SAGE CLASS DESCRIPTIONS

WINTER 2020
Monday, January 6 - Thursday, March 12

Tuesday 1:15-3:15 p.m.

Ancient Egypt, From the Beginnings to Roman

Times, Part 1

When Athens and Rome were hill villages and Europe was just emerging from the Bronze Age, Egypt was a unified country already ancient, thriving under the shadows of its pyramids and secure under its divine pharaohs and the beneficent gods of the Nile.  This class will explore the early history of this great kingdom.  A succeeding class will carry the story to its end.  Some of the topics will be:  first class:  Pre-dynastic Egypt, Early Dynastic, Old Kingdom, First Intermediate Period, Middle Kingdom, Egyptian Religion, Temples (religious and non-religious functions), Upper and Lower Egypt, Cycles of the Nile, Agriculture, Unchanging Egypt, Pharaohs, Pyramids, Mummification, Everyday Life.  Second class: Second Intermediate Period, New Kingdom, Third Intermediate Period, Late Period, Persian Period, Hellenistic Period, Alexandria, Ptolemies, Roman Egypt, Pharaohs and Mesopotamia, Pharaohs and Africa, Pharaohs and Greece.

Utopian Communities in the U.S.

In the 18th and 19th centuries the U.S. was a social laboratory where many small groups of like-minded people separated themselves from what they saw as a hopelessly corrupt society and created wholly new communities where everything would be perfect.  People like the Shakers, Rappists, Zoar Separatists, North American Phalanx, Oneida Community, Society of True Inspiration; and places like Euphrates Cloister, Old Salem, New Harmony, Brook Farm, Fruitlands, Bethel German Colony, Old Aurora, Fairhope and Icaria are some of these fascinating communities

Tuesday 9:30 - 11:30 a.m.

Hot Topics

This is an open-ended class. Presentations can utilize any qualified source (newspapers, magazines, radio, television, books, etc.) covering the recent political or social scene and historical events with current relevancy. Issues can be local, national or international. Controversial topics are welcome as they engender discussion. Join us if you enjoy lively, stimulating discussions.

Presidential Scandals

Presidential scandals have always been newsworthy.  What were the scandals, how was the President involved, and what was the fallout?  Possible examples are Teapot Dome, Iran-Contra, Cleveland and his illegitimate child, Jefferson and Sally Hemmings, and there are many others.

Tuesday 1:15 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.

Art and Architecture of Renaissance Venice

The Renaissance came a bit later to Venice than to the rest of Italy. Uniquely situated, both geographically and historically, Venice retained the Byzantine heritage brought by its position as a major trade center, but its art incorporated such Florentine innovations as perspective and the use of oil paint to develop a distinctly Venetian style. We’ll look at the architecture of Venice, such early Renaissance painters as Mantegna and the Bellinis and the culmination of Venetian art in Titian, Tintoretto, and Veronese.  The beauty of Venice has long been a magnet for artists; and you might choose to look at its depictions in the art of Canaletto, Turner, John Sargent Singer or the French Impressionists.

Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power

This class will read and discuss Jon Meacham’s 2012 biography of Thomas Jefferson, named on both the New York Timesand the Washington Post‘s list of the best books of the year. Members will select chapters and lead the class in a discussion of those chapters. The book describes how Jefferson’s early life led to his being assigned to write the first draft of the Declaration of Independence, and how his political beliefs were opposed to those of Hamilton and Adams who sought a stronger central government.  The final part of the book describes Jefferson’s life after his presidency and his reconciliation with Adams.  Meacham also describes Jefferson’s intellectual and personal life, including his marriage and his relations with Sally Hemmings after the death of his wife.  He also attempts to reconcile Jefferson’s authorship of the phrase “all men are created equal” in the Declaration of Independence with his support of slavery. On April 12, 2018, a new paperback version of the book was available for $14.44 at amazon.com. ISBN-13: 978-0812979480

Wednesday 9:30 a.m.- 11:30 a.m.

