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If you have QUESTIONS about any course, please contact the moderator(s) directly.

New students are welcome in ALL courses. Note, however, that a few courses are marked as “continuing” from last semester meaning that some lectures may assume some previous knowledge.

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AMERICAN VIEWPOINTS: WHAT SURVEYS TELL US ABOUT OURSELVES Moderator: Hank Becker (932- 7356, Each week the class will consider recently released reports from surveys of American opinion – from the Pew Research Center, the New York Times “Upshot” column, and other sources. The survey reports (often just web page summaries) will be posted on the course website ahead of a next meeting, and the discussion will incorporate related research studies about the same topic. Two or three reports will be discussed per class. NOTE: To promote discussion, enrollment is limited to 20 people. Thursday, 9:30 – 11:00.

ANCIENT MESOAMERICA REVEALED Moderator: David Birnbaum (, 919-259-9656). This 48 lecture course from The Great Courses will immerse us in the epic BCE and AD civilizations of Mesoamerican history and culture. In many ways more advanced than European states, Olmec, Mayan and Aztec societies achieved remarkable accomplishments, e.g., the development of: *thriving cities, like the Aztec capital Tenochtitian; *the Mayan calendar, spanning thousand of years; *highly valued crop production of corn, beans, chocolate, squashes; *a Mayan writing system, recently deciphered; and *Maya mathematics – the first to use zero. Dave will present two lectures per meeting, with stops to respond to questions and discussion. In addition to resources and attending university courses in this topic, Dave has visited Latin American sites and participated in a dig in Peru. NOTE: the course will continue during the summer and/or fall terms.  Wednesday, 9:30 – 11:00.

APPRECIATING VOL. II OF IN SEARCH OF LOST TIME BY MARCEL PROUST Moderator: Nancy Goudreau (703-329-2933, ) and our Researcher. We will continue our immersion into the sumptuous prose and absorbing social world of turn-of-the-century Parisians, as witnessed and experienced by the now teenage narrator of Within a Budding Grove, Vol. II, of In Search of Lost Time, Volumes I – VII. This semester we will read through this entire novel, reviewing 70 page segments per week. NOTES: NEW students are welcome, but should have read or have knowledge of Vol. I, Swann’s Way and have purchased Vol. II, the C. K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin translation, revised by D. J. Enright and published in paperback by The Modern Library, 1998. Lastly, no one need read any of Vol. II, before the first class meeting. Thursday, 11:15 – 12:45.

BASICS OF DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY — ELEVATING YOUR PICTURE TAKING Moderator: Glenn Wrighton (919-929-3406, This course will explain basic concepts of digital camera technology and composition, in order to en- able class members to take more interesting photos. Classes will be based on lecture materials, developed by Glenn, and on selected videos from the Internet or DVD’s. We’ll hold interactive discussions, as we review the taking and resulting quality of our own photos. At least one photo shoot field trip is planned. Requirements: Own a digital camera of any kind and be willing to take and share photos in class. Both novices and experts are welcome. Mondays, 9:30 – 11:00.

BEGINNING SPANISH, II Co-Moderators: Edwin and Mary Ann Nirdlinger (, 419-490-3110). The course continues from our Fall 2018 course Beginning Spanish, I, which was an introduction for beginning students. It is opened to students from that course and any others who have a basic knowledge of Spanish, know the difference between ‘Ser’ and “Esar’ and know how to conjugate regular verbs in the present tense. We will begin our study at Chapter 7 or 8 of Easy Spanish, Step-by-Step, by Barbara Bregstein from McGraw Hill (available at Barnes and Noble and on Amazon for about $11.00). During the first half of each class, we will devote time to reviewing Spanish grammar and vocabulary. The final 45 minutes will be reserved for practicing in Spanish what we have learned. NOTE: Class size is limited to 12, in order to promote practices. Wednesday, 11:15 – 12:45.

BOOK CLUB Co-moderators: Abbie Tom (919-933-8972, and Suzanne Haff (, 919-933- 9329). Class members from the course, held in fall, 2018, have selected the following three books to read and review for the spring term: **February 1, Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng, discussion led by Suzanne; **March 1, To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf, led by Elizabeth; and **April 1, The Dry by Jane Harper, led by Roz. Friday, first Friday of the Month, 9:30 – 11:00.

CONTROVERSIES: NATIONAL & WORLD Moderator: Hank Becker (919-932-7356, This is a seminar- type course, based on careful reading of one / two books. Participants are responsible for presenting an overview of one week’s reading selection. The book(s) for the Spring 2019 semester is 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari. NOTES: To promote discussion, enrollment is limited to 20. Also, through Dec. 15th, 2018, participants from the prior semester have priority for registration. Monday, 11:15-12:45.

