Studios created some of the most iconic literary monsters of the silver screen. They were oft copied, but rarely with the same indelible impact on the motion picture industry. We will revisit Gaston Leroux's Phantom of the Opera (Lon Chaney), Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (Boris Karloff), Bram Stoker's Dracula (Bela Lugosi), Curt Siodmak's The Wolf Man (Lon Chaney Jr.), H. G. Wells' The Invisible Man (Claude Raines), Putnam's The Mummy (Karloff), and Zimm's The Creature from the Black Lagoon.


Is Film Noir a genre, a style, or a mood? Through the screening and discussion of classic American Noir, Neo Noir, and European Noir, students will develop a deeper understanding of and appreciation for this popular category of filmmaking. Each class will begin with a short introduction, followed by the screening of a film and a 30-minute discussion.


Religious people the world over have answers to this question compelling to them. So also do secular students of religion. This course juxtaposes the perspectives of a Roman Catholic priest and a secular anthropologist. We expect that the juxtaposition will highlight complementarity and mutual enrichment.


This ongoing workshop is a supportive peer group of 10 fiction writers working to improve their short-story writing skills. Each month, members send their work to one another in advance of the meeting. Each is responsible for constructive feedback of the work to be shared and discussed at the next session. The workshop will evolve in response to the interests of its members. New members are welcome.


This ongoing workshop is not a class but a supportive group of memoir writers who share and respond constructively to each other's work. New members are welcome, to a limit of 12. The workshop meets on the second Wednesday of each month from October through June.


This ongoing poetry-writing workshop is limited to 12 members. Participants may be asked to prepare a short poetic presentation, referred to as a "Golden Nugget," and to design a prompt for a poem for the next session. Everyone brings 12 hard copies of their drafts for the others, which are taken home, read, and returned with detailed suggestions given for the poet's use.


Discover the amazing power of prompts to lead you to a level of writing you didn't think possible. Leader reads the prompt, which can be a poem, a saying, a question, etc., and everyone writes for 15 minutes. Writings are then shared with the group, but anyone can pass at any time.


Sometime, as we age, we lose some range of movement, either from injuries or just habit. We get stiff. Gentle yoga stretching helps us to extend that range and provides new ways of integrating our bodies to facilitate more graceful and fluid movements.