Santa Clara University

Osher Lifelong Learning

Summer 2008   


  • An exposé of the Secret Life of Bees
  • Making Democracy Happen
  • Body Image and Social Mirrors
  • Adventure Tips and Trips
  • Unfolding Beauty: Celebrating California Landscapes
  • Healing the Heart During and After Loss
  • What every family should know about life-threatening illness
  • Communicating in a digital world


An exposé of the Secret Life of Bees--taught by Alan & Nell Henninger
With all the recent media hype about bees disappearing and dying, this class will make sense out of the current crisis.  Most peole only know bees by their sting and their honey, but have little knowledge about what goes on in those white bee boxes.  The class begins with a general introduction to bees and beekeeping practices, will summarize the current conditions and problems facing bees, and will conclude with suggestions about what can be done to improve the conditions that threaten the little insects that provide one out of every three bites of food you eat.

Making Democracy Happen--taught by Jane Curry
This course is an examination of the recent focus of American foreign policy to make democracy happen by helping facilitate "People's Revolutions" to oust our dictators in Georgia, Belarus, Ukraine, Serbia and beyond.  Based on Jane Curry's recent study of why and how these revolts happened, we will examine the impact of millions of  dollars for democracy promotion, foreign aid to other countries, or military action in making countries move toward democracy and what America should do after the election.  As a part of a project funded by the US Institute of Peace, Jane has interviewed a wide spectrum of people in Serbia, Georgia, and Ukraine about why they came to the streets and faced down the police for days and weeks, what they wanted, and how they managed to organize the demonstrations--Orange Revolution 2005, Rose Revolution 2003, and Serbian Revolution 2000--and keep them going.  She also interviewed top leaders in both the old regimes and the new ones about why there was no violence and what they tried to do.  She will be leaving June 20 to return to Eastern Europe-- so don't miss this opportunity to hear the very latest research on American foreign policy toward former communist states.

Body Image and Social Mirrors--taught by Nicole Sault
Am I too fat or thin, short or tall?  What does a tattoo or blue hair mean?  How we see our physical selves is shaped by our relationships with others who act as our social mirrors.  But the norms and ideals vary by culture and historical period as to how people express their relationships to the natural, social, and spiritual worlds through their bodies.  For this course we will examine what anthropology has revealed about body image in other cultures and use this knowledge to better understand our own society.  We will choose from an array of topics such as food, dancing, alternate gender roles, aging, and the five senses. 

Adventure Tips and Trips--taught by Paul McHugh
What better person to discuss planning interesting and unusual outdoor experiences in California with than Paul McHugh, outdoor writer and adventurer?  In this two-session class, Paul provides insight on proper preparation and planning for a broad array of activities: hiking, camping, desert travel, mountaineering, surf zone adventures, kayaking, skiing and snowshoeing, viewing wildlife, etc.  He will share cautionary tales about some of his own outings gone wrong; and some of his favorite locations for outdoor sport in California.  At the conclusion, there will be group brainstorming about destinations and techniques.  You won't want to miss this golden opportunity to schmooze with a charming raconteur even if you have no immediate travel plans. 

Unfolding Beauty: Celebrating California Landscapes--taught by Terry Beers
Sit back, relax, and explore the wonders of California through the written and spoken word.  The astounding beauty of California has inspired some of the world's best writing, and this course explores some of that work through lecture, discussion, and dramatic readings featuring the California Legacy Radio Players including Dan Maloney, Jessica Teeter, and Kevin Hearle.

Healing the Heart During and After Loss--taught by Carolyn Grassi
Everyone experiences loss--whether a recent or long ago loss of a family member, friend, animal, job, or our own health.  Whatever the loss, we need to learn ways to heal and keep joy alive in our hearts.  Some may experience a prolonged loss if a loved one has a serious illness.  Thus emotional and physical "burn out" can happen privately at home.  No matter our circumstances, no matter our age, in this presentation you will learn practical paths for healing and nurturing your body, mind and spirit through activities such as readings, music, guided meditations, sharing our stories, and rituals.  Participants will experience traditional and innovative "practices" that lead to joyful living.  Our goal is for each to take home the "tools" that will help your body, mind and spirit on this, the journey of life.

Suggested readings: Healing the Heart, by Joseph Grassi; My Grandfather's Blessings, by Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen

What every family should know about life-threatening illness--taught by David Feldman
As the baby boomer generation ages, more and more people are facing the prospect of caring for parents and other loved ones with life-threatening and terminal illnesses.  With the stunning capability of modern medicine, people may be told that they have a life-threatening illness months or even years in advance of passing away.  As a consequence, patient and families potentially have more choice than ever before about how and where the end of life will occur.  Unfortunately, most people are unprepared for the responsibility of making such choices and the intense emotions that can accompany them. 

When confronted with the knowledge of a loved one's impending death the first emotions one feels may be shock and grief.  But when the dust settles on this emotional landmine, many unavoidable questions must be addressed.  After all, your loved one is dying, not dead.  They may have months, or even years, yet to live.  In this class, we will explore man questions: How can you help them to live the time they have left to the fullest?  How can you make good medication decisions?  Who will tell other friends and family the bad news?  Where will death occur?  The list goes on.  And in the middle of all this is the hardest question of all: someone important to you is leaving this world--how do you begin to cope with that?  Such issues will be addressed through a combination of lecture and discussion.  Ample time will also be given for your questions.

Communicating in a digital world--taught by David Armstrong
What is this Blog thing?  Will it bite on a dark night?  What is a MySpace?  Is it some kind of new restaurant?  There is a communication explosion today and if we want to keep in touch with our children and grandchildren we need to use the new technology because they sure don't respond to email or answer their voice mail!  In this class we will examine alternative ways of finding and evaluating online information such as Blogs, Chat, and personal web pages such as MySpace; and get connected to video conferencing.  Don't become a dinosaur!  It's easy and fun to get connected.


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