DUTCH MASTERS IN THE AGE OF REMBRANDT, continued 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, e.g., Rembrandt, Vermeer and Franz Hals. Their work included portraits, still life, landscapes, seascapes. Prof. William Kloss (The Great Courses) shows how the artists’ technical acumen elevated their efforts and success. We’ll view the final eight lectures, two lectures per week into early February. NOTE: NEW students are welcome. Monday, 11:15 – 12:45.

EXPERIENCING HUBBLE: UNDERSTANDING THE GREATEST IMAGES OF THE UNIVERSE Moderator: Bisharah Libbus (919-771-6567, Over years, we all have been enthralled and captivated by Hubble images. In this course, Prof. Meyer (of The Great Courses): *discusses the scientific stories behind some of the Hubble Space Telescope’s most spectacular images; *provides their broad astro-physical context; and *projects implications of their findings. Supplementary material will occasionally be provided. Bisharah will show two lectures per meeting. Thursday, 11:15 – 12:45.

GREAT DECISIONS. Moderator, Jane Misch, (, 919-918-3649). Great Decisions is a national program, sponsored by the U. S. Foreign Policy Institute. UNC undergraduates schedule the lectures to take place on UNC campus, as part of their International Studies curriculum. We attend the lectures on campus in Carroll Hall, at 7:00 PM on Tuesday evenings, and, on Wednesday, the next morning, at 11:15 AM, in CUMC, Shared Learning members and UNC students participate in discussions. Topics for 2019 include: *Refugees and Global Migration; *The Middle East and Regional Disorder; *Nuclear Negotiation; *The Rise of Populism in Europe; *U.S.–China Trade; *India and Its Neighbors; *Cyber Conflict; *The U.S. and Mexico; *State of the State Department and Diplomacy. NOTE: Great Decisions will not start until the end of January. Jane will email the schedule when it has been decided. Wednesday, 11:15 – 12:45.

GREAT SCIENTIFIC IDEAS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD, continued. Moderator: Bisharah Libbus (919-771-6567, Ideas can impact and change the world, a concept repeatedly proven on small and large scales in the history of science. This course continues a course, begun in Summer of 2018. For our spring term, Prof. Goldman (of The Great Courses) reviews, in 20 lectures, the progression of scientific knowledge – from the invention of printing and the definition of scientific truth and knowledge to the theory of the atom and the germ, the power of statistics, the genetic revolution, and informatics. Bisharah will show two lectures per meeting with time for discussion and interaction. NOTE: NEW students are welcome. Thursday, 9:30 – 11:00.

HOW DID GOD BECOME A MAN? Moderator Barry Lentz (, 919-824-8807). Recently, I’ve been asking how men got in charge of everything. In Judeo-Christian (and to some extent Islamic) tradition, God is war-like and called ‘Father.’ But, much evidence exists that earlier, very successful societies worshiped a Goddess. Merlin Stone’s famous 1976 treatise titled When God Was a Women presented extensive research into ancient matriarchal or matrilineal societies. It is credited with establishing the feminist movement of the 70’s and 80’s, but since ignored by scholars. In this discussion course, we will read Stone’s book and ponder its truths and fallacies. Participants will need to buy the digital version of the book (Kindle, which permits historical and archeological research while reading) on Amazon ($14) or find the book in sales. Also, all are invited to share other materials on this topic. Note: An earlier version of this catalog incorrectly listed this course as meeting on Wednesday.  Tuesday, 9:30 – 11:00.

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 or listeners. Thus, we will all write, read aloud our writing, listen to all and appreciate.   Wednesday, 9:30 – 1100.

THE PHYSICS OF HISTORY Moderator Don Misch (919-924-0502, How are biology, chemistry, geology and physics of the earth interrelated in producing the earth as we know it today? Dr. David Helfland (from The Great Courses) explains it all in layman’s terms. Lecture topics include the origin and evolution of both the universe and life and the properties of matter. Don will show two 30 minute lectures per meeting. Tuesday, 9:30 – 11:00.

PLAY READING AND DISCUSSION Moderators: Alan Tom (, 919-933-8972, and Marsha Back (, 919-381-7694). We will read and discuss various plays and view movie renditions of several from the collection Famous American Plays of the 1930’s, edited by Harold Clurman, which includes works by: Clifford Odets, S. N. Behrman, Robert Sherwood, John Steinbeck and William Saroyan. Students are expected to purchase the Clurman book; used copies are available at Alibris or Amazon. Also, we will also read Carson McCullers’ play The Member of the Wedding – to be provided at the cost of duplication. NOTE: To promote oral reading and discussion, enrollment is limited to 13, with prior students who have registered by December 15th having priority. Tuesday, 11:15 – 12:45.

