Ethics Seminar
Ethics seminar
Photo by Jeff Hendy
David Warren
Art in the Bible seminar
Photo by Karen Roseland
(composed in iPad Projects seminar)
Garden seminar
Gardening A to Z seminar
Photo by Karen Martin
Sutter's Fort field trip
Sutter's Fort field trip
Photo by Linda Alameda

Friday Afternoon and Saturday Seminars

These seminars take place on the CSUS campus on Friday afternoons. Most times are from 1 to 2:45 p.m., unless otherwise noted (look carefully for seminars that have different starting times). They run for the entire semester, from Sept. 5 through Dec. 5. There are no seminars on Nov. 28.

There is also one seminar on Saturday mornings, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon. It will run from Sept. 6 to Dec. 6. See details below

You must sign up with the leader for these seminars. There are two ways to register: You can call or email the leader right now or you can contact the leader at the Rendezvous on Aug. 29.

Please do not sign up for more than one seminar, unless you are on a waiting list. If you get into the class you want, please let leaders of your other wait-list classes know that you are no longer interested! Also, inform the leader if you are dropping a seminar (so those on the waiting list can be added).

Many of these classes require participation (ones marked with a (P) encourage participation). You may be asked to make a presentation on the topic or secure an outside speaker or help in some other way. Here are some technical tips for presentations. It will be noted in the writeups below if no participation is required.

Contact the leader now or at the Rendezvous for more information about a seminar.

Each seminar has a Style immediately following its name, defined as follows:

Saturday Seminar

The Middle Ages (P)
Mendocino 1005 on Sept. 13; Mendocino 1003 rest of semester
10 a.m. to 12 noon, Sept. 6 through Dec. 6

Ed Sanborn

History. We will be studying from the Fall of Rome to Dante, 400-1300 CE. We will study the political, economic, social and artistic development of the Middle Ages. This is a repeat of my first class; I hope all those people who missed it the first time will join us. Everyone is welcome, as they all add to the experience. Class presentations.

Aging Well: Managing Your Own Health (D)
Douglass 212

Dolores Eitel, Marty Keale

Personal Development/Sports. Although you can't stop the clock, you can manage how you age. We will explore how to live smarter and better. Learn how to navigate through the healthcare system and develop strategies to promote healthy living, prevent and reverse disease. Guest speakers will present tips on topics ranging from understanding the structure of the healthcare system, financial management of health care, future changes resulting from the Affordable Care Act, care for the caregiver, end of life and after death care. Lively discussions will follow the presentations.

American Popular Music (L)
Amador 153

Mike Harkins

Art/Entertainment. The diverse music of America continues to be its most popular export. Through some of our most influential recordings this class will explore the origins of these popular genres. From "penny broadsides" of the northern colonies and "slave hollers" of the rural south, we will study the evolution of jazz, blues, folk and country to their modern forms. We will trace jazz ensembles to big swing bands; rhythm and blues to rock and roll; soul to disco; urban funk to rap; and rock to the many spin-offs, such as metal, punk, and grunge. No presentations required.

Beginning Intermediate Spanish: Reading And Speaking (P)
Mendocino 4005

Carol Purin

Literature/Drama/Languages. This seminar will provide a casual environment to support and develop existing Spanish reading and speaking skills. Participants will need a basic understanding of present, imperfect, past, future and progressive tenses, as well as general grammar and sentence structure of the Spanish language. Each week, the seminar will be divided into two parts. During the first part, participants will share in reading a brief novel to increase vocabulary and grammar skills. During the second part, participants will share individual writings (paragraph) on a specific topic of the week to strengthen speaking skills. Class size limited to 10. Fee $5 for book (reading) with the possibility of another $5, if we need to purchase an additional book.

Being Happy (A)
Douglass 107

Om Bindra

Personal Development/Sports. Everyone wants to be happy and can be. It is easy to be happy when things are going well. Life is like a rollercoaster, with its highs and lows. In this seminar, ways to be happy in all seasons will be discussed. Participants will be encouraged to participate. Participants will be provided a question each week on which to provide feedback via email. Members are expected to share their experiences and to provide input to the weekly question via email.