Enigmatic and Mysterious People

An individual who is enigmatic is obscure, unclear and not an easy nut to crack. These people are riddles wrapped in mysteries inside enigmas. Think of person portrayed in “Catch Me if You Can” or stories such as those about persons or families like Kaspar Hauser, Rasputin, the Mad Monk, Jack The Ripper, The Man from Taured, The Green children of Woolpit, Shanti Devi, Rothschild Family, Karl Frantisek Koecher, Dan Cooper, Sidney Gottlieb, Gil Pérez, Adam Rainer, Wolf Messing, Arnold Paole, The Poe Toaster, Eustache Dauger, Fulcanelli, Lawrence E. King Jr, Raymond Lee Harvey, Walter Haut, Alexander Solonik, Sergei Tretyakov, Satoshi Nakamoto, Zodiac Killer, Joshua Norton, Carl Tanzler,

Top Ten Russian Composers

These composers are some of Russia’s greatest. Wouldn’t you like to know more about them and their music? Do you wonder about the influences in their lives that in turn influenced their music? In this class we will learn about one composer each week and listen to some of the music for each composer.  Here are the ten composers:
Glinka, Borodin, Mussorgsky, Tchaikovsky, Rimsky Korsakov, Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Scriabin These are the greats. Choose one and tell us the background information – the life and times — and present some of their wonderful music to the class, and let’s discuss what makes it so appealing. You don’t have to be a musician to enjoy this class, just a willingness to explore the music.

Wednesday 1:15 - 3:15 p.m.

20th Century French Novels

We will read two novels that represent concerns of the 20th century. First, Andre Gide’s The Counterfeiters, ISBN: B007SGM0KW, a complex novel that considers perception vs. reality.  Then we will read Albert Camus’ short novel The Stranger, in the new translation by Patricia Marquez, ISBN-13: 978-1978188280 which considers man faced with absurdity, Camus’ view of modern man’s dilemma.

Wednesday 12:00 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.

Science Fiction Movies

Science Fiction Films date back to early movies, and with the introduction of technology and continued scientific research have evolved to very sophisticated depictions of space travel and life in outer space.   Class participants would select a film to show in class, provide information on how the film was made, focusing specifically on the scientific background/consultation provided to filmmakers.  SAGE members would investigate the potential “truth” of the film given the time it was made and discuss if the events in the movie could actually happen.  Comparisons with early films could be included in the presentation.  Some examples are Invasion of the Body Snatchers – 1956, Star Wars – 1977, ET The Extra-Terrestrial – 1982, The Martian – 2015, Aliens!!
Did you know that a woman invented the waterproof disposable diaper, liquid paper, Scotch Guard, the first effective car windshield wiper blade and coffee filters? Pick an inventor and tell her story.
Thursday 9:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Women and Their Inventions

Did you know that a woman invented the waterproof disposable diaper, liquid paper, Scotch Guard, the first effective car windshield wiper blade and coffee filters? Pick an inventor and tell her story.

For The Presidents Eyes Only, by Christopher Andrew

The strengths and weaknesses of US intelligence stem from the qualities of the White House incumbent.  Members will select chapters and lead the class in a discussion of those chapters. Beginning with a very clever George Washington, each subsequent President engaged in different approaches to the “intelligence” that both government and non-government sources brought to the White House.  Washington took personal responsibility for foreign intelligence and in his first State of the Union Address to Congress he requested (and received) funds for Secret Service in the amount of $40,000. In Andrew’s research, he found only four presidents who had a real “flair” for intelligence!  What did the others do?   What does the 21st century hold?  Andrew claims that the future enormously expensive global intelligence system will be both fallible and indispensable.  The 13-chapter book discusses 13 Presidents and our class will have each class member select a President to report on.

Thursday 1:15 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.

Treasures of the Smithsonian

There are 19 wonderfully inviting galleries at the Smithsonian Museum in the Washington D.C. area as well as two in New York and one in Virginia. We will investigate everything from the origins of man to the future of space travel. Explore lesser-known venues such as the Postal Museum, Portrait Museum, and Museums of African, Asian and Native American Art. Our lively discussions may include books, photos and videos, as well as shared experiences that SAGE members may have had in their visits or studies of the 150 million objects of art and artifacts in these national treasures

American Novelists

The 20th century produced a vast array of important novelists.  Several received either Nobel or Pulitzer Awards.  Many of their books were successfully converted to memorable motion pictures and/or plays.  Also, to a large degree, the writers led unique lives.  The emphasis of this program would be more on the personal and public characteristics of these gifted people rather than on their works. We are submitting 22 names of novelists whose remarkable biographies would enhance the vitality of each class session