SCIENCE CAFE Moderator: Alan Ziegler (919-433-7343, Alan will select articles of interest, as reported in the news (e.g., Science Times or on Google news/science) and on accessible scientific and technological oriented websites (Science, Scientific American, Nature, NEJM, MIT Tech). Before class meetings, he’ll provide links to sites or send attachments. In the class, after a brief summary, we’ll discuss the potentially social, economic and/or philosophic implications of these articles. Also, students may volunteer to bring in articles of particular interest to themselves. Sample topics might be: *potential unintended effects and economic trade-offs to new approaches to handling climate change; *philosophic and socio-religious implications of finding evidence of microscopic life on Mars; *ethical implications of new techniques for manipulating/engineering DNA. NOTE: Class size is limited to 15 to promote discussion.  Monday, 11:15 – 12:45.

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.  Wednesday, 9:30 – 11:00.

SPANISH DISCUSSION GROUP No registration is necessary. Moderators: Edwin & Mary Ann Nirdlinger (, 419-490-3110). This informal discussion group is intended for those with some competency in Spanish who would like to get together once a month and chat on topics – to be determined during the first discussion period. There will be no lessons. The meetings are designed for us to enjoy sharing information in Spanish and to socialize with other Spanish speakers. Those at the beginning level of competency would benefit by attending, listening to discussions and improving their ability to understand spoken Spanish.  Second Friday of the month, 9:30 – 11:00.

SYMPHONIES {IV, V, & VI} OF BEETHOVEN, continued. Moderator: Pat DeTitta (, 919- 929-2129). This class continues from fall, 2018, when we covered Symphonies I, II and III. Come learn more about Beethoven and his wonderful symphonies. Our lecturer (from The Great Courses), a perennial favorite of Shared Learning members, Joseph Greenberg, will present one 45 minute lecture per class on Beethoven’s life, plus a deep analysis and musical samples from each symphony. We will cover three symphonies this term – his Fourth, Fifth and Sixth. There will be time for a formal break and plenty of time for discussion. NOTE: NEW students are welcome. Wednesday, 11:15 – 12:45.

TRAILS OF EVIDENCE: HOW SCIENCE WORKS Moderator: Rosalinde Milazzo (919-942-6716) This course continues a subject area from the fall 2018 course, titled Forensic History: Crimes, Frauds and Scandals. In two lectures per meeting, a professor of forensic anthropology from The Great Courses, will explain the strategies, techniques and science, used by agencies to solve crimes. Her topics include: *fingerprint science; *forensics of teeth and bit marks; *from bugs to bones; *mass disaster forensics; *serology—blood and other body fluids *handwriting / forgery analysis.  Monday, 9:30 –11:00.

UNDERSTANDING GREEK AND ROMAN TECHNOLOGY – FROM CATAPULT TO THE PANTHEON Moderator: Neil Stahl (, 919-357-0811). Ancient Greece and Rome were home to some of the most creative engineers who ever lived. Many of their feats have survived, while others have disappeared into the mists of time. But modern research is shedding new light on these renowned wonders—impressive buildings, infrastructure systems and machines that were profoundly important in their day and have had a lasting impact on the development of civilization. Some lecture topics include: *engineering a Roman aquaduct; *from temple to basilica, timer roof systems; *machines of war, siege towers and rams; *from source to city, water supply systems. Neil will show two lectures per class, allowing time for discussion. Tuesday, 11:15 – 12:45.

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. NOTE: The class meets every Monday all year round, with new topics per meeting. Monday, 9:30 – 11-00.

WHICH POETS SPEAK TO US? Moderator: Nancy Goudreau (703-329-2933, Reading poetry can be deeply rewarding — with insights and expressions which linger in our memories. But, reading other poems might provide us only momentary or slight rewards. In this class we will discover and be re-inspired by memorable poets who have: *ignited our imagination; *clarified difficult concepts; *recognized absurdities; *created musical or lilting phrases. Students will vote for the poets they want to consider. Therefore; you are in charge of the class content, will provide copies of the work of selected poets, and lead our considerations. Referring to an anthology that includes biographies (such as, The Great Modern Poets, edited by Michael Schmidt, Quercus or The Best Poems of the English Language, edited by Harold Bloom, 2004) might be a useful reference. Tuesday, 11:15 – 12:45.

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