British World War II Movies (D)
Mendocino 1022

John C. Ling

History. The film series comprises 12 British films, almost all made after the end of the Second World War. Although victorious in this conflict, Britain endured many years of belt-tightening and diminished living standards until the latter years of the 1950s. These chiefly post-war films (made mostly during this decade) were shown to bolster morale and celebrate British role in bringing about the successful outcome for the Allies. Discussion conducted by seminar leader will follow each film.

Brits, Soulsters, Folkies and Cali (Pop Music 1964-69) (L)
Alpine 122

Graham Edmondson

Art/Entertainment. My weekly topics include: British Invasion, Motown Soul, Atlantic Soul, Garage Rock, Blue-eyed Soul, California Sound, Folk-Rock, Singer-Songwriter, and Beatles/Rolling Stones. My class will follow Bob Lang's both chronologically and organizationally. It will be half PowerPoint slides-discussion and half music-videos. No presentations required.

Changes Impacting America's Future At Home And In The World (P)
Douglass 108

Harry M. Cohen

Culture/Societies. America has been and remains a rapidly changing society. We will journey into our future, supported by an understanding of who we are as a country, how we arrived where we now are and where we now seem to be going. Our discussions will include, but not be limited to topics such as: technology, aging, demographics, terrorism, medical care, politics, education, foreign affairs, research and development, world leadership, military strength, ad infinitum, together with intended and possibly unintended consequences. There will be a short overview of the topic by moderator, followed by voluntary student presentations of approximately 15 minutes, and then extensive class discussions.

Classical Music (D)
Capistrano 223

Bob Seyfried, Tom Holt

Culture/Societies. The Fall 2013 seminar focused exclusively on the musical instruments that make up today's ensembles and the participation from faculty, students and attendees was excellent. The seminar attendees raised over $2,500 for Professor Luchansky's New Millennium Series and the Renaissance Society is listed as a major sponsor in all of this series' programs. As time did not permit us to cover all instruments, we will now pick up where we left off in our Carnival of the Instruments and the emphasis this semester will continue to be on live presentation and performances from both faculty and students and occasional selected visual presentations where warranted. A one-time fee of $15 will be collected from all, including coordinators, to help cover expenses with all remaining funds going to the School of Music. The seminar is limited to 75.This seminar is dedicated to the memory of Ron Kurtz, a wonderful friend and long-term member of the Renaissance Society.

Climate Change: A Problem? (P)
Douglass 206

Tom Swift

Science. Global warming and climate change. A serious problem for us and future generations? We will look at the views of supporters, deniers and ignorers. Meetings will feature: speakers, including one on our Sacramento region; and films, on the debate, on climate science and greenhouse gases, on evidences of climate change around the world, and on what we and our governments can do to slow and stop this trend. Short presentations are welcome. Limited to 35 participants.

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey presented by Neil deGrasse Tyson (D)
Mendocino 4000

Allan Keown, Joyce Mundel, Gwen Stephens

Science/Philosophy. Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey is the recent 13-episode update of Carl Sagan's original 1980 Cosmos. Neil deGrasse Tyson hosted the series from March-June 2014. It explains complex theories about space, time and the laws of nature using information updated since the 1980 series and features extensive computer-generated graphics and animation footage augmenting the narration. Please note: Participation and discussion will not be required but, of course, will be expected. In addition, at the initial seminar, 12 episode-specific co-leaders will be selected to be primarily responsible for each of the discussions following the showing of the remaining 12 episodes.

Could Hitler Have Won World War II? (P)
Douglass 110

Doug Griebner

History. Today we see allied victory in World War II as inevitable. But was it? If Hitler had made different decisions, what sort of world would we now be living in? We'll examine critical decisions, turning points and events, desperate battles, spectacular blunders and brilliant strategies (both allied and German), from the Battle of Britain to V-E Day. Could Hitler have conquered Britain? Why did he restrain his forces at Dunkirk? What was Raeder's Mediterranean strategy? Why did Hitler not defeat Stalin? We'll "war game" these and other decisions. Participation is greatly encouraged, especially from those of you who were there!

