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APPRECIATING SWANN’S WAY BY MARCEL PROUST Moderator: Nancy Goudreau (, 703-329-2933) and our Re-searcher. Transport yourself into turn-of-the-century Paris/environs, as depicted and experienced by Marcel Proust in Swann’s Way, Volume I (published in French, 1913), of his masterpiece In Search of Lost Time, Vol. I – VII. Proust, as an impartial witness, presents the snobbery, duplicity, obsessions and de-cadence of French society and probes the interior lives of himself and his characters. We will read through the first volume by reviewing 60+ pages per meeting, plus facts about Proust’s life and social milieu. Nancy and our Researcher will use on-line resources and text references to enhance our under-standing. Students should provide their own copy of Swann’s Way, the Moncrieff / Kilmartin or Yale Univ. Press (William Carter) English translation. Thursday, 11:00-12:30.

ARCHAEOLOGY: AN INTRODUCTION TO THE WORLD’S GREATEST SITES Moderator, Bisharah Libbus (, 919-771-6567), This course provides an inside view of what questions archaeologists must ask themselves: How can they locate a particular ancient site? Once found, how should they excavate the site? How can they “get the stones to speak?” The lectures will cover the most famous archaeological discoveries of our time, i.e.: *Troy to King Tut’s tomb; *the Ullburun Shipwreck and the Dead Sea Scrolls; *Petra  and Ebla; *the Maya and the Terracotta soldiers. Bishara will show two lectures per class meeting. Thursday, 11:00-12:30.

BEGINNING SPANISH Co-Moderators: Edwin and Mary Ann Nirdlinger (, 419-490-3110). Here is a course for you if you al-ways wanted to learn Spanish. Ed and Mary Ann will spend about half of the course time reading text in Spanish and half, conversing in Spanish. The recommended book for purchase is Easy Spanish, Step-by-Step by Barbara Bregstein, McGraw Hill, available at Barnes and Noble and on Amazon for about $11.00. NOTE: Class size is limited to ten. Wednesday, 11:00-12:30.

BOOK CLUB Co-Moderators: Abbie Tom (919-933-8972, & Suzanne Haff (, 919-933-9329). Class members from the course held in spring, 2018, have selected the following three books and volunteer moderators for the fall 2018 term: **October 5: Caramelo by Sandra Cisneros, led by Ed; **November 2: Not Without Laughter by Langston Hughes, led by Ken; and **December 7: Hannah’s Daughters by Marianne Fredriksson, led by Anne Marie. NOTE: New students are welcome. First Fridays, starts Oct. 5, 11:00-12:30.

CONQUEST OF THE AMERICAS Co-Moderators: Anne-Marie Durand-Kennett (, 919-914-6247) & Rosalinde Milazzo (919-942-6716). Columbus’s voyage to the Americas in 1492 was neither a discovery nor an encounter, but more the start of a collision among three distinct peoples and cultures – European, African and Native American – that eventually created a distinct American identity. During 24 DVD lectures from the Great Courses, we will learn about the importance of the conquest of the Americas, i.e.: *the Spanish subjugation and exploitation of Native Americans; *religious conversion; *colonization by Britain and others; *the slave trade; *the rise of new cultures; and *the effect on European civilization. Anne Marie and Rosalinde will show two lectures per meeting, allowing time for questions. NOTE: This course begins Sept. 20th . Thursday, 11:00-12:30.

CONTROVERSIES: HOW DEMOCRACIES DIE Moderator: Hank Becker (932-7356, This is a seminar-type course, based on careful reading of one or two books.   Participants are responsible for presenting an overview of one week’s reading selection.   The book we will base the course on during the fall, 2018, is How Democracies Die (2018) by Steven Levitsky & Daniel Ziblatt.  In addition, we will read and discuss either a second book (e.g., Retreat of Western Liberalism) or a series of articles dealing with the same issue. NOTESEnrollment is limited to 20 people.    Through Aug. 15th, participants from the prior semester have priority for registration.       Monday, 11:00-12:30.

DISCOVER UNFAMILIAR LANGUAGES, LIVING AND DEAD   Moderator: Stu Solomon (, 919-932-3819). Stu intends to instill in students a sense of wonder at the variety / ingenuity of human language. In two-week study blocks, he will help students recognize the unique features of the languages under discussion, e.g.: *the tri-consonantal root system of Hebrew and other Semitic languages; *the fit of languages into the world’s families of languages; *the history of those who spoke these languages and time periods. We’ll learn about various writing systems (Biblical He-brew, Hittite, Gothic, Mandarin Chinese, Old Norse, Old English, Sanskrit) and, in the Chinese block, how to look up Chinese characters in the dictionary. Lastly, we’ll do hands-on work in actual translation. NOTE: Class size is limited to ten. Monday, 9:15-10:45.

