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Renaissance Society

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On-Campus Seminars

All seminars are canceled for the rest of the semester! See details here.

Here you will find all the seminars held on the CSUS campus on Fridays and Saturdays this semester. Many require registration. Some are drop-ins with no registration required (you can attend whenever you like). You can sign up for seminars online (required for most), by calling or emailing the leader or at the Jan. 31 Rendezvous.

This is the link for online seminar registration.

How to find various on-campus seminars:

Jump to Friday Morning and Noon

Jump to Friday Afternoon Full Semester

Jump to Friday Afternoon Half-Semester

Jump to Saturday Seminars

Friday Morning and Noon

Some of these Morning and Noon seminars require online registration, some are drop-ins with no registration required and a few require the leader to be contacted.

Here is the link for online registration.


CRACKER BARREL (D), 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Alpine 218

Richard Sickert, Per Ostlund

Online registration only

A year-round, weekly discussion group that emphasizes thoughtful dialogue on current issues of interest: social, political, economic and cultural. Participation in class discussions is not required but is desirable. Prerequisites include good listening skills as well as tolerance and patience for the values and beliefs expressed by others. Once registered, participants may treat it as a drop-in class.

FOLK DANCE FOR SENIORS (A/S), 10:30 to 11:50 a.m., Yosemite 187

Barbara Bevan

Drop-in, no registration required

Learn gentle, fun, international folk dances mostly from Eastern Europe such as Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Albania, etc. Also included are dances of Israel, Turkey, France, and more. No partner needed. Wear flat shoes but no black soles (to protect the gym floor). Folk dancing is good exercise, educational, social, and FUN! Drop-ins are welcome.

GREAT BOOKS DISCUSSION GROUP (D), 10 to 11:30 a.m., Mendocino 4005

Pam Flohr

Online registration only

Selections will be from Great Books Conversations 5, Great Books Conversations 6, Great Books Science Fiction Omnibus, and Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse. We use the Shared Inquiry discussion method originated by the Great Books Foundation. Our group usually meets two or three times a month in the morning. Currently the seminar is full with a wait list. Meetings dates are: Feb. 7 and 21, March 6 and 20, April 3 and 17, May 1 and 8.

A GUIDED TOUR OF THE UNIVERSITY ARBORETUM (L), 10 a.m. to 12 noon, University Arboretum

Five dates: March 13 and 27, April 10 and 24, May 8

Michael Baad

Online registration only

We will be taking a walking tour of the University Arboretum. This 3.5-acre site is now home to more than 1,400 different trees, shrubs and herbaceous perennials from throughout the temperate regions of the world. It's a constantly changing environment from daffodils and magnolias in the spring to a host of flowering plants across the summer and a striking autumnal color display each fall. This introductory walk will serve to acquaint you with a resource that's open 24/7, 12 months of the year, free of charge for your constant enjoyment. Maybe we'll tempt you to join the cadre of neighborly volunteers who with pride contribute their efforts toward maintaining the beauty of the place. Visiting school children call it "the forest in the City." These five walks are identical except for the months' change in season. You can register for one or several. We will meet first in the (new) north campus parking structure (parking structure 5), first floor, SE corner of the building near the elevators.

iPHONE AND iPAD BASICS (L), 10 to 11:50 a.m., AIRC 1009

Carol Dabrowiak, Melissa Green

Online registration only

In this seminar you will learn the basics of iPhone, iPad and more. Using a team approach to teaching, we will present the features you need to know to take advantage of your devices: Settings, Control Center, Notifications, Contacts, Calendar, Notes, Maps, Photos, Clips, iMovie and more. This seminar is for beginners or anyone wanting to improve their Apple skills. Participants will need to know their Apple ID and password. For additional information visit our website.

KEN BURNS’ COUNTRY MUSIC (L), 9:30 to 11:50 a.m., University Union, various rooms

Jack Jennings, Allan Keown

Drop-in, no registration required

Ken Burns added another epic documentary to his filmography this past fall, Country Music. The eight-episode series tells the story of this uniquely American art form, covering its origins and evolution as well as its greatest stars including Jimmie Rogers, Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, and Hank Williams. The superlative series provides insight into the genre’s regional to social history beginning in Appalachia and spreading west through Texas and into California. It also recounts how Nashville became "Music City USA,” with “country music” ultimately becoming “America’s music.” All eight episodes will be shown. In addition, we may feature some live music in and outside the seminar. Good times guaranteed!

KNITTING AND NEEDLECRAFT GROUP (A/S), 10 to 11:50 a.m., Mendocino 4003

Coby Bonner, Barbara Kletzman

Drop-in, no registration required

Bring your knitting, crochet or other needlecraft project, and join us. You can work on your own project, something for charity, or a new blanket for a grandchild. All level of knitters and crocheters are welcome. This is a drop-in seminar. Come to stitch and chat and join other Renaissance members in an enjoyable morning.


Richard Dabrowiak

Drop-in, no registration required

From building colossal pyramids in ancient Egypt to erecting modern skyscrapers, man's greatest engineering marvels are documented through the ages. This video-based seminar will clarify how these incredible megastructures were built. Class discussions and supplemental information will reveal basic engineering principles used in the design and construction process, enabling seminar participants to better appreciate the challenges involved. Participation in discussions is encouraged. Here is the schedule. Here is a suggested reading list.

ON-CAMPUS SPEAKERS SERIES (FORMERLY MINI-SEMINARS) (L), 10 to 11:30 a.m., Mendocino 4004

Ed Speegle

Drop-in, no registration required

The On-campus Speakers Series is offered every Friday from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Each week we feature a different speaker on fascinating diverse topics of great interest. Watch for each week’s topic in the Wednesday eblast to members or look on the Renaissance website. This is a drop-in seminar. Get the schedule here.

OPTIMAL HEARING, WELLNESS, AND BALANCE (D), 10 to 11:30 a.m. Folsom 2201

Four meetings: Feb. 21 and 28, March 6 and 13

Laura Gaeta, PhD, Julia Ahlquist Tanner, AuD

No online registration; contact Hearing Center

Are you living with hearing loss? This half-semester seminar of four classes will provide you with information and tools to help you live well with hearing loss. The classes focus on communication strategies, lip-reading, clear speech, assistive technology, and resources for improving your hearing, communication, and overall health. Sessions will also feature a guest speaker from the CSUS faculty on a topic related to hearing wellness. The Renaissance parking permit is required to park at Folsom Hall. Call the Maryjane Rees Language, Speech, and Hearing Center to register at 916-278-6601.

RACISM AND PREJUDICE (P), 10:30 to 11:50 a.m., Amador 308

Greg Beale

Online registration only

Racism and Prejudice: A phrase that is America's ultimate original sin. Moreover, it is also human beings’ mortal sin. We will analyze the roots of racism and prejudice primarily in the United States, but with references to world history, from Native Americans to Chinese railroad workers, from African Americans to Jews and Irish. America is a land of immigrants, but struggles with racism and prejudice in profound ways, even after the civil rights successes of the past 50 years. We will analyze this in both historical and modern contexts; including film and documentaries.

THE ROBERTS COURT (L), 9 to 11 a.m., Library 3023

Ron Tochterman, Rosemary Kelley

Online registration only

Read and discuss The Oath by Jeffrey Toobin. Based on the author’s interviews with the justices and more than forty of their law clerks, the book is “a page-turner,” says Jeffrey Rosen in The Washington Post, “a compelling narrative of the early years of the Roberts court, which produced a series of 5 to 4 decisions” in cases involving gun rights, gender discrimination, campaign finance, and healthcare reform. Lecture with Q and A.

SEMINAR LEADERSHIP TRAINING (L), 11 to 11:50 a.m., Calaveras 123

Marian Kile

Online registration only

This seminar will provide encouragement, teaching tools and skill enhancements for experienced, new, or potential seminar leaders. The seminar will focus on selecting a topic and structuring a seminar, various methods of presentations, technical training in the classroom, and having an enjoyable experience.

This seminar is cancelled!!! (SPANISH 1 AND 2: BEGINNING AND INTERMEDIATE CONVERSATION (P), 10 to 11:50 a.m., Humboldt 109

Clara Chapala, Robert Parker)This seminar is cancelled!

SPANISH, INTERMEDIATE, 10 to 11:50 a.m. (P), Amador 354

Melody Flores

Online registration, but contact leader first

This seminar provides a casual environment to support and develop existing intermediate level Spanish skills. This semester we will be reading Como Agua Para Chocolate by Laura Esquivel. This is a participation seminar. Please contact leader, Melody Flores, before registering for this class.

TRAVEL AND ADVENTURE--MORNING HAS BROKEN (P), 10 to 11:30 a.m., Tschannen 1001 (near bookstore)

Richard Fuller, Terry Moss, Tom Dole

Drop-in, no registration required

The world CAN be our oyster. Come visit as we cook up photos from the Isle of Man, Greece, Iran (!), Southern Africa, Bhutan and Nepal, Namibia and Botswana, India, and who KNOWS where ELSE! We can use YOUR travel photos and experiences also; the more the merrier. How 'bout a royal marriage? We are a combination of photos, maps, and stories, and look forward to your being there EARLY! Get the schedule here.


ANDROID BASICS (D), 12 to 12:45 p.m., Douglass 109

Carol Limbaga, Victoria Star

Drop-in, no registration required

This is an Android Smartphone drop-in support group. We help one-to-one, hands-on with YOUR cell phone. Discuss your BASIC usage: phone features, settings, make and receive calls, contact info, voicemail, message/text, delete, email, camera, phone apps and play store. We want YOUR basic questions! Get the schedule.