The Court System (P)
NOTE: Room Change! Mendocino 1020

Joel Primes

Economics/Government. The United States Constitution and its Amendments are the basis for our fundamental rights as Americans. These written documents are the key elements in nearly every major legal and political debate argued in America. The language used by our founding fathers and the interpretation of these words and phrases by the United States Supreme Court are the core of this class. We will discuss life and death, sex and comedy, marriage and privacy used to shape significant court decisions. A student will better understand the competing factors used to make these difficult decisions. Today's and yesterday's major court rulings will come to life in this class. The instructor will offer insight, legal expertise by presenting surprising facts and information with alternate interpretations and historical anecdotes to give meaning into the Constitution and Amendments. Students will have the opportunity to do legal research and to make short presentations.

Critical Thinking (D)
Mendocino 3011

Richard Kowaleski

Personal Development/Sports. Hone your ability to think critically about politics, consumer affairs, relationships, alternative medicine, investments and more. Spot the logical fallacies so common in emotional appeals. Richard has taught at the United States Air Force Academy and California State University, Sacramento. He shows you in a very entertaining manner how to think clearly and logically about the most important issues. Richard offers the seminar each fall, and it is very popular, so register early by email before the class is full. Don't wait until the Rendezvous. Members are encouraged to buy the text, do the weekly homework and participate in the discussions, but they do not make presentations.

Cuba (P)
Mendocino 4008

Garey Young, Dennis Kohlmann

History. We would like to cover Cuban history from its formation as an island to the present day American embargo on trade and travel. There are several subjects for presentations: the Spanish American war, Cuba as an American travel destination in the early 1900s, Castro and the Cuban Revolution, the Cuban missile crisis, the Martial boat lift, and other subjects. Members are expected to participate with a short presentation.

End This Recession Now! (P)
Douglass 208

Duane Campbell

Economics/Government. The nation, including California, suffered a severe economic crisis. Twenty-six million were unemployed and under-employed. This crisis was created by fraud and deception mostly in finance capital and banking and Wall Street. The rich and Wall Street have now recovered, but the 90 percent have not. We will study and discuss the causes and consequences of the Economic Crisis of 2007-present. Topics include: Neo Classical Economics, Keynes, pensions, Social Security, Medicare and austerity programs, using videos, presentations and dialogue. This is economics as if people mattered. Participation includes reading, but presentations are not required. Limit is 30 participants, and pre-registration recommended by an email to the seminar leader. See our last year's work.

Ethics And Everyday Life (D)
Douglas 106

Ivy Hendy

Culture/Societies. In this course we will study the practical implications of the theories of many philosophers: Aristotle, John Locke, Immanuel Kant, John Stuart Mill and others. We will discuss everyday life situations where their theories apply. PowerPoints, videos and lectures will be used. There will be time for class discussions. Some everyday life situations that will be discussed are: Is lying ever permissible? Can stealing ever be justified? Is there an obligation to be healthy? There will be a special guest presenting Confucian theory. No readings or class presentations required. Class discussion is strongly encouraged. Class size limited to 40.

Film Comedy (D)
NOTE: Room Change! Sept. 5 Only: Alpine 204; Rest of Semester: Riverside 1015
Class begins at 12:30

Jon Courtway, Chip Zempel, Rich Peter, Rose Mary Neves, Andrea Fiske

Art/Entertainment. Enough of the dark, film noir stuff! I took your suggestion and will feature some of the best comedies over the years: Capra's Arsenic and Old Lace, Ramis' Groundhog Day, Wilder's Some Like It Hot, Zuckers' Airplane, Landis' Animal House, Altman's M*A*S*H, Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove, and more. When you sign up you choose by voting for Alec Guinness in The Lavender Hill Mob or The Lady Killers. Read the pre-class handout, watch the film and join the discussion. The class is limited to 60.