DUTCH MASTERS IN THE AGE OF REMBRANDT  Co-Moderators:  Jane Misch (919-918-3649, and Sharon Epstein (919-903-8564,  Wealthy 17th-century Holland was home to a remarkable concentration of artists, i.e., Rembrandt, Vermeer and Franz Hals. Their work included portraits, still life, landscapes and seascapes – their contemporary environment and society.  In a visually sumptuous presentation, Prof. William Kloss (the Great Courses) shows how the artists’ technical acumen (e.g., the use of light) elevated their efforts and success. We’ll view 36 lectures, two lectures shown each week.  NOTE: The class will continue several weeks into the Spring semester Mondays, 11:00-12:30.

FORENSIC HISTORY: CRIMES, FRAUDS, & SCANDALS Moderator: Rosalinde Milazzo, (919-942-6716). Professor Elizabeth A. Murray from the Great Courses will guide us in examining known criminal acts from the past which challenged law enforcement agencies, some for many years, such as,: *the identity of Jack the Ripper; *Hollywood mysterious deaths; *criminals in the Wild West; *mysteries of the Romanov Family; and *that infamous daughter, Lizzie Borden, MA. Can we relate any wrong-doings in the 21st century to those in the past? Rosalinde will show two lectures per class. Tuesday, 9:15-10:45.

HINDUISM:   WHAT IS IT?  A RELIGION OR WAY OF LIFE?  Moderator:  Raghu Billal (, 919-370-7788).   With our Great Courses professor as guide, we will explore: *India’s tumultuous history; *the Vedic philosophy of tolerance, non-violence and non-interference; and *the theology and mythological stories behind the apparent pantheistic and ritualistic practices, that are followed by current Indian society.   With audience participation, we shall explore the similarities and differences between the Judaeo-Christian religions and Hinduism/Buddhism. Raghu will show two lectures per class meeting. Tuesday, 9:15-10:45.

HISTORY AND NATURE OF THE UNIVERSE, PART II, BIG STUFF TO SMALL STUFF   Moderator: Barry Lentz (, 919-966-5384). We will continue our journey through space and time with Mark Whittle’s Great Course “Cosmology” by covering Lectures 20 to 22, which conclude with the growth of galaxies, i.e., the “Big Stuff.”   Then we will join Sean Carroll from Cal Tech for 16 lectures as he explores the universe’s “Small Stuff” (particles) in his Great Course “The Higgs Boson and Beyond.”  Hopefully, we will return in the next course in this series to Mark’s final 13 lectures on the nature of the very early universe when particles and atoms were born. NOTE: NEW students are welcome. Wednesday, 9:15-10:45. 

MAJOR TRANSITIONS IN EVOLUTION Moderators: Jim Freedman (919-401-9311, and Larry Nielsen (919-967-3572, This 24 lecture course depicts the science-detective story of the giant leaps that have resulted in nature’s boundless diversity. Major transitions include: *the leap from basic to complex cells; *the movement from fish to legged land animals; *the evolution of flying creatures; and, finally, *the arrival of modern humans. The broad subject matter is presented by two professors, Anthony Martin, a paleontologist and geologist, and John Hawks, a paleontologist, both from the Great Courses, who will lead us to the conclusion that life is endlessly surprising and resilient. Two lectures per meeting Thursday, 9:15-10:45.

THE MOVIE EXPERIENCE, INTERNATIONAL MASTERS  Moderator:  Glenn Wrighton (919-929-3406,   We’ll complete our exploration of the history of the cinema industry, by covering international directors, such as Renoir, Truffaut, De Sica and Kurosawa, in an MIT OpenCourseWare video course, taught by Professor David Thorburn who uses film clips to enhance his lectures.     Every third session will feature a film viewing (with subtitles), associated with the lectures.     Tuesday, 11:00-12:30.

PERSONAL HISTORY Moderator: Bobbie Lubker (919-967-2996, Only we can document our personal experiences, reactions and perceptions during our dynamic times. We will support each other’s individual efforts to record in writing what we have lived through and to encourage and aid our developing a sense of accomplishment – to make our writing more engaging to readers / listeners. Thus, we will all write, read aloud our writing, listen to all and appreciate. Wednesday, 9:15-10:45.

PLAYS:  READING AND DISCUSSING PLAYS AND VIEWING FILMS  Moderators:  Alan Tom (919-933-8972, and Marsha Back (, 919-381-7694).  We will read and discuss several plays by Lillian Hellman and view movie renditions of same, as well as focusing on the plays of at least one other modern playwright – to be chosen by the class after the start of the fall term. NOTES: Class registration is limited to 12 students. Through August 15, participants from the prior semester have priority in registration. Tuesday, 11:00-12:30.