GENTLE YOGA (A/S), 12 to 12:45 p.m., Yosemite 187

Dates: Feb. 7 through March 13 (half-semester seminar)

Terri Gray

Drop-in, no registration required

Did you know that changing your physical posture. say, from slumped to standing tall, can transform your mood? Also, research has shown that you can shift the state of your brain with as little as a minute of meditation. Drop in for a session of both yoga postures and meditation. Then, float off to your afternoon class/activity. Please wear loose clothing and bring a yoga mat.

SOCIAL DANCING (A/S), 12 to 12:45 p.m.. Yosemite 183

Richard Kowaleski

Online registration only

Learn ballroom, country, line, and even freestyle dancing--YOU choose the mix! Easy-to-learn moves that look great on the dance floor. For beginners and experienced dancers alike. No partner required. Richard is a very popular dance instructor and dance host with unique teaching methods and a delightful sense of humor that puts students at ease so they can quickly learn while also having fun. Please bring smooth-soled shoes with good heel support. A noontime favorite for years; check it out!

Friday Afternoon Full Semester

Sign up for ONLY ONE full-semester SEMINAR. You can register on wait lists for other choices. You can sign up for one or two half-semester seminars (see below). Please notify the leader if you are dropping a seminar. All Seminars are from 1 to 2:45 p.m. unless otherwise noted. Almost all of these require online registration; a few require you to contact the leader.

This is the link for online registration.


Bill Bailey, Marsha Holland

Online registration only

Are you willing to take the time to research the massively important issues and decisions necessary to survive a long and happy retirement? It’s not what you invest in that’s important but rather how you invest. Take this seminar to help guide you through do-it-yourself planning and investing. Or maybe evaluate how your current advisor is doing. Are you receiving the appropriate Fiduciary Standard of care and services? Leader Hunter William (Bill) Bailey, MSFS and author, has over 40 years as a financial advisor professional in investment services. No products or services will be sold.

BEGINNING MAGIC (A/S), Douglass 111

Harry Mossman, Greg Herrera

Online registration only

If you have wished you knew some magic tricks, or if you learned some tricks as a child but have forgotten how to do them, this seminar is for you. You will learn lots of easy tricks such as the famous cups and balls. You will also get some self-working tricks. Greg and Harry will supply everything you need. We will also watch some great magic videos.


Debbie Russell

Online registration only

Discover how fiction teaches us about society and culture by offering a glimpse into another time. We will focus on California's unique history using works by several well-known writers. Readings will include both novels and short stories, each of which will give us a different perspective on one aspect of California's culture and history. Only one novel will be repeated from the former seminar (fall 2016): The Vineyard. Participation in discussion will be actively encouraged.

CELEBRATING PERFECT VOCAL HARMONY GROUPS (L), 12:30 to 2:30 p.m., Mendocino 1003

Mike Agron

Online registration only

This is part of my ongoing seminar series called Celebrating Music. The other two seminars are Celebrating the Artistry of Frank Sinatra and Celebrating The Great American Songbook. This updated seminar with additional content focuses on exploring the close harmony of vocal groups across the following musical genres: The Big Band Era; Jazz, Pop & Vocalese; Rock & Doo Wop; The California Sound; British Invasion; Folk & Folk Rock; Gospel, Soul, and Motown. We’ll listen and watch performances from established and lesser-known vocal groups and discover their unique techniques on how they blended their voices to create unforgettable harmonies.

CLASSICAL MUSIC (P), 12:30 to 2:45 p.m., Capistrano 223

Bob Seyfried, Leo Eylar, Professor/Conductor

No online-registration, contact leader

Bob and Leo will partner this classical music seminar. Bob will concentrate on the Age of Enlightenment and will follow a synopsis he developed several years ago for a music seminar at UC Davis. Leo will again surprise us, and his surprises are always superb. The seminar will consist of presentation, live performance and selected videos. A fee of $25 will be collected from attendees and leaders, and a small fee, once determined, will be charged for reproduction of the synopsis mentioned. Registration will be by contacting Bob Seyfried. We ask those of you who are interested not to enroll if you are planning to go on a vacation that will result in your missing more than one session. Class size will be limited to 60.


Mynga Futrell, Deb King

Online registration only

Sure, the subject matter is grim. (Dementia is a rightfully dreaded condition, disrupting all lives it touches.) Still, no better way than with our seminar to confront the topic! Our unflinching approach blends the scholarly (guest experts, educational media) with the deeply personal (visuals galore). Mynga, twice a dementia caregiver (parent, spouse) and 18 years an Alzheimer’s Association volunteer, draws heavily on real-life experiences while maintaining an upbeat manner, recalling how dementia can produce some truly meaningful, occasionally hilarious, life experiences! Come tamp down your anxieties with knowledge, develop savvy, and smooth whatever “journeys” may lie ahead for you or yours.

DEMOCRACY AMERICAN STYLE (D), 1 to 2:30 p.m., Amador 263 Note: Another Room Change!

