Take the classes you always wanted to take, without assignments, tests or grades. Our instructors are SDSU faculty and other recognized experts in their fields. Each semester offers a new set of courses and activities, on a wide array of topics.

Courses

2018 Spring2018 Summer2018 Fall
OF 0003.43 Spanish Colonialism in San Diego and the Native American Reaction: Power, Persistence, and Patrimony

With the 250th anniversary of San Diego rapidly approaching, what do you really know about the Spaniards who settled in this region beginning in 1769? How should we view the Catholic mission and the presidio that brought “civilization” and “religion” to San Diego’s native people? Was the destruction of Mission San Diego in 1775 and the murder of the mission priest a patriotic rebellion or native terrorism? Gain a deeper understanding of the religious leaders, political authorities, and military officers of both the Spaniards and the Kumeyaay people. Through a series of PowerPoints and hands-on interaction with artifacts, come to see the two cultures as competing nations with divergent views of land use, religion, and authority.

Format: 65% Lecture, 15% Interactive discussion, 10% Hands-on activity, 10% Demonstration

Course Date(s)

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Instructors
Richard Carrico
2018 Spring
OF 0003.44 Native North American Art of the Southwest, Northwest Coast, and the Arctic

Are you fascinated by Native American cultures such as Pueblo Indians, the Navajo, the shamanic cultures of the Pacific Northwest, and the Inuit (Eskimo)? With art historian Douglas Barker as your guide, explore these highly artistic cultures and the art and architecture they produced. Acquire a deep knowledge and appreciation of the lifeways, spirituality, and art of some of the most artistic peoples of North America, and a vastly expanded awareness of the history of Native American art.

Format: 50% Lecture, 50% Interactive discussion


Course Date(s)
March 13 - April 10
OF 0003.45 Why It's the FIRST Amendment: Why Freedom of Speech and Religion Remain So Important and Controversial

Why do hate-mongering protesters have a constitutional right to disrupt military funerals? Why can public officials (including the president) and commentators incite violence? Why is “big money” allowed to dominate political campaign advocacy? Can business owners cite religious scruples for refusing to do business with same-sex couples? Explore these and many other free-speech and government-and-religion controversies to see why the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment is also first in importance. The initial session will cover the amendment’s historical background and essential features. Four additional classes will examine key controversies, and the final class will highlight major First Amendment cases now pending before the Supreme Court and lower courts.

Format: 60% Lecture, 40% Interactive discussion

Course Date(s)

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Instructors
Glenn C Smith
2018 Spring
OF 0003.46 Art History: The Varied and Rich Expressions of 17th Century Baroque Art

The Protestant Reformation changed the face of Christianity in the 16th and 17th centuries when Martin Luther unleashed the German Reformation. Europe was split into two religious camps, and each used art as a powerful tool to persuade individuals to restore their faith. The Catholic Church used Baroque art and architecture to exult its holy position to a largely illiterate faithful, while the Counter Reformation developed a passionate theatricality to express its spirit. We’ll explore this age of genius — Bernini, Caravaggio, Rubens, Rembrandt, Vermeer and others — and the women artists such as Artemisia Gentileschi and Judith Leyster who contributed to the bold new graphic realism.

Format: 85% Lecture, 15% Interactive discussion

Course Date(s)
April 6 - May 18
OF 0003.47 Singer/Songwriter Revolution, Chapter Two

Something profound occurred in the world of popular music when many songwriters began recording their own compositions rather than selling them to established performers. The result was a more revealing and emotionally authentic style. Re-experience some of the most influential music of our era from many of the well-known artists of the 1960s and ’70s including Nobel Laureate Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Carole King, Joni Mitchell, and Leonard Cohen. Also discover lesser-known performers such as Nick Drake and Paul Siebