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Fall Term 2019

A New History of Life

Mondays, 10am-noon | October 7-November 11
Paul Hague

This course is a course in paleontology. It traces some of the wanderings of our wider family, the biosphere, from its first appearance on Earth around 4 billion years ago through to the present day. This journey has been a fantastic one, with many interesting twists and turns along the way, many high points and more than a few crises. So far as we know, our planet is the only one having life.

Week 1
Incredible Variety—The Cambrian Explosion
Window to a Lost World—The Burgess Shale

Week 2
The Forgotten Fossils in Earth’s Story
Introduction to the Great Mass Extinctions

Week 3
The Collapse of Earth’s First Eden
Making the Break for Land

Week 4
Getting a Backbone—The Story of Vertebrates
The Evolution of Jaws

Week 5
These Limbs Were Made for Walking?
Tiktaalik—The Search for a Fishapod

Week 6
Carboniferous Giants and Coal
Amniotes—The Shape of Things to Come

Paul Hague is a retired geologist, who also had to study paleontology, and who loves to continue learning.

World War 1: The “Great War”

Mondays, 1-3pm | October 7-November 11
Daniel Moore

As the “Great War” Centennial closes, this course is an opportunity to reflect upon its meaning for those who lived through it and to Western Civilization as a whole.

This will be a discussion driven course. During our six classes we’ll be using portions of the British Broadcasting Corporation’s (BBC) series on World War I (made in 1964 for the War’s 50th anniversary) to familiarize us with the war’s various issues and broaden our understanding of the range of its historical perspectives and consequences. I will be creating a series of structured questions, to be handed out before viewing the BBC material, which will serve to guide our post-viewing discussions.

Daniel Moore is a retired academic from Plymouth State University with 25 years on the faculty and numerous tours of duty as an administrator. While not a professional historian, he has a deep interest in WWI. He has traveled extensively on the Western Front as well as in Central Europe along portions of the Eastern Front.

American 20th-Century Poetry

Tuesdays, 10am-Noon | October 8-November 12
Don Melander

If there were such a thing as a LINEC “salon,” this would be it. Each fall for some years now, retired NEC professor Don Melander has led a group in an unhurried exploration of the canon of modern American poetry. This fall we will start with Robert Penn Warren, Allen Tate, and Langston Hughes, moving on to other poets of the mid-twentieth century. Discussion is wide-ranging and allusive, the pace is leisurely, and participants are always loath to bring the class to a close until the next fall. Bring a copy of the Library of America’s American Poetry: The Twentieth Century Vol. Two.

The Symphonies of Beethoven

Tuesdays, 1-3 pm | October 8-November 12

This three-term course is based on the lectures of LINEC long-time favorite, Professor Robert Greenberg. He says that Beethoven is one of the most revered composers in the history of Western music because he “possessed a unique gift for communication; he radiated an absolute directness that makes his music totally accessible; the sheer emotional power of his music is readily understood and his revolutionary compositional ideas are easily appreciated.” Over six weeks, Greenberg shares the joy of these revelations with us in four segments: the Heroic Style; as Classicist in Symphony No. 1; at the Edge in Symphony No. 2; and the New Path in Symphony No. 3. Political and social reforms of the early 20th Century gave birth to movements that were stymied by two wars and the “great” depression. But, as history repeats itself, those movements survive to this day.

JaneWaters has an MAdegree from Columbia University. She taught voice at RI College, Providence College and in her own studio. Most recently, Jane taught well-attended LINEC courses on opera and Broadway. She has been a soprano soloist and the director of Hillsboro-Deering Community Chorus for 10 years. She continues to serve as the Music Director for the Deering Community Church.

American Novel: Reading Group

Wednesdays, 1-3pm | October 2 and November 6
John McCausland

This group is an on-going course meeting through the academic year, with sessions once or twice each month. It meets the first Wednesday of each month from 1:00 to 3:00, to discuss a novel chosen by the group from several “100 Best” lists. We often have a follow-up session on the second Wednesday afternoon to watch a film of the month’s novel or for further discussion. New members are welcome to join starting with the fall LINEC block. The group’s reading choices have included Huckleberry Finn, Their Eyes Were Watching God, My Antonia, Slaughterhouse-Five, All the King’s Men, The Great Gatsby and The Portrait of a Lady. Discussion is lively and informal, with the facilitator and group members contributing background, historical and literary insights. Those joining the group in October should come to class having read The Moviegoer by Walker Percy.