Robert Benedetti, Ronald Limbaugh

Online registration only

This course focuses on ways history puts contemporary issues into perspective. The seminar will read and discuss These Truths by Jill Lepore. Each session the leaders and seminar members will pose questions which challenge interpretations of American history and explore how history helps one understand current events. For example, without the heritage of slavery how would American race relations have developed? Over 13 weeks, the seminar will visit the pre-1800 world, ante-bellum America to 1865, the Civil War to WW II, and the post WWII era to better understand our challenges and the options our past suggests.

THE ECONOMIST (D), Douglass 109

Wayne Luney

Online registration only

The Economist is the best and most comprehensive weekly news magazine in the English language. It was founded in England in 1843 to advocate for the repeal of the Corn Laws. Today it has global scope in its reporting and yes, it has a political orientation that becomes clear upon reading its pages. Seminar members will be expected to read the current issue (which usually reaches subscribers on Saturday), bring it to the seminar the following Friday, and be prepared to discuss some of the articles.


Rebecca Graulich, Renee Balcom

Online registration only

This course explores tough and often sensitive realities of aging. Class discussions include aging in home vs. moving to a senior community, dementia, preparing for death, elder abuse, advanced health directives, and navigating the healthcare system. These and more subjects will be explored. Sessions include presentations by topic experts, class discussions and resource materials to take home. Instructors: For over a decade, Renee Balcom has served the senior community through health advocacy, home care and mental health services. Rebecca Graulich, past chair of the Sacramento Adult and Aging Commission, spent several years working with people with dementia and family caregivers.


Patrick Crowley

Online registration only

Most of us have experienced the loss of family members who have not left behind a record of their lives. This seminar affords an opportunity to create a record for our descendants and friends. This is not a lecture or composition seminar. The format is for members to write a short piece, of approximately 1,200 words each week, to be read aloud to the seminar members. No papers will be handed in or graded. It is assumed that members already have basic writing skills. The seminar size is limited to 15 in order that everyone has an opportunity to read each week.

GREAT ACTORS, LITTLE-KNOWN PERFORMANCES (D), 12:15 to 2:45, Riverside 1015

Chip Zempel

Online registration only

This semester we'll screen some of our greatest actors delivering terrific performances in lesser-known films. Watch Robert Duvall's other Lt. Colonel role (no smell of napalm this time) and Colonel Helen Mirren faced with a life-or-death ethical decision. Aging Kiwi motorcycle racer Anthony Hopkins, amateur detective Joseph Gordon-Levitt in a teen neo-noir mystery, and Sally Hawkins in her first leading role. Sacramento's own Jessica Chastain married to a frighteningly obsessed Michael Shannon, and more. We'll also uncover obscure short films starring big-name actors. Come for the movies, stay for the discussion!


suffrage symbol
Suffrage Symbol

Joel Primes, William Vizzard

Online registration only

In this seminar, we will discuss constitutional and current legal issues. The 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment authorizing women to vote in all elections will be discussed as it applies to the law. Participants can suggest legal topics or cases to be discussed in class. Two student mock trials are conducted using transcriptions from real trials. Only volunteers are used in these mock trials. Class discussion is encouraged and fun for all is required. New cases are discussed each semester. A specific area of the law will be presented. The class is not technical but gives the participants the opportunity to think like an attorney.


David Peters, Ana Facio

No online registration, contact leader

Great Decisions is a nationwide program about U.S. foreign policy issues. The Great Decisions Briefing Book ($32, available at Rendezvous and the first seminar session) provides background information about U.S. foreign policy. The seminar begins at 1 p.m., optional relevant videos shown at 12:20, beginning prior to the third session. Topics: Climate Change and the Global Order; India and Pakistan; Red Sea Security; Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking; U.S. Relations with the Northern Triangle; China's Road into Latin America; The Philippines and the U.S.; and Artificial Intelligence and Data. The format will include discussion and required presentations by most participants. Limited to 22.


Richard Fuller

Online registration only

India started as a tectonic transient, crashing into Asia and causing the Himalayas to KEEP rising. Five thousand-plus years of history, Harappan Civilization, Khyber Pass, the colonial British "Raj," split into India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh; endless wars, world's greatest rail system, 1.3 billion people, 23 languages, birthplace of four religions; Taj Mahal, Red Fort(s); Khajuraho Muslim erotic art, Benares pilgrims, Darjeeling tea, Mother Teresa, Bollywood, Premier Modi, phone banks, Sacramento Kings. YOU may share!

MENU FOR THE FUTURE (D), Library 3023

Nancy Kniskern

No online registration, contact leader

This seminar consists of a group discussion of articles presented in the Northwest Earth Institute's book, Menu for the Future. Readings are concerned with various aspects of food, culture, and responsible action for the future. There are six sessions based on writings by authors such as Michael Pollan and Barbara Kingsolver. Participants are required to buy the text ($25) before class and to participate in discussions. There are four additional sessions that participants can design, such as field visits, presentations on other readings, and/or videos.


Norv Wellsfry

Online registration only

The modern Middle East was shaped by Western empire expansion after World War I. The aftermath of World War II, including refugee resettlement, the power struggles of the Cold War and oil, nationalism, and religious conflict, have shaped the current condition of the Middle East in the present. This seminar will focus on the historical and political events and pressures that have shaped the modern Middle East.


Jon Courtway

Online registration only

These are Smithsonian Institution DVD-based lectures that offer a multidisciplinary perspective on the experience of American Indians in the five centuries since two worlds collided in 1492. The course will cover the stories of encounters and exchanges, negotiations and border crossings, accommodation and resistance. It is the story of Indigenous survival, persistence and adaptation in the face of hardship, and how they have made profound cultural contributions to America.


Duane Campbell, Carl Pinkston

Online registration only

We will examine the economic crisis of 2008-2013 and the political and economic actions of the Trump Administration along with alternatives; tax cuts for the billionaire class and corporations, trade wars, Social Security, employment, labor, immigration, collusion and tax avoidance, as well as the Resistance. We will consider facts and “alternative facts” using videos, readings, presentations, and dialogue. This is economics as if people mattered. Reading assignments and participation are encouraged.

REAL ROCK 'N' ROLL (L), Mendocino 1005 Note: Room Change!

Bob Lang

Online registration only

Former radio DJ and local musician Bob Lang again leads an exploration on the influences, roots, and development of traditional rock ‘n’ roll music leading up to and including the heyday of the 1950s and early ‘60s. Genres include early R&B, rockabilly, doo wop, plus the popular teen idols, crazy dance crazes, one-hit wonders, rock’s obsession with cars, more—-all with updated music examples. Discover what Elvis listened to as a Memphis teen and who influenced the Beatles to become the Fabs! Little Richard, the Shirelles, Chuck Berry, Ray Charles, Dion and the Belmonts, the Beach Boys, Roy Orbison—plus “Bob’s Bonus Tracks!” No presentations required.


Nanci Kuzins

Online registration only

We invite you to come learn compassionate communication skills to bring joy and meaning into your relationships. We use games, role plays and exercises woven with Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life by Wayne Dyer and others to learn these skills. This new language of life can reduce stress, decrease anxiety, clear up misunderstandings, and heal old conflicts. Learn how to: interrupt when necessary; release resentment when you hear a “NO” and let go of any shame, guilt, or fear, when you need to say ”NO” yourself.

SHAKESPEARE UNCOVERED, PART 2 (D), 12 to 2:45 p.m., Amador 217

Gerry Camp

Online registration only

We will again try to understand thoroughly several of Shakespeare's plays, spending two class sessions on each play. We will see a full performance of the play as a film or stage production and will see the BBC Shakespeare Uncovered video of each, hosted by an actor or director who knows the play in depth. Discussion will be encouraged. Plays covered will probably include Richard III, The Winter's Tale, Hamlet, King Lear, and Antony and Cleopatra. We'll begin with a new Globe Theatre production of Romeo and Juliet. Participants need not have been in Part 1. Anyone interested in enjoying Shakespeare is welcome.


Michael Hersher

Online registration only

We will hear and sing along with songs from the American tradition of communal singing to rally for social justice. We will sing about work, hard times, peace, freedom, gender equality, and the environment. You will hear old favorites that take you back to your youth and meet the iconic singer/songwriters of the folk rock revival. Class discussion and singing are encouraged but not required. The words to all the songs will be provided on a screen. A link to the weekly audio/visual presentation will be sent to you by email.

SPANISH FOR INTERMEDIATE BEGINNERS (D), Riverside 1006; Room Change to Brighton 110, effective March 13

Donna Eash, Susan Titus, Paulette Johnson

Online registration only

Students should be familiar with basics (pronunciation, simple conversation, present tense conjugation of regular and some irregular verbs). Our goals include developing increased comprehension, vocabulary, speaking skills, past and future tense. Approaches vary from presentations by co-leaders, guest speakers, and students to oral drills, games, written work, small group conversation. Children's literature, songs, art, music, photography and more will be incorporated. Students will need to purchase a text/workbook and contribute $5 for additional handouts.

TRANSITIONS: WHAT WILL I DO WITH THE REST OF MY LIFE? (D), 12 to 2:30 p.m., Benicia 1025

Ken Cross

Online registration only

Who am I? Why am I here? What’s my life’s purpose? How do I live in balance--mind/body/spirit, relationships, retirement/avocation, fun/leisure? What does my heart tell me to do with my life? Whether retired or approaching retirement, help design the “Next Chapter” of your life. Reconnect with your talents, skills, aptitudes and abilities for your new life’s path. Tap into your wisdom and experience to live a rich, fun, meaningful, and purposeful life. Share your gifts, making a difference through service. Using film, books, exercises, discussion, expert speakers, and introspection, start visioning and living this new life’s chapter!

