Black Death
Your Choices Run the Gamut from
Black Death to Compassionate Communication
to Memoirs (top to bottom)

Friday Afternoon and Saturday Seminars

These seminars take place on the CSUS campus on Friday afternoons or on Saturdays. Most Friday times are from 1 to 2:45 p.m., unless otherwise noted (look carefully for seminars that have different starting times). All Friday seminars run for the entire semester, from Feb. 2 through May 4.

There are also five seminars on campus on Saturdays, four in the morning and one in the afternoon. They will run from Feb. 3 to May 5. The four morning seminars require registration; the afternoon one is a drop-in with no registration required. Jump to them.

There are no seminars on March 23-24 and 30-31.

You must register for all the Friday seminars and the four morning Saturday seminars. There are three ways to register:

NOTE: Contact information for leaders is NOT included below for privacy reasons. You will be able to find phone numbers and emails for the leaders when you go to online registration or you can call the office at (916) 278-7834.

Please do not sign up for more than one Friday afternoon seminar, but you can register on wait lists for other choices. You can go back to online registration to change your seminar choice if you change your mind or get into a wait-listed class or you can contact the leader(s).

Many of these classes 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.

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

Friday Seminars

American Impressionism: 1890-1920 (P)
AIRC 1007
Online Registration only

Debbie Russell, Kathy Olson

Most of us are familiar with the work of the French Impressionists, but fewer have encountered the American Impressionists. Some of them went to France to study, while others learned their skills from American schools or art colonies. Join us in an exploration of these men and women who brought a revolutionary painting style to the United States. Seminar members will be requested to give a brief presentation on a specific painter or other topic from a list provided by the coordinators. The seminar will also include videos, lectures and discussion.

Astronomy And The Night Sky, Introduction (L)
Calaveras 123 NOTE: Room Change!
Online Registration only

Jack Russell

This will be a low-key introduction to astronomy for those who have neither experience nor background in astronomy. Each seminar meeting will be a PowerPoint talk based on images and diagrams, and sometimes followed by a DVD video presentation. The topics covered will include the solar system, light, star life cycles, super nova, exo-planets, galaxies, black holes, and more. There will be a brief introduction to navigating the night sky.

The Beatles Jukebox (L)
Brighton 104
Online Registration only

John Caselli

Where were you at 8 p.m. on Feb. 9, 1964? Probably watching The Ed Sullivan Show. The opening act was a group of four Liverpudlians singing 'All My Loving.' It was one of those life-changing moments that forever altered the look and sound of contemporary music. What we witnessed that night was the culmination of six years of The Beatles playing mostly cover versions of songs written and performed by other artists. This seminar will explore those songs and artists: Arthur Alexander, The Shirelles, Chuck Berry and many more. We will delve into the treatment they gave these tunes in order to fit their repertoire.

The Black Death (L)
Kadema 145
Online Registration only

Jon Courtway

In the 14th Century medieval world, there was a devastating pandemic, bubonic plague, that swept Europe. When it was over, about half the population had died. It dramatically affected social structures, political and economic infrastructure, familial relationships and religious institutions. It began transforming the medieval world into modernity. You will see how it: originated and spread; was the first recorded instance of germ warfare; impacted people psychosocially; was responded to by governments and the papacy; transformed the English manor system; inspired new art and literature; and how it was so deadly. (DVD-based with discussion.)

Communities Of The Sacramento San Joaquin Delta (L)
Alpine 204 NOTE: Room Change!
Online Registration only

Bob Benedetti

Beginning with Miwok, Yokut and Olone villages, the Sacramento San Joaquin Delta has favored hamlets, but the Delta is not without large cities. This seminar will explore the evolution of many Delta communities. Some prospered; others died; many have stories to tell. To describe the Delta’s impact on Sacramento, Stockton, Antioch, Pittsburg and Benicia, the seminar will invite scholars and residents to relate how sense of place has shaped these cities. Turning to smaller communities, representatives of museums and historic sites will highlight the heritage of their towns and describe life today. Readings provided, discussion invited, but neither required.

Compassionate Communication (D)
Douglass 111 NOTE: Room change!
Online Registration only

Nanci Kuzins

What kind of life do you want, conflict-filled or peaceful? This seminar allows us to gain the skills to find what's alive in ourselves and each other and thus make life more wonderful. Together we'll explore universal needs fulfillment by practicing how to understand authentic feelings and the needs underneath those feelings. Empathy for self and another leads to making conscious requests and not demands. Come with a curiosity for awareness and growth. Inspired by Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life, Marshall B. Rosenberg (required), available in class; Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life, Tao Wisdom, Wayne Dyer (optional).