Facilitator – John McCausland (see bio under History of Christianity)

The Gilded Age

Thursdays, 10am-Noon | October 10-November 14
Dick Hesse and Chuck Gerhan

The second half of this course focuses on the Progressive Era as one of the consequences of the “Gilded Age”. Beginning with an evaluation of those consequences, the course explores the reactions to the excesses of the late 19th Century. Political and social reforms of the early 20th Century gave birth to movements that were stymied by two wars and the “great” depression. But those movements survive to this day. History repeats itself in our times.

Charles {Chuck} Gerhan, retired from careers as a naval officer, pilot, aeronautical engineer and lawyer, has developed an interest in the social and political aspects of history. Fascinated by the events which have set the stage for our own generation, he enjoys the opportunity to learn from and discuss times which connect closely with our own.

Richard (Dick) Hesse is a retired law professor with a Master’s Degree in History from
Temple and a law degree from Georgetown. He enjoys sharing his love of history
and the humanities with other LINEC scholars.

Week 1 Mrs. Vanderbilt’s Gala Ball
Populist Revolt: The Grangers and Coxey

Week 2 Rough Riders and the Imperial Dream
No More Corsets: The New Woman

Week 3 Trust-Busting in the Progressive Era
The 1911 Triangle Fire and Reform

Week 4 Theodore Roosevelt: Conservationist
Urban Reform: How the Other Half Lives

Week 5 The 17th Amendment: Democracy Restored
Early Civil Rights: Washington or Dubois

Week 6 Over There: A World Safe for Democracy
Upheaval and the End of an Era

The History of Christianity

Thursdays, 1-3pm | October 10-November 14
John McCausland

This Great Courses class will extend through 2021, but any block may be taken separately. This fall’s block of 12 lectures takes us from the establishment of Christianity as the state religion of the Roman Empire through the development of fundamental Christian doctrines, the rise of monasticism, the emergence of Islam and Eastern Orthodoxy. The Great Courses lecturer is Luke Timothy Johnson, a highly respected theologian and historian and an engaging teacher. Lectures are supplemented with class discussion focusing on the ways in which the ever-changing and adapting manifestations of Christianity have shaped our world and thought down to the present day. Participants have the option of supplemental reading in Diarmaid MacCulloch, Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years.

Sessions are:

Week 1: Imperial Politics and Religion, and Constantine and the Established Church;

Week 2: The Extension of Christian Culture, and Monasticism as Radical Christianity;

Week 3: The Emergence of Patriarchal Centers, and Theological Crisis and Council – the Trinity;

Week 4: Theological Crisis and Council – Christology, and The Distinctive Issues of the Latin West;

Week 5: Expansion of the Boundaries of Empire, and The Court of Justinian and Byzantine Christianity;

Week 6: The Rise of Islam, and the Threat of Iconoclasm and Eastern Orthodoxy – Holy Tradition.

John McCausland. John is an Episcopal priest, now retired, who has taught LINEC courses on the Bible, Chaucer, and the American novel. He loves history, literature, theology, teaching and learning.

The World of Film: Anti-Western Films

Fridays, 9:30-Noon | October 11-November 15
Don Melander

In this term’s ever popular film course, we will view and discuss six “anti-western” westerns: Little Big Man, Buffalo Bill and the Indians, The Ox-Bow Incident, Heartland, Lonely Are the Brave, and Lone Star which open critical perspectives on one of the most enduring myths of American identity. Our guide and mentor on this journey will be Don Melander, retired NEC English professor, so we know we are in for an intriguing adventure.

Don Melander often makes reference to films in his teaching of literature. Since 2010 he has taught a Communications course on movies and film directors. Although he has no formal training in film he has been ‘reading’ serious films as serious literature since 1958.


Celebrate Our 30th Year!

Annual Meeting

Friday, September 20, 2019

Simon Center Great Room at NEC

5-6:00 pm – Wine with Hearty Appetizers

6:00 pm – Business Meeting

6:30 pm – Award Presentations

6:45 pm – NEC Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Wayne Lesperance

7:00 pm – Guest Author Presentation: Gail Schilling

RSVP by September 12 to Louise F. Cyr at

At NEC this fall:

Much Ado About Nothing
William Shakespeare

Open Door Theatre
Mainstage Theatre, Science Building, September 13-14, 7:30pm and September 15, 3:00pm

Crimes of the Heart
Beth Henley

NEC Theatre, Mainstage Theatre, Science Building
November 14-16, 7:30pm and November 17, 3:00pm