THE UNITED STATES CIVIL WAR--STILL COMPLEX, STILL FASCINATING (L), 12:30 to 2:45 p.m., Brighton 208 New Seminar!

Doug Bonetti

Online registration only

We will explore many topics of the Rebellion, including causes of the war, technology and the war, a new focus on key leaders and figures, and the life of the common soldier. I will lecture much of the time and also ask some class members to give short reports. This is a refresh to a seminar I gave last spring at Renaissance. In our seminar you can touch history; I will bring authentic weapons and memorabilia from my extensive collection. With guest speakers and a live band on our last day, we will have a fascinating seminar.


Colleen Wong

Online registration only

Continue to discover your own creative ability through the beauty and excitement of transparent watercolor painting in a studio environment. Enrollees may choose their own projects or work on ones shown in demonstration or on video. Participants may be exposed to tips and techniques on how to watercolor paint better and participate in constructive comments of completed paintings. No experience is required.

Friday Afternoon Half Semester


All half-semester seminars meet 1 to 2:45 p.m. unless otherwise indicated. These seminars generally meet from Feb. 7 through March 13. All require online registration. You can also call the leader for help or sign up at Rendezvous on Jan. 31.

This is the link for online registration.

DELAYING DEATH AND AVOIDING DISABILITY (L), Feb. 7 through March 13, Douglass 212

Don Forrester, M.D., Allan Keown

Online registration only

This seminar presents the best science on prevention, stabilization, and reversal of significant chronic conditions (e.g. diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, dementia, and cancer) and disability (e.g. back pain, arthritis). Woven into the sessions will be useful concepts from quality improvement, management, statistics, complex systems and human learning. The goal will be to provide participants with information and tools they can use to improve their quality of life. Please, join us as together we explore the relative importance of various behaviors in achieving your personal goals--whether they involve avoiding chronic conditions and medications, disability and/or improved fitness.


suffrage symbol
Suffrage symbol

Annik Gunter

Online registration only

The seminar will discuss a selection of three French women writers, scandalous feminists in their own times. Madame de Sévigné painted a vivid picture of France at the time of Louis XIV. In 1840, George Sand proclaimed, “My profession is to be free.” Marguerite Yourcenar, first woman elected to the prestigious Académie Française, raised her voice against social injustice. Personal participation will be encouraged through guided exercises, in a book club atmosphere. Personal reading could be limited to the selected 60 pages during the half-semester. Email the seminar leader for the reading selection for the first meeting.

GARDENING IN SACRAMENTO (P), Feb. 7 through March 13, Calaveras 145

Bonnie Gault-Blue

Online registration only

Come learn from expert gardeners, and get a chance to ask questions and share your own expertise. We will be covering soil, composting, vegetable gardening, California Natives, pests and beneficial insects, planting for wildlife, trees and other subjects. Let's celebrate our local environment by making choices that benefit life and help mitigate the effects of climate change in our own yards.

HETERODOX ECONOMICS: MODERN MONEY THEORY (D), Feb. 7 through March 13, Riverside 1012

Mark Dempsey

Online registration only

Modern Money Theory (MMT) predicted the Great Recession. Orthodox economists from right (Mankiw) to left (Krugman) did not. MMT offers some surprising remedies to current social problems, providing seldom-heard perspectives about National "Debt."'s not about business as usual, and the seminar takes only six sessions. Participants get about 60 pages of material (maximum 20 pages of reading per class, usually much less), for class discussion background. People who have taken the seminar and/or read the material have said “I’ll never look at the economy the same way again.”

HISTORY AND PRACTICE OF SONGWRITING (D), Feb. 7 through March 13, Riverside 1002

Al Zagofsky

Online registration only

We will explore songwriting through videos by top songwriters like Paul McCartney and Paul Simon, learn about the styles and techniques for songwriting, listen to live demonstrations of songs by seminar members and learn to write songs in folk, blues and rock styles.

RACIAL HEALING CIRCLE: CONVERSATIONS ON RACE (D), Feb. 7 through March 13, Alpine 148

Stacie Walton, Gretchen Jung

Online registration only

Racism: We can choose to ignore the elephant in the room, observe it from afar, or dance with it! In this interactive seminar, we choose to “dance,” creating courageous conversations that put racism front and center; using the "Circle Process,” adopted from indigenous practices, as our model for dialogue. The "Circle" process creates a safe space for both racial dialogue and ultimately racial healing, which is central to restorative justice. Join us in a six-week seminar including themes of active listening, unconscious bias, authenticity, and the difference between intent and impact in missteps in communication. Class limited to 25 participants.


Henry Chambers

Online registration only

From 3100 BC to 1800 BC, Sumer and Akkad established the foundations for Babylonia and the civilizations that followed it, including our own. Seminar topics include its economy, languages, archaeological remains, religion, cities and very extensive literature of Sumer and Akkad. Seminar members will read and discuss representative texts, which the seminar leader will provide for the class sessions.

