Osher Online - Winter 2021

Tuesday Courses

H. P. Lovecraft and the Horror Story

Tuesdays: Jan. 12, 19, 26; Feb. 2 (4 Sessions)
9:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Are you watching “Lovecraft Country” on HBO? Come explore that strange country in the original. H. P. Lovecraft (1890-1937) published in the pulp magazines and amateur journals of his day, yet his horror mythos has lasted, and he is considered one of the original creators of speculative fiction. Besides investigating the genre and Lovecraft’s relatively short life, we will explore both the Cthulhu and Kadath mythos expounded by Lovecraft in his many short stories, novellas and poetry. The main texts for the class will be The Call of Cthulhu, The Dunwich Horror, The Mountains of Madness and The Dream Quest of the Unknown Kadath (in that order, one per week). There are several online sites with the fiction in PDF or digital format as well as the print version of The Complete Fiction of H. P. Lovecraft (Chartwell Books) from Amazon.

Instructor: Clarence Wolfshohl is professor emeritus of English at William Woods University. His creative and scholarly writings have appeared in many small press and literary journals, both in print and online. He has published several chapbooks and small collections of poetry, most recently, Armadillos & Groundhogs (2019).  He has been active in Osher as a student and teacher for several years.


The Electoral College

Tuesdays: Jan. 12, 19 (2 Sessions)
10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Twice in the last 20 years, the Electoral College has selected as president the candidate with the second highest number of votes. How did we come to have an Electoral College? How has it operated over the centuries? Since both of the recent runners-up who won the election were Republican, this has become a partisan issue as well as a small-population state versus large-population state issue.   


Should we change our process of electing a president, and if so, how? One suggested change is the Interstate Popular Vote Compact. Another is the admission of the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico as states. Another is a constitutional amendment to eliminate the Electoral College. How likely is each of those changes? What would be the problems with each of those changes?


Instructor: David Leuthold is professor emeritus of political science at the University of Missouri. Twenty-five years ago, he published an article on the likelihood of the Electoral College electing the runner-up, concluding that the runner up would win about 5% of the time. But the figure was 40% and over during the last 20 years. Has the world changed that much? Leuthold lives part time in Missouri and part time in Montana, so he sympathizes with both a large-population and small-population state.


Using Esoteric Data and Clues to Dig Deeper Into Your Family History

Tuesdays: Jan. 26; Feb. 2 (2 Sessions)
10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

This class will tackle esoteric clues in search of deeper meaning behind the hidden and invisible narratives that tell a family's story using the tools of critical family history. We will cover the following topics and/or questions:

  • Evaluate esoteric clues and explore deeper historical and cultural meaning to analyze family identity, beliefs, social order and class position.
  • Sleuth through memories, family secrets, tall tales and/or juicy gossip.
  • What are the layers we leave out when conducting our family history research, and why?
  • Using the lens of critical family theory, what are the historical, social and cultural connections you experience today, and how are they connected to your complex but relevant past?
  • What roles did gender, race, ethnicity, class and economic opportunity play in your respective family's position in society, and how has this shaped your beliefs and identity?

Instructor: Traci Wilson-Kleekamp holds a Master's in Social Studies Education (M.Ed.) and is presently a fourth-year doctoral student in the MU College of Education (social studies). She is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach, with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, Public Relations. She is currently featured on the Missouri State Archives website “African-American Genealogy: Putting Together the Pieces of Your Past: A Five-Part Series with Traci L. Wilson-Kleekamp” (https://www.sos.mo.gov/archives/presentations/default/aagene5).


Poems by Survivors of the Holocaust and the Soviet Terror

Tuesdays: Jan. 12, 19, 26; Feb. 2 (4 Sessions)
1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

The legacy of the Holocaust survives in many art forms—music, painting, sculpture, architecture, novels, plays, and poetry—reminders that we should never forget. For this course, we will read, in translation, poems by poets who were fortunate enough to live through and beyond the horror of the death camps, but whose memories of the bereft and the lost persisted and were transformed into the searing poems that require all of us to remember. Poets included will be, among others, Nelly Sachs, Paul Celan, Primo Levi, Czeslaw Milosz, Anna Akhmatova and Osip Mandelstam. Selected readings will be posted on the Osher Course Documents webpage. We may also view the film by Alain Resnais, “Night and Fog” (“Nacht und Nebel”).

Instructor: Thomas Dillingham earned his A.B. from Princeton University, 1962, and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Boston University, 1970 and 1973. He taught English literature at Stephens College from 1971 to 2001, and at Central Methodist University from 2003 to 2007. He taught a variety of courses, including “18th Century and Romantic Poetry,” “John MIlton,” “William Blake,” “World Mythologies,” “Fairy Tales and Folklore,” and “Language: Uses and Abuses.”


Islam: Prophets for Our Time

Tuesdays: Jan. 12, 19, 26; Feb. 2 (4 Sessions)
3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

The class is meant for Osher students interested in learning about the religion of Islam, going beyond the basics. Islam teaches that God has sent 124,000 prophets to teach human beings, in different times and places, to communicate his message; Adam was the first of all prophets, and Prophet Muhammad was the last. Dr. Nizam will delve into the teachings of five of the prophets, sharing their lessons and highlighting their lives so that they may enlighten our own lives.

Instructor: Rashed Nizam, M.D., D.O., FCPS, FAAO, is a board-certified ophthalmologist who has resided in Columbia since 1997. He is the founding director of the Mid-Missouri Eye Center in Moberly and a diplomat for the American Board of Ophthalmology. He sits on the board of the Religious Program Advisory Committee (RPAC) for the Missouri Department of Corrections and was past board chair for the Islamic Center of Central Missouri and the Islamic School of Columbia. Dr. Nizam has been teaching for Osher since 2008.


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