Culture, Pop Culture, And The Media (L)
Eureka 104
Online Registration only

Phil Lane

The purpose of this seminar is to examine the different meanings of culture and popular culture, to study the expressive forms of culture, and how these forms are presented through the media of print, radio, television, films (video), recordings (music) and the Internet. The approach will be, essentially, historical, but with the support of certain methods and theories of cultural criticism to aid in the interpretation and analysis of these media. Examples of these media forms (video and audio resources) will be used in class for discussion. This is mainly a lecture seminar, but discussion is encouraged.

Economics For The 99 Percent In Trumpland (L)
Alpine 236
Online Registration only

Duane Campbell

We will examine the economic actions and proposals of the Trump Administration—and their alternatives. Proposals on trade, Social Security, Medicare, employment, infrastructure and the theoretical positions of Trump and his advisors (Bannon, Navarro, etc.). Our efforts will consider facts and alternative facts using videos, readings, presentations and dialogue. This is economics as if people mattered. Reading assignments. Participation. This should be fun. Seminar limited to 30 participants.

Empire Of Liberty: A History Of The Early Republic (L)
Amador 152
Online Registration only

Richard Pitcher, Keith Dilday

How did this fledgling nation get to this point? This seminar will examine this issue. How did the Constitution get ratified? What deals had to be made? What were the functional balances between the branches of government? Did the Federal Government have the power to tax? Who got taxed, who didn't and why? What was the power of the Federal Government and what belonged to the states? America rose to a great maritime power and this led to the War of 1812. Political parties developed and so much more was going on in this incredibly exciting period of our history.

Great American Trials (L)
Alpine 148
Online Registration only

Joel Primes

We will discuss trials that have made history. The Constitution and statutory laws will be explained with an emphasis on recent cases. Students will participate in two mock trials (a criminal and a civil case). Transcripts are provided and students act out the trial. Fun for all students. Some cases will be discussed that are summarized on television. Class discussion is encouraged. Each class meeting will be dedicated to a different case or specific area of the law. Suggestions from students as to cases to be discussed are helpful.

Great Classical Composers Through The Ages (L)
12:30 to 2:45 p.m., Capistrano 223
Contact Bob or Sue by phone; no online registration

Robert Seyfried, Sue Schneckloth, Professor Leo Eylar (not to be contacted)

This seminar will not be dealing with a specific musical period or group of composers. Rather, Leo and I have decided to range over the full spectrum, from the Baroque into the 20th Century, and we will attempt to give the proper due to some great composers we have barely touched in the past, i.e., Gustav Mahler and Richard Strauss, just to name two. Leo and I may well surprise both you and ourselves, but we promise the surprises will be good. Our seminar will consist of lecture, live and recorded music and appropriate video presentations. A fee of $25 will be collected.

Great Decisions In American Foreign Policy (P)
Mendocino 1032
Contact leader, no online registration

David Peters, Nell Farr

Great Decisions is a nationwide program about U.S. foreign policy issues. The Great Decisions Briefing Book ($30; 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: the waning of Pax Americana? Russia's foreign policy; China and America: the new geopolitical equation; media and foreign policy; Turkey: a partner in crisis; U.S. global engagement and the military; South Africa's fragile democracy; and global health: progress and challenges. The format will include discussion and required presentations by most participants. Limited to 22.

Haiku: Reading And Writing This Wonderful Japanese Poetry In English (L)
Eureka 315
Contact leader; no online registration

Theo Goodwin

Haiku is a unique, formal and deceptively simple style of poetry that evolved in Japan in the 1600s. It continues to spread throughout the world in English using traditional and contemporary formats. We will study the origin, cultural context, evolution and beauty of Haiku by reading poetry at home and in class, by writing our own poems and by sharing them weekly. This seminar is for thinkers who love to learn and to create. No prior study of Haiku or poetry-writing experience is necessary, but love of literature is required. The seminar is participatory with lectures and discussions. Limited to 12 participants.