Flora And Fauna (Botany And Zoology) In California (L)
Mendocino 1005

Richard Fuller

Natural History. We will have professional presentations from a high school science teacher, Sierra Community College, CSU Sacramento, UC Davis, Sacramento City and County, state Department of Fish and Wildlife, Federal Land Management, a Rice Growers Cooperative, an Almond Brothers Cartel. Perhaps even John Muir can be resurrected to speak of his favorite furry friends. This will be a comprehensive review of our Great State. It will primarily be lectures by guests.

POSTPONED to Spring 2015! From Judaism To Christianity (P)
Mendocino 1020

Jonathan Brosin, David McGuire

History. No region of the Western world has been more important in our religious and cultural development than what today forms the Middle East. This course will focus on critical political and sectarian developments in Judea from about 100 BCE to 300 CE, and how they impacted what came later. PLEASE NOTE: This is not a religious studies or Bible history course. We may use biblical source material, but only for historical reference. We know many have strongly held beliefs, but this is not the course you should elect if your intent is to re-affirm or advocate your personal scriptural interpretations. Members will be encouraged to participate with relevant questions and points of emphasis. Later in the semester, we plan to offer some alternative topics from which members can choose and develop presentations of their own.

The Great Plains (P)
Mariposa 1001

Doris A. Keller, Sandy Lockwood

History. The vast lands of the Great Plains defy simple description. A diverse land that encompasses fertile farms, cattle-grazing ranchland, the Black Hills' raw beauty, the expansive Missouri River Basin, historic lands of Native American tribes and the High Plains' endless sky regions once explored by Lewis and Clark. It's a region with no defined boundaries that covers all or part of 21 states, stretching from southern Canada to the Rio Grande valley. Help us explore the history, geography, culture, weather, water and literature of our country's heartland. This is a participatory seminar for sharing research and reporting.

Healthy Anger—Or Healthy Approach To Dealing With Anger (D)
Douglass 214

Renee Zito

Personal Development/Sports. Anger is the most misunderstood of our emotions. Unrecognized anger may lead to depression, obesity, heart problems, chronic distress and poor interpersonal relationships, to name just a few. We will discuss the positive and negative benefits of anger and how to stop the pain and destruction that anger that is not dealt with can bring. You will learn psychological interventions that will help you recognize and work out anger and learn how to convert it from a negative response to a creative and powerful source of energy that will improve your life.

Libertarian Political Thought (P)
Mendocino 3009

Kurt Findeisen, Wayne Luney

Science/Philosophy. Libertarianism encompasses a set of political ideas that in the l8th and l9th centuries would have been called liberal. The objective of this course is to explore some of these ideas in depth by examining essays or brief excerpts of major works by noted liberal and libertarian authors, such as Frederick Hayek, James Madison and Alexis de Tocqueville. A typical presentation will include the life and times of the author and key points raised in the work. Topics for classroom discussion will be suggested. The textbook that will be used is The Libertarian Reader, by David Boaz, executive vice president of the Cato Institute. Purchase of the textbook is not required. Participants will not be expected to make presentations.

Making Healthy Food Choices (P)
Eureka 115

Susan Sundell, Jo Ann Peter

Science. Exploring how our food is grown and processed allows us to make better food choices in the marketplace for a healthier and more sustainable diet. Learn about modern food systems from different perspectives: cultural, economic, ecological, health and social. Become more knowledgeable about the food you buy and eat. This seminar uses the Northwest Earth Institute’s discussion course Menu for the Future that includes articles by a variety of writers: Michael Pollan, Wendell Berry, Frances Moore Lappe and Barbara Kingsolver. Participants will need to purchase the discussion guide, Menu for the Future at the first class meeting. The cost is $27.

