NIU Lifelong Learning Institute Events

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Age is not a barrier for learning and NIU provides some unique and interesting topics. The Northern Illinois University Lifelong Learning Institute (LLI) is a member-directed group of retirement-age people who seek new learning experiences. Members, regardless of their education, enjoy continuing to learn in an informal, flexible, and non-competitive environment with individual participation. They rekindle old interests and pursue new ones at a reasonable cost without being concerned with credits, grades, exams, or prerequisites.

Members determine the topics offered in study groups, workshops, and lectures and often serve as LLI conveners, instructors, and discussion leaders. In some instances, non-members with particular expertise may also serve as volunteer conveners.

A self-supporting institute, the LLI relies on members’ dues for its financial needs and on member volunteers for all committees and program administration. Please see the bottom for cost and additional details. Watch for September 10 deadline)

Tuesday Study Groups

The Psychedelic Renaissance

Tuesdays – Sept. 17, 24, Oct. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, Nov. 5
9-11 a.m.

Clinical research in psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy shows promise for PTSD, death anxiety, depression, alcoholism, and other addictions – including nicotine addiction. Psychedelics’ religious use (called entheogens) is spreading under the freedom of religion law. Nuggets of interest to the humanities are turning up too — from classical Greece to philosophy of mind, from Martin Luther’s A Mighty Fortress is Our God to Disney’s Snow White.

Psychedelics are international and interdisciplinary. We’ll explore topics from drug tourism in the Amazon to reindeer eating psychoactive mushrooms, from new ways to interpret literature and history to increasing our brains’ connectome (which parts talk to each other). Where are these exploratory leads from MDMA, LSD, MDA, ayahuasca, peyote, ketamine, (even morning glory seeds,) and newer discoveries (not including cannabis) taking us?

Convener: Tom Roberts is editor or author of scholarly psychedelic books on medicine, religion, intellectual development, and psychedelic policy. He taught the world’s first psychedelic course at an accredited university, an Honors Program seminar at NIU. Tom is a retired NIU professor.

Gettysburg and Beyond

Tuesdays – Oct. 15, 22, 29 and Nov. 5
9-11 a.m.

(Note: This four-week class begins in week five.)

The course content will begin in early 1863 and examine the reasons for Lee to invade the North for the second time in less than a year. We will discuss the structure of command for both armies and the political implications. We will follow both armies until the battle of Gettysburg. We will then analyze the largest battle in the Civil War in terms of casualties. After the battle, what were the reactions in both the North and the South and their implications for the outcome of the war? We will thoroughly examine President Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address, which came later in 1863.

Convener: After retiring from teaching, Richard Wiseman has lectured on the Civil War for the last seven years in Arizona and at NIU.

A Savage War of Peace

Tuesdays – Sept. 17, 24, Oct. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, Nov. 5
1:30-3:30 p.m.

The course content will begin in early 1863 and examine the reasons for Lee to invade the North for the second time in less than a year. We will discuss the structure of command for both armies and the political implications. We will follow both armies until the battle of Gettysburg. We will then analyze the largest battle in the Civil War in terms of casualties. After the battle, what were the reactions in both the North and the South and their implications for the outcome of the war? We will thoroughly examine President Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address, which came later in 1863.

Convener: Richard Dowen has been convening LLI courses on a variety of topics, mainly history, since 2008.

Re-enchantment with Wide Open Eyes: A Reintroduction to Fairy Tales

Tuesdays – Oct. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, Nov. 5
1:30-3:30 p.m.

(Note: This six-week class begins in week three.)

Some of the strange tales we grew up with brought our imagination to life and taught us ways to deal with whatever elves and ogres we met on the playground or in the forests of our own dreams.

Once, long ago, such stories helped us make sense of our own inner turmoil and forces beyond our control. They feature danger and risk and reward and often show that with courage and cunning, the small and weak may triumph when others fail.

Fairy tales still have secrets to reveal about our deepest fears and our repressed aspirations and appetites. These age-old narratives may or may not introduce us to fairies, objects that speak, witches and goblins, and other wonders. What’s nearly certain, though, is that they celebrate some transformation that alters someone’s fate ever after.

Throughout our six sessions, we will revisit a number of fairy tales — some quite familiar, others not as well known. We’ll explore the cultural and psychological import of stories that may be older than anyone knows.

Convener: Joe Gastiger has convened many LLI study groups on a wide variety of topics, from religion to literature

Cost and Registration

Registration includes unlimited classes for Study Groups and the LLI Notables Brown Bag Series.
Early-bird – $85
After Sept. 10 – $95
View the fall 2019 Study Group schedule.

Please check the website at www.LLI.niu.edu. There’s more info there!

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