Human Migrations And Language Diversity (L)
Mendocino 3011
Online Registration only

Marty Keale, P.J. Garrido

We will engage in a BROAD overview of this immense and complex topic, with the objective of tweaking your interest and encouraging you to pursue study on your own. We will, with your help, develop a list of vetted books, DVD courses, websites and other resources. The seminar will employ a diversity of learning methods, including lectures, book reports, Great Courses DVDs, and facilitated discussion. Among the topics we will examine (or at least touch on) include the beginnings of humanity, migrations and languages; the impacts of the Black Sea Diaspora and the Development of Agriculture; the role of multi-ethnic cultures; the roles of key cultural turning points; and the impact of all of this on modern events.

Korea, Excluding The War (P)
Alpine 232
Online Registration only

Vick Vickland

With the current world situation, it is important to understand more completely who and what we are dealing with. The coordinator of this seminar, as most Americans, has limited knowledge of the background of the Koreas, including their history and culture. Therefore, seminar members, learning together, will be required to participate in the gathering and sharing of information. The seminar will not include the Korean War, as that was dealt with last semester.

Memories And Memoir: Writing Personal Histories (D)
Calaveras 134
Online Registration only

Kimberly Edwards

Whether you're writing for your children, your grandchildren, or yourself, gathering material, recalling details, and developing a structure for telling life experiences can yield lasting benefits. Participants who desire will write stories and read aloud up to 800 words weekly in a safe, validating environment. Each session consists of mini-lessons on elements of memoir that lead to more vibrant narrative. Stories are based on personal experiences and are met with positive, non-judgmental discussions facilitated by the leader. This helps the class explore what works in a written piece and to generate ideas for future stories. Writers at all levels welcome.

More Shakespeare, Next Julius Caesar, Acts I and II, and Act III, Scene 1 (D)
Brighton 209 NOTE: Room Change!
Contact leader for registration; no online registration

Tom Slakey, Gerry Camp

Julius Caesar, Antony and Cleopatra, Twelfth Night, Othello, Lear, Macbeth, Tempest discussed roughly in the order of composition. Members expected to have read each meeting and come prepared for discussion. Limit 18. Registration by phone only.

One Hundred More Days Of The Trump Presidency—Where Are We Going? (D)
Brighton 110
Online Registration only

Jack Jennings

We will begin with what has been accomplished the first year and is currently pending, in Congress, appointments, executive orders and policies. Has/will Congress succeed in enacting his agenda, will he compromise with Democrats on health care, tax reform, immigration and Infrastructure? What's happening with our trade agreements, foreign policy, threats to withdraw from the Iran Nuclear Treaty and of course the North Korean nuclear/missile crisis? And what will Mueller's and Congressional investigations reveal? We will compare current media from every side.

Plant-Based Lifestyle (L)
Mendocino 1005 NOTE: Room Change!
Online Registration only

Twyla Teitzel

It's never too late to go Plant-Based! Please join Twyla for this seminar that explores the health and environmental benefits of a plant-based diet. The seminar will include movies, resources, how to shop, guest speakers, recipes, field trips, and food! The books and research of Dr. John McDougall, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. Neal Barnard, Dr. Michael Greger, and others will be discussed. Kaiser Permanente advises its 17,000 physicians to recommend a plant-based diet to their patients, stating, "Physicians should consider recommending a plant-based diet: especially to those with high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease or obesity."

Republican China, 1911-1949: Qing To Mao (P)
Amador 252
Online Registration only

Bruce Moon

The Republic of China on the Mainland began with the fall of the Qing dynasty in 1911 and ended with the establishment of the People's Republic of China near the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949. The period included a rich cast of characters, including Mao Zedong, Chiang Kai-shek, Joseph Stilwell and millions of supporting roles including warlords, concubines, soldiers, scholars, and laborers. Participants will be encouraged to research and make presentations on important people, events, and ideas. Discussion and questions are encouraged. 

The Silk Road: Merchants, Monks, Warriors, Thieves (P)
Sequoia 301 NOTE: (second) Room Change!
Online Registration only

Beth Mann, Nancy Kniskern

Come with us on a journey across the Silk Road. From China, the Silk Road crosses the harshest desert and climbs the highest mountains on earth and then branches out into the Middle East, India, Eurasia and eventually, Europe. Who were the peoples who braved this terrain in search of wealth, glory or religion? What stories did they have to tell? And how did the Silk Road contribute to the making of the modern world? This seminar will delve into these fascinating bits of history.