RADIO-ASTRONOMY: OBSERVING-THE-INVISIBLE-UNIVERSE, PART I Moderators: Dave Birnbaum (919-942-8469,, and Neil Stahl (, 919-357-0811). (You can google this course as an offering from Great Courses.) Visible light can only take us so far in understanding the universe.    Radio waves have shown and will show us much more. The lecturer, Dr. Felix J. Lockman, is an exceptional expositor of science, and the series is brand new (2017) with great graphics and animations, up-to-date facts and timely topics. We’ll cover what RA has revealed about the solar system, our galaxy, pulsars, black holes, the history of the universe, etc. and what we hope it will reveal — also: *how radio telescopes work; and *what they can do that visual light telescopes can’t; and *possible future developments. One lecture/week with extensive discussion. Tuesdays, 9:15-10:45.

SHORT STORIES Moderators: Marcy Sacarakis (610-428-9916, and Jane Maske (, 919-265-4009). Students will discuss one story per week from the most current edition of either The Best American Short Stories or The O Henry Prize Stories, both available in paperback at Flyleaf Books and Amazon. We will have lively discussions about the writing, themes, plots, characters and the story’s relevance to us. Classes end with poetry readings, chosen by a member. NOTE: NEW students are welcome. Wednesday, 9:15-10:45.

SPANISH, INTERMEDIATE Moderator:  Violet Simon (919-969-4484,  This class will be conducted in Spanish.  Books for the course are Quentos Hispanos de Los Estados Unidos [Spanish Stories from the U.S.], edited by De Julian Olivaros, and The Ultimate Spanish Review and Practice, 2nd edition.   Also, articles in Spanish on the internet at BBC Mundo will be assigned to be read and discussed in class. NOTES: NEW students are welcome. Class meets in the Community Room, Main Hall, of Carol Woods Retirement Community, Chapel Hill. Wednesday, 11:00-12:30.

SYMPHONIES I, II & III OF BEETHOVEN, Moderator: Pat Detitta (919-929-2129, Come and learn all you would ever want to know about Beethoven. Our lecturer (from Great Courses), a perennial favorite of Shared Learning members, Joseph Greenberg, will present two, 45 minute lectures per class meeting on Beethoven’s life with a deep analysis and musical samples from each piece. Therefore, we will cover only three of his nine symphonies this term — his ‘First,’ ‘Second’ and ‘Third’, known as ‘The Eroica.’ The others will be covered by Greenberg in two terms in 2019. Because there will not be time for a formal break, you may bring snacks and freely leave when necessary. Wednesday, 11:00-12:30.

TED TALKS Moderator Bisharah Libbus (919-771-6567, Do you remember the last time you had a deep and satisfying conversation? Did you leave refreshed, inspired, challenged, motivated, and connected? This class will consist of selected TED Talks, given by creative minds, (vetted speakers) that address challenging issues. Based on student interest per class, Bisharah will feature three or four TED lectures from the web-site, followed by class discussion. Discussion and group interaction are important components of this class, since they aim to both foster synergy / engagement among participants and to facilitate our understanding and reflection on the topics presented.  Come and join the conversation. Thursdays 9:15–10:45.

TOURING SITES OF THE ANCIENT PERSIAN EMPIRE — IN GREECE AND TURKEY Moderator: Nancy Goudreau (703-329-2933, Prepare for your enrollment in spring and fall 2019 courses, The Persian Empire and the Greek and Persian Wars, by familiarizing yourself with ancient sites in Greece and Turkey, as explored with an experienced Great Courses archeologist, professor and raconteur. Nancy will present one or two lectures per meeting, along with supplementary materials and references to Persian Empire sites. Tuesday, 11:00-12:30.

THE TRIBAL MIND: IDENTITY, BELIEF, BIAS AND POLITICAL POLARIZATION Moderator: Hank Becker (919-932-7356,  The course will examine writings in the field of political psychology to help us understand our polarized political environment. Lectures and video excerpts to stimulate discussion will refer to books, such as: Haidt’s The Righteous Mind and Berreby’s Us & Them, as well as Hetherington’s research on political polarization and work by a variety of other scholars and journalists who write about the psychology of political belief and opinion.  Participants will be encouraged to read articles and book chapters made available electronically. Monday, 9:15-10:45.

VIEWS ON THE NEWS  Moderators:   Gordon Taylor (919-545-0686, and Alice Parsons (,919-642-0606).   Our informal round table discussions focus on local, state, national and world events.   In each meeting, a volunteer presents current subjects, about which participants exchange views.   The conversations are managed with respect by the moderators and are open to all points of view.   NOTES:  NEW students are welcome.   Also, the class meets every Monday all year round, with new topics per meeting. Monday, 9:15–10:45. ———————————————————————————————————————


GRAY LINDGREN LECTURES Committee Chairperson: Meyer Liberman (919-417-0674, This fall, the Shared Learning lecture series on topical issues will be presented on Friday, 11:00 a.m., September 28 and October 26. Our presenters exemplify top scholars in their fields from our rich local academic resources. Lectures are free and open to the public. Remember to invite your friends and neighbors. Check and the member email announcements for upcoming lectures.

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