WATERFRONT PROPERTY: ANCIENT HUMAN DEVELOPMENT (L), Feb. 7 through March 13, Mendocino 3011

Marty Keale, Lynette Blumhardt, Ruth McElhinney

Online registration only

This seminar will focus on the importance of water access for ancient human development, migrations, communications and trade. We will highlight the roots and nature of selected civilizations that developed around the globe, including Anatolia (modern Turkey), the Indus Valley (modern Pakistan), the Indian Ocean, the Eastern Mediterranean and Black Sea, and Eastern North America.


All half-semester seminars meet 1 to 2:45 p.m. unless otherwise indicated. These seminars generally meet from March 20 to May 1. All require online registration. You can also call the leader for help or sign up at Rendezvous on Jan. 31.

Here is the link for online registration.


James McRitchie

Online registration only

Invested in stocks but don’t want to destroy the planet? Corporations are the most powerful social invention for creating wealth. They can also ruin our environment and tear our social fabric. This seminar is for those between the have-nots and the have-yachts. We marched and licked envelopes, hoping to create a better world through laws and regulations, but were blocked by corporate interests and the 1 percent. Learn how even small shareholders can make corporations more accountable and sustainable, using the tools of democratic corporate governance. Find more background here..

CREATIVE PARIS IN 1890: EIFFEL, DEBUSSY, VAN GOGH (D), March 20 through May 1, Mendocino 3011

Theo Goodwin

Online registration only

Explore how Paris became the center of progressive culture in 1890, La Belle Époque. We will focus on the history of Paris and how France changed in the late 19th century. How were the new artists different from the old guard? Why were the Impressionists important? How was Gustave Eiffel creative in architecture, Claude Debussy in music, and Vincent Van Gogh in painting? How did artists, poets and composers interact? What obstacles did they overcome? Seminar leader will encourage discussions and voluntary reports by students on a topic of their choice.

DARING WOMEN WAR CORRESPONDENTS (P), March 20 through May 1, Calaveras 145

suffrage symbol
Suffrage Symbol

Jennifer Kerr

Online registration only

Marie Colvin, an American reporter who worked for The Sunday Times of Great Britain, was assassinated while covering the siege of Homs, Syria, in 2012. It was not her first encounter with danger in her career. “My job is to bear witness,” she said. She and other intrepid women correspondents defied those who opposed their career paths to tell the truth, particularly what wars do to women and children. This course will follow the scary careers of many women who chose and choose to keep finding the truth despite being told they should stay home.

THE INFLUENCE OF COMMUNICATION MEDIA ON CULTURE (L), March 20 through May 1, Riverside 1002

Phil Lane

Online registration only

The mass media have had a great influence on the American culture since their inception and have reflected the changing cultural values of our society. The symbiotic nature of media and culture is exemplified in every media form including print, radio, movies, television and video. In this course we will examine this relationship in the 20th and 21st centuries. Each lecture will be supported by video resources of various types. Although this is a lecture class, discussion is very much encouraged.

SCIENCE: CRISPR--THIS NEW WORLD OF GENETIC EDITING (D), March 20 through May 1, Alpine 236

Steven Oesterreicher

Online registration only

Learn more about CRISPR. It is a term used in microbiology. It stands for Clustered Regularly-Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats. CRISPR is a gene-editing technique and already is having a major impact on biomedical research. It makes it easy to switch either one single gene or many genes and replace that with what you want. It can find out why genes make cells cancerous or predispose people to diseases. Each week we will watch a presentation and then have a class discussion. Is this a tool for future good?


suffrage symbol
Suffrage Symbol

Allan Keown, Maryellen Burns, Larry Fox

Online registration only

The story of how men actively helped women obtain suffrage at both the state and federal constitutional levels has received remarkably little coverage over the decades. This half-semester seminar will hopefully rectify that a bit. We shall 1) watch and discuss several videos, 2) review men’s contributions to the passage of suffrage in each of the 36 states, and 3) review John Hyde Braly’s life. He is widely regarded as the pivotal man in California’s long struggle for a state constitutional right to full suffrage that culminated with a narrow ballot victory on Oct. 12, 1911. There will be delimited but essential homework assignments. The ultimate goals will be both information and fun!

A WOMAN’S FILM FESTIVAL (P), 12:30 to 2:45 p.m., March 20 through May 1, Kadema 145

suffrage symbol
Suffrage Symbol

Jennifer Cummings

Online registration only

This seminar will preview documentary and fictional films that are about women, directed by women in some cases, and the choices that women have had to make in their lives. The documentaries featured in this seminar will focus on the achievements of women, their stories of disenfranchisement, discrimination, and other topics that are appropriate to today's cultural, social, and political climate. Brief discussion will follow the films as time permits.

WU JETIAN, THE ONE AND ONLY EMPRESS IN CHINA (P), March 20 through May 1, Alpine 148

suffrage symbol
Suffrage Symbol

Chris Budwine

Online registration only

Wu Jetian lived in the 7th Century, during the early Tang Dynasty. Her tumultuous life made Scarlett O'Hara's look tame. By using her intelligence, optimism, persistence, iron will, and cunning, she overcame tremendous obstacles and became an empress. She established a new dynasty for herself. Historians gave her credit for good government: she established the first imperial examination system, expanded the empire, founded a state-supported education system, and largely maintained peace during her reign.

Saturday Morning and Afternoon

All of the morning seminars require online registration. The afternoon seminar is a drop-in; no registration required.

Here is the link for online registration.


ANCIENT EGYPT: ITS HISTORY AND ARCHEOLOGY (L), 10 a.m. to 12 noon, Benicia 1025

David Warren

Online registration only

This seminar will cover such topics as Egypt's geography, its ancient pharaohs and Egypt's form of government, the hieroglyphic language, the ancient religions of Egypt and their representations in art, and by the way of slides, we will visit almost every archeological site in Egypt. Dr. Warren will present all of the lectures and he will welcome questions and discussion. There will be a syllabus that will cost $15. I hope this class will make you feel that you have toured ancient Egypt.

MEDITATION PRACTICE (L), 9 to 11:30 a.m., Riverside 1015

Gail Reed

Online registration only

This ongoing informal meditation practice seminar will continue to discuss and explore a variety of spiritual practices. Open class discussion and participation are encouraged and welcome. The seminar will focus on awakening awareness beyond the mind. We will explore a variety of spiritual traditions, contemporary teachers and meditation/mindful techniques. This seminar may include guided imagery, chanting, drumming and just resting in stillness. We will also discuss several of the old spiritual writings, for example the Tao de Ching and Bhagavad Gita. Each meeting will have several short practice meditations. Printing fee is $5 per semester for handouts. Registration is required.


INVISIBLE THREADS AND HIDDEN WALLS OF TIME (L), 10 a.m. to 12 noon, Feb. 8, 15, 22 and 29 only, Riverside 1004

Gus Koehler, Pin Li, Terry Rhoades

Online registration only

Participants will take a visual, philosophical, and experiential tour of the multiple dimensions of time. Meeting 1: Time: how is it created and how is it experienced? Meeting 2: A flowing of Instants: Taoist, Christian and Buddhist Time, Complex Systems, Time-Ecology, and Heterochrony. The Near Death Experience as time. Meeting 3: Evolution of Time: J T Fraser’s Hierarchy of 5 Types of Time and How they Might Work Together. Meeting 4: A Complex Systems Performance of the “Present Instant” Relative to the “Past, Present and Future Instants.” The Gyre of Interacting Flows of Time. The seminar respects the student's ability to ask questions and to think through challenging questions. Plenty of time for questions and discussion is made available.

STORYTELLING, THE ART (P), 10 to 11:45 a.m., Feb. 8 through March 14, Riverside 1002

Mary McGrath, Joyce Ormond

Online registration only

Do you listen to This American Life, The Moth, Story Corps? Storytellers are filling the airwaves. In this seminar we will go paper-free, finding your tellable tales, trusting your voice, your memory, and exploring the freedom to improvise for your listeners. Storytellers will be supported in class with time for writing, organizing, performance games, partner tellings, and affirmations. Telling folktales and original work will be encouraged, and the goal is telling from memory. Let us show you how that is different from memorizing a script or reading aloud. Those who wish a public venue are welcome at a monthly performance evening at the Avid Reader on Broadway, or the Sacramento Storytellers Guild.


HOW TO LOOK BEYOND EVERYDAY SYMBOLS TO FIND PERSONAL MYTHOLOGICAL ROOTS (L), 10 a.m. to 12 noon, March 21 and March 28 only, Riverside 1004

Gus Koehler, Pin Li, Terry Rhoades

Online registration only

Our personal, social, and physical world is made up of everyday interactions given meaning by visual, aural, olfactory, and body signs and symbols. Everybody’s world is shaped by them in ways we’re only partially aware of but absolutely driven by. Our task here is to identify and use artistic tools that unveil or unearth these structures, and the mythical underpinnings that lie behind and beneath them. Thus, we attempt to visualize images that propel such structures, be they personal or collective.


MODS AND ROCKERS (L), 12 noon to 3 p.m., Mariposa 1000

Mike Harkins

Drop-in, no registration required

Nothing has had as much impact on modern popular music as the so-called British Invasion. For decades America had been the exporter of music to the rest of the world but in the latter half of the 60s we became the importers. And what we heard from our radios was our own music played back to us in a wholly fresh manner. I have fond memories of the thrill I got as I heard each new release and so I intend to replicate that experience as I play 311 selections in the order they occurred between 1964 and 1971.