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Contemporary African-American Poetry

When: Mondays, 10 AM – Noon | April 10 – May 15
Where: Zoom
Instructor: Don Melander | Facilitator: Alice Nye

In this continuing course on poets, we are using Kevin Young’s Library of America Anthology African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle & Song and reading it, for the most part, from its ending to its beginning. In this course, we probably will be reading Ishion Hutchinson, Harmony Holiday, Sean Hill, Eve L. Ewing, LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs, DeLana R. A. Dameron, and Tiana Clark.

Don Melander is a Professor of English and Humanities Emeritus at New England College, where for 50 years he taught literature, humanities, poetry workshops and team-taught courses in philosophy, history, and the creative process. He also adapted works for Open Door Theatre and served as its dramaturg. This course is his seventeenth for LINEC.

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*Astronomy and Cosmology

When: Mondays, 1:30 PM – 3:30 pm | April 10 – May 15
Where: *In-Person at NEC Carriage House, Room 16
Instructor: Curtiss Rude | Facilitator: Don Melander

Much has been learned in the field of astronomy in the past six years. New information has been discovered and new questions posed by telescopes, interplanetary probes, automated full-sky surveys, and gravitational wave detectors. Surprising new images of the early universe from the James Webb Space telescope (JWST) show the universe as it existed as far back as less than 400 million years after the Big Bang. We will explore the technology behind these scientific advancements, look at some of the images and other data that have been generated, and learn about their implications for our understanding of the universe and our place in it.

Curtiss Rude worked in the semiconductor industry in Essex Junction, Vermont, for 20+ years. His second career was as a high school chemistry and physics teacher. Upon retiring in 2012, he took up astronomy as a hobby. He previously taught a LINEC course on astronomy in fall 2016.


When: Tuesdays, 10 AM – Noon | April 11, 18, and May 2
Where: Zoom
Instructor: Eric Simon | Facilitator: Amanda Marsh

In this three-week course, we will learn about DNA, the molecule that provides instructions to all life on Earth. We will learn about the structure of the DNA molecule and see how it relates to its functions, both in naturally occurring cells and, increasingly, in biotechnology applications such as DNA profiling, genetically modified organisms, and CRISPR-based genetic engineering. This course is meant for nonscientists and no prior knowledge is assumed.

Eric Simon is a Professor of Biology at New England College and writer of many textbooks crafted for all levels of education.

*The Stage Shapes the Play and the Play Shapes the Stage: How Shakespeare’s Plays Reveal Themselves Through Production — Othello

When: Tuesdays, 1:30 – 3:30 PM | April 11 – May 16
Where: *In-Person at Congregational Church of Henniker: Parish Hall
Instructor: Glenn Stuart | Facilitator, Dick Hesse

We will share and discuss three distinct experiences of Othello: a video of the 2015 live stage production by the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) directed by Iqbal Kahn and featuring Lucian Msamati as Iago, the first black actor to play this role at the RSC; a 1995 feature film directed by Oliver Parker and featuring Laurence Fishbourne and Kenneth Branagh; and a 2017 novel inspired by the play, Tracy Chevalier’s New Boy, which you may acquire for the course.

Director Michael Bogdanov has observed the following about producing Shakespeare’s plays: “The job of the artist in the theatre is illumination and reconstruction and the endless task of assimilating the objects of the past into the interests of the present, on the understanding that the physical artifact which is the occasion
for such an enterprise will be retained in some place in its original form, so that it is available for anyone else who wishes to make a competitive reconstruction of his own.” We have long since abandoned the notion that somewhere out there lies a definitive version or production of any of Shakespeare’s plays. Each and every production brings a new and unique experience of the play.

Glenn Stuart is is a Professor of Theatre Emeritus at New England College where he taught for 38 years, designed 125 theatre and dance productions, and was founding Director of the Open Door Theatre for which he designed and directed 20 productions including King Lear, Hamlet, The Winter’s Tale, The Merchant of Venice, Much Ado about Nothing, As You Like It, and The Tempest. He holds an MA in Theater from the
State University of New York, Albany, where he studies with Roger Herzel, Jark Burian, and Judith Barlow.

Women Artists – Impressionism to Pluralism

When: Wednesdays, 10 AM – Noon | April 12 – May 3
Where: Zoom
Instructor: Gail Smuda | Facilitator: Mindy Fitterman

Beginning with the women artists in the era of Impressionism, we will cover some of the women who are just now claiming their place in art history from the beginning of the 20th century. Many of the mid-century women are becoming better known, but would you recognize their work? The later part of the century sees the passing of a generation of artists whose work is better known and who often lived to see their work acknowledged in their lifetime.

Suggested readingNinth Street Women By Mary Gabriel

Gail Smuda has been an exhibiting artist for over 40 years. She has exhibited in 48 states and received two Individual Artist Grants from the State of New Hampshire. Retrospective exhibitions were mounted at the University of Massachusetts/Lowell and at Southern NH University. Smuda’s work has been reviewed in Boston Voyager, Artscape and Fiber Arts magazines. She retired from a decade of teaching art history
at Southern NH University but had been teaching art for various venues since her college days.