Songs Of Work And Protest (A/S)
Capistrano 327
Online Registration only

Mike Hersher

The seminar will look at the history of American songs about working people and songs of protest regarding social and political conditions. We will listen to many singer/songwriters over the years and we will sing songs ourselves as a group. No preparation for or prior experience with either singing or the subject matter is necessary. The materials presented in the seminar will be available after each meeting by email and participants are welcome to record any part of any seminar.

South Africa And East Caribbean: History, Culture And Fun (L)
12:30 to 2:45 p.m., Mendocino 1003
Online Registration only

Richard Fuller

Two world-class amazing places, both visited by the seminar leader since November 2017.  Both have beautiful natural settings and strong and resilient multi-cultural people—with their indigenous residents gone but not forgotten. They share a history of domination and even enslavement by colonial powers.  South Africa has a strong economy based on minerals and tourism, and the Lesser Antilles get by on rum and coke and tourism.  They have amazing geology (gold, diamonds, uranium, and radium in South Africa, and death-dealing volcanoes in the Caribbean). And then there are the hurricanes.  Despite all, both countries have delightful people! 

Spanish For Continuing Beginners (D)
Brighton 214
Online Registration only

Susan Titus, Donna Eash

We hope to include both former students and new ones with some basic knowledge, to briefly review and build upon last year's beginner seminar. The class will incorporate practice in hearing, speaking and reading Spanish to develop communication, pronunciation, and broader language skills. Leaders will employ both structured teaching techniques and a variety of interactive approaches, including the use of children's books, poetry, games, oral drills, and music. There will be a materials fee of $10. Oral classroom participation will be expected and supported, risk-taking encouraged. Home study is recommended to reinforce classroom learning.

Spies Through History (P)
Mendocino 4004
Online Registration only

Bert MacBride, Garey Young

History has shown us that there are many spies both in peacetime and during war from many countries, men and women. Our country's history had Benedict Arnold to Aldrich Ames and many more. This participation class will ask members to prepare brief reports on spies from around the world from a list we will provide or from your own research. We will also have some videos to supplement the oral presentations. We will hear about pentagon missionary spies and the International Spy Museum in Washington D.C., a school for spies.

The Sumerian Legacy (L)
Brighton 114 NOTE: Room Change!
Online Registration only

Paul Micheli, John Ullmer

The Sumerians established the world's first civilization, including a written literature, millennia before the Bible. We will trace the influence of this civilization on its neighbors, including the Hebrews and even the Germanic tribes. We are now able to read Sumerian literature and the seminar will discuss its direct links to such biblical stories as Moses and Sargon, Lilith and Eve, Noah and Abraham. Individual presentations are invited but not required. The principal coordinators will explain how Sumerian literature, language and history have had an effect on Western Civilization.

Time Travel Movies: The Do-Over (D)
12:15 to 2:45 p.m., Benicia 1025
Online Registration only

Chip Zempel

What were we thinking? We spent all of Fall Semester watching and discussing Time Travel movies, but we missed some of the classics like Back to the Future, The Terminator, and The Time Traveler's Wife. And think of all the shorts, foreign films, music videos, and commercials we missed! We definitely need a Time Travel Do-Over! We'll go back and get it right this time, avoiding those pesky paradoxes and unforeseen consequences we learned about last semester. And if we mess up? Well, we'll just go back and redo our do-over! What could possibly go wrong?

The United States Civil War (L)
Mendocino 4008
Online Registration only

Douglas Bonetti

We will explore many topics of the Civil War, like causes of the war, technology and the war, key leaders, literature that emerged from the war, critical battles along with the life of the common soldier. I will lecture much of the time and also ask some seminar members to give short reports. This is an update to a seminar I gave last spring at Renaissance. You will have the chance in class to touch history; I will bring authentic weapons and memorabilia from my extensive collection. With guest speakers, we will have a fascinating seminar.

Watercolor Painting (A/S)
Kadema 170
Contact leader for seminar registration

Doyle Crawford, Ken Kinyon

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 seminar will do some instruction in the principles and elements of design. Students may choose their own projects. Seminar members will critique completed paintings, if desired. Guests and experienced artists may be invited. Tony Couch You can do it will be the text. Copies will be on sale (but not required) for $20 Limited to 28 and registration is required.

