Course Descriptions for Fall 21 and Winter 22


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LLIR Fall 2021 Course Descriptions

Brain and Mind with Terry Picton
The human brain is a most marvelous thing: the embodiment of mind. This course will initially consider the anatomy of the brain and the physiology of its neurons. Subsequent presentations will then describe how the brain makes possible those mental functions that make us human: perception, consciousness, will, language, emotion and memory. Each session will also explain how these functions might become disordered in diseases such as stroke, epilepsy, aphasia, dementia, and psychosis.

Wonderful Things: The Life, Death and Treasures of Tutankhamun with Laura Ranieri Roy  
In November 1922 – almost 100 years ago – the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb and magnificent gold treasures shook the world. This minor king of Egypt died before his 20th birthday and yet his legacy is one of the most extraordinary in all of ancient history. In this special in-depth art and history course, we tell the fascinating story of King Tut and learn the astonishing details of his life, death and tomb discovery by Carter and Lord Carnarvan. We’ll also explore the most remarkable of his 3000 treasures – penetrating the secrets behind these true masterpieces of ancient art – which today are being conserved and restored for the new Grand Egyptian Museum.

Giants of Contemporary Literature with Joanna KrongoldThis course will examine the works of six contemporary giants of North American literature. The first half of the term will focus on the Canadian literary landscape through works by Michael Ondaatje, Anne Michaels, and Esi Edugyan; the second half of the term will focus on the American literary landscape through works by Toni Morrison, Tony Kushner, and Philip Roth. Together we will explore how and why the literary imagination is used in response to personal, political, and racial trauma, and in turn how those traumas affect and transform the imaginative capacity of the traumatized individual. We will pay close attention to the intersections and divergences between these six authors, investigating how gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, and religion affect contemporary literature. Alongside our primary texts, we will therefore engage with theories of trauma representation, magical realism, and fantasy in order to illuminate works that range from novels to plays.

 “The Lure of Being Elsewhere: The Histories of Tourism” with Kevin James
What inspires us to travel, and what motivates us to choose places to tour? Employing an historical perspective, this course charts the growth of modern travel, from the long odyssey of the Grand Tour of Europe that marked an entrée into the British elite, to the rise of the package holiday. It explores colonial tours and travellers, wartime travel, the enduring rhetorical contrast between the resourceful, inquisitive and refined ‘traveller’ and the incurious ‘tourist’ who ventures abroad in search only of the familiar, and asks how those stereotypes originated. In exploring modern travel, it looks at environmental, social and economic impacts of such popular travel practices as cruising, the ‘all-inclusive package holiday’, air travel, and adventure and nature tourism. Join us for armchair travels—around the globe and through time!

LLIR Winter 2022 Course Descriptions

The Rock and Roll Era with Mike DaleyThis course looks in detail at the music and memories of the rock and roll era from about 1948 to 1964. Beginning with the crossover of certain rhythm and blues records after World War II, we take in Elvis Presley, Little Richard, doo-wop, Jerry Lee Lewis, rockabilly, Buddy Holly, the Brill Building songwriters, early Motown and more. Dr. Mike Daley enriches his talks with vintage video clips, photos and recordings. 

The Middle East with Amnon Zohar      
The Stormy Winds of Change in the Modern Middle East, the Middle East, the cradle of civilization remains the most valuable and therefore most contested real estate in the world and the artery for trade and commerce between Asia and Europe. The modern Middle East as we know it today was created after the fall of the Ottoman empire to end Word War I. Since then, it has been plagued with endless conflicts and civil wars. In this lecture series, we will review and analyze the major social, political, military, ecological, and cultural storms besieging the region. You will gain a much deeper understanding of the stormy winds blowing through the Middle East and their potential impact on the prospects for peace and prosperity around the world. This is an interactive lecture course with extensive use of audio/visual material. Questions and discussion will be encouraged.

The Art and Science of Aging with Guy Bernard Proulx

Living older and healthy is possible. Close to one million Canadians are in the 84 to 94 age group and the prevalence of dementia has gone down by 20% since the mid nineties. In this course, you will learn about the complexities, myths, and realities of people’s experience of growing old. We will highlight some of the ingredients inherent to the art of living well in old age. We will also look at different aging trajectories such as optimal aging, normal aging, mild cognitive impairments and dementia.  We are witnessing a new era in how we perceive aging and healthcare. The aging population, including those with dementia, is requesting care and services closer to home. More aging friendly communities and attitudes are needed. As Seneca said a long time ago, “Life can be long if we know how to use it.”

Fellini’s Centennial Among Divas and Divos with Prof Franco Gallippi

The great film stars of Italy have travelled around the globe on the silver screen, and painted a portrait of Italy. Its extreme beauty and harsh realities are expressed through performances that take the audience from the intimate space of a kitchen in Sicily to the heights of the Alps and the Apennines. What lies between are the joys and struggles of a people that take on the faces of Anna Magnani, Marcello Mastroianni, Sofia Loren, Alberto Sordi, Monica Bellucci, and Roberto Benigni. These six performers are the masks of Italy presented along with the director Federico Fellini whose work will constitute the interludes between the actors to commemorate his 2020 birth centennial.

Passion and Torment: The Story of Russian Literature with Dr. Julia ZarankinThe birth of Russian literature coincided with the creation of a new imperial capital: St Petersburg. An unusually late bloomer, Russian literature appeared on the European literary scene in the late 18th century and, within a mere hundred years, managed to take the world by storm. We will survey the tempestuous course of Russian literature from its beginnings to the present day. The course will present literary texts in a historical and cultural context, by examining how Russian literature responds to the changing socio-political climate of its day, including imperialism, terrorism, revolution, Stalinism. Significant attention will be paid to Pushkin, Gogol, Tolstoy, Turgenev, Dostoevsky, Chekhov, Akhmatova, Mandelstam, Solzhenitsyn and contemporary authors.