The Mighty Mississippi (P)
Douglass 109

Joan Meagher

Economics/Government. Let's cruise up the Mississippi from New Orleans to St. Paul. On our journey, we will learn about the people, places, and events connected with this great waterway. This is a participatory class. A list of topics will be provided, e.g., The Louisiana Purchase, Huey Long, Battle of Vicksburg, Mark Twain, the Birth of the Blues. Members may add topics of their own choosing for presentation to the class.

Reading Like A Writer II (P)
NOTE: Room Change! Calaveras 134

Ron Tochterman, Rosemary Kelley

Literature/Drama/Languages. The seminar's objective is to help us become better, more discerning readers. "Part of a reader's job is to find out why certain writers endure." We will read stories closely to understand what makes them great, focusing on the tools of the writers' craft: style, diction, detail, dialogue, etc. We plan to read and discuss works by the following authors: Louise Erdrich, Edith Wharton, Herman Melville, F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Updike, Lorrie Moore and others. Text: The Oxford Book of American Short Stories, Second Edition, edited by Joyce Carol Oates. Recommended: Reading like a Writer, Francine Prose, Harper Perennial 2008.

This Seminar has been cancelled! The Story Of The Automobile (P)
Mendocino 1026

Joe Lopez, Dave Lockwood

Culture/Societies. Have you ever wondered how one of the most expensive items you own came about? Would you like to know about the financiers, engineers, visionaries and scoundrels who made it possible? We intend for this class to be participatory with short presentations by group members. Join us as we investigate the secrets of the automobile. Participation is encouraged but not mandatory, and it can include short presentations. Usually these presentations are biographical in nature and of key figures. Those who feel confident may make short technical presentations.

TED Talks: Ideas Worth Spreading (P)
Mendocino 3013

George and Claire Roper

Culture/Societies. TED Talks, initially presented at international TED conferences, have become a worldwide must-see phenomenon. Please join us each Friday afternoon as coordinators and class members present four of the best talks they have selected from the more than 1,800 available online. These 18-20 minute talks will inform, entertain, and sometimes amaze you. There will be time for discussion after each talk.

Watercolor Painting (A)
Kadema 170

Doyle Crawford

Art/Entertainment. Describe your own creative ability through the beauty and excitement of transparent watercolor painting. Ability to draw is helpful, but this semester is for beginning to advanced students. Members of the class will do some instruction in principles and elements of design. Students may choose their own projects. Class members will critique completed paintings, if desired, and guest experienced artists will be invited.

Wealth Strategies (L)
Mendocino 1024

Hunter (Bill) Bailey, Marsha Holland

Economics/Government. Wealth Strategies will include investing during retirement, income safety and stability. Do you know how and where your retirement funds are invested? Allocation? Expenses? Performance? Risk level? This class is designed to update, educate and inspire you to learn more about your retirement assets. The instructor has over 32 years in the financial arena and will provide his most recent post-retirement planning book to those who attend. Whether you are investing on your own or would simply like to check on how your advisor is doing with your portfolio, you'll find this class very informative and helpful. The class is mostly lecture but questions and participation are encouraged.

Women’s Contributions To The Visual Arts: 1400 to the Present (P)
Mendocino 4004

Beth Mann, Birte and Steve Harley

Art/Entertainment. History has not been kind to talented women artists. Why? What were the reasons for their oppression and obscurity? As we view their art, we will also delve into the societies that influenced them both in positive and negative ways. As we move from 1550 to the present, we will also learn how these early pioneers paved the way for women artists of today. In order to keep this large subject manageable, we will keep it to European and American women artists. Your participation in discussion and presentations is greatly appreciated.

Writing Personal Histories (A)
Mendocino 3007

Fred Chapman

Personal Development/Sports. If you always wanted to write a series of short stories about your life, but never got around to actually writing, this is the class for you. Writing styles are not taught or critiqued. However, presentations by fellow participants and discussions generated by events in a story will prompt your recall of memories and help generate ideas for your own stories. Each short story, or portions of longer tales read over several sessions, should not be much longer than 700 words. Class size is limited to 20. A written story each session is expected from everyone, but participants should attend even if not making a presentation for a particular session.