The Western Tradition: Early History To Middle Ages
Alpine 235
Online Registration only

Kurt and Nancy Findeisen, Diane Chase

The seminar features video lectures (closed-captioned) by noted historian Eugen Weber, covering the development of Western thought and culture through the interweaving of political and social events, including religion, industry, agriculture, demography, government, economics and art. The videos include 1,000+ images from the Metropolitan Museum of Art portraying key events that shaped the development of Western thought, culture, and tradition. Episodes cover the beginning of history through the Middle Ages, emphasizing Greek and Roman influences. Sessions will include discussion about the historical period covered and its relevance to our modern world. Participants will be encouraged to engage in discussions.

World War II: The Pacific War Revisited (L)
Brighton 204
Online Registration only

G. Burroughs

This lecture/discussion seminar differs from the one presented in the spring of 2016. Emphasis will be on the naval actions, beginning with Pearl Harbor, the immediate U.S. response, and chronologically with the battles of the Coral Sea, Midway, Guadalcanal, the Marianas and Leyte Gulf. Side trips to Doolittle's raid on Tokyo and submarine warfare will be included. While the seminar in 2016 dealt with the above in a broad sense, this seminar will be more specific and detailed.

Writing Personal History (P)
Calaveras 135
Online Registration only

Donn and Sue Miller

Depending on the seminar size, students will read their personal history of 500 to 1,000 or 1,000 to 2,000 words each week. If the seminar is large, the assignment will be shorter. If the seminar is smaller, the assignment can be larger. There will be a short discussion at the end of the reading, but no critical remarks are expected or necessary. No corrections will be offered or given. Personal history is memories from youth, middle life or our lives after retirement. Short histories are fine if the writing assignment ends up being short.

Mike, David
The REAL Renaissance with David;
Swing to the Hit Parade with Mike

Saturday Seminars

You must register online for the four morning seminars. America's Hit Parade, in the afternoon, is a Drop-in Class (no registration required).

Florence, Italy, and The Rise Of The Renaissance (L)
9:30 to 11:45 a.m., Mendocino 1003
Online Registration only

David Warren

We will briefly review the fall of the Roman Empire and the rise of the Middle Ages. Then we will cover the reasons for the dramatic changes in history and art: the rise of the Renaissance Period in Florence, This occurred between 1425 and 1600 AD. We will visit the city of Florence minutely by way of visual images and we will meet its famous citizens. Lorenzo di Medici will visit us and talk about his city. All lectures will be presented by David Warren, Ph.D. The syllabus for the course will cost $15 and will be available on the first day of the seminar or can also be purchased on the day of the Rendezvous.

Couples Social Dance Workshop (A/S)
11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., Yosemite 187
Online Registration only

Vick Vickland

Couples who would like to improve the smoothness of their dance are invited to a drop-in workshop. New dances will not be taught.

Folk Dance For Seniors (A/S)
10 to 11:30 a.m., Yosemite 187
Online Registration only

Vick Vickland

Folk dancing has many benefits. It is good for your physical health, mental health and social health. We'll learn some easy-but-fun non-partner dances you can do. We'll also learn about folk activities available in the community and the state, as well as information about the local Folk Dance and Arts Council and the Folk Dance Federation of California. Come have some fun!

Revolutions In The 20th Century (L)
10 to 11:45 a.m., Mariposa 1000
Online Registration only

Edwin Sanborn

The World Turned Upside Down—the name of a song and a perfect description of the history of the 20th Century. The Balkans, Turkey, Mexico, China, Russia, Germany, Hungary, the Baltics, Poland, China 
redux, Indochina, India, Indonesia, Africa. Everywhere the weak are revolting against the strong, the poor against the rich, all that is solid melts into air. This seminar will explore what went wrong and what went right in the 20th century, I hope you can join us on the journey.

America's Hit Parade: 1890 to Present (L)
12 to 2:45 p.m., Mariposa 1000
Drop-In; No Registration Required

Mike Harkins

Think of the vast changes in popular music since we were teens. Then imagine how much music has evolved since the 1890s. This seminar surveys the shifting trends in America's most popular music by listening to the top artists and recordings of each decade. From the very first recordings to the synthesized digital tracks of today, we explore connections between each decade's best sellers and the social environment in which they were produced. How did war stoke the fires of ragtime, jazz, and swing? What distinguishes pre-1955 music from post-1955 music? Join us to find out. No presentations required. This is a drop-in seminar, but contact Mike by email to get weekly agendas and playlists. Get the Schedule.