*American Novel Reading Group

Wednesdays, 1:30 – 3:30 PM | April 12 & May 3
Where: *In-Person at Tucker Free Library, Henniker
Instructor and Facilitator: John McCausland

New members are welcome to join this on-going group any time. The group meets throughout the year, on the first Wednesday afternoon of each month to discuss a novel chosen by the group from several “100 Best American Novels” lists. Choices have included Moby Dick, The Great Gatsby, Native Son, The Grapes of Wrath, The Ambassadors and The Confessions of Nat Turner, and more recent novels by Annie Proulx and Jonathan Franzen. The April choice is Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead, and the May choice is Donna Tartt’s The Secret History. Discussions are informal and lively, with participants contributing background and historical and literary insights.

John McCausland has taught LINEC courses on the Bible, Chaucer, and the American novel. An Episcopal priest and one-time lawyer, he loves history, literature, theology, teaching, and learning.

Annals of the Former World

When: Wednesdays, 1:30 – 3 :30 PM | April 19, 26 and May 10, 17
Where: Zoom
Instructor & Facilitator: Paul Hague

Beginning in Spring 2023 and for as long as it takes, we will be reading and discussing John McPhee’s Annals of the Former World, an excellent survey of North American geology. We will meet on Wednesday afternoons not scheduled for American Novel Reading Group discussions.

Annals of the Former World is comprised of five books previously published by John McPhee: Basin and Range, In Suspect Terrain, Rising from the Plains, Assembling California, and Crossing the Craton, all of which had been serialized in The New Yorker before being published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. McPhee was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction in 1999 and a Gold Medal by the Geological Society of America for Annals of the Former World, which provides clear, engaging descriptions of the geology of the North American continent and of several of the geologists
who investigated aspects of it.

The book is available in paperback from Amazon and local bookstores, as well as used bookstores and such websites as Better World Books and Powell’s for less expensive copies. Before our first class, please read “A Narrative Table of Contents” and to the top of p. 42 of “Basin and Range.” This will be an interesting journey across North America’s I-80 corridor. Through the mind and craft of John McPhee we will learn about the geology of our planet and how we have come to know it.

Paul Hague is a retired geologist who spent many years conducting geophysical surveys to illuminate what lies beneath. He first joined LINEC back in the early 2000s and, believe it or not, taught a course on Joyce’s Ulysses. After departing for several years to teach school, he returned a few years ago to enjoy the courses offered and present a few on geology. Always eager to learn something new and to satisfy a curious and skeptical mind, he will stick around to see what develops.

The Supreme Court: “The Least Dangerous Branch”

When: Thursdays, 10 AM – Noon | April 13 – May 18
Where: Zoom
Instructor & Facilitator: Dick Hesse

Since the turn of the 20th century, the US Supreme Court has been a powerful force in modern society. How does it relate to the other institutions of government? How did this peculiarly “anti-democratic” institution become a powerhouse? Is it too powerful? This course will explore these questions through examples from the Court’s history. We begin with an explanation of the makeup and operation of the current Court from its formation to its functional operations. The nuts and bolts explain how the Court manages and processes the major legal disputes of the day.

Dick Hesse is a retired lawyer and law professor who holds a master’s degree in American History. He has presented history courses for the NH Humanities Council, LINEC, OLLI and AIL over the past 40 years.

*Film Seminar: Alfred Hitchcock, 3rd Series

When: Fridays, 10 AM – Noon | April 14 – May 26
Where: *In-Person Baker Free Library, Bow
Instructors & Facilitators: Don Melander, Mary Lee Sargent

In this third study of Hitchcock, we’re focusing on The Wrong Man (1956), Vertigo (1957), North by Northwest (1958), Psycho (1960), The Birds (1962), Marnie (1964), and Torn Curtain (1969). This seminar meets year round every Friday morning from 10 to noon (on ZOOM) or 10 to 1 (LIVE). When we meet live, we screen the movie together where we meet. For meetings on Zoom, which would be announced in advance, participants screen the week’s film on TV or computer during the week prior to Friday’s discussion. After the Hitchcock series, we will resume our ongoing focus on movies directed by women. New participants are welcome to join the spring session.

During his career at New England College, Don Melander created and taught a course called “Literature as Film, Film as Literature,” but he has enjoyed no formal training in film. Mary Lee Sargent is a retired Professor of History and Women’s Studies and has taught at Parkland College in Champaign, Illinois, where she was also Director of the Women and Gender Studies Department. After moving to NH in 2003, she served as an adjunct instructor at Southern NH and Plymouth State Universities and Lakes Region and NHTI Community College. Mary Lee and Don are film buffs who enjoy what we call “conversations at Friendly’s after we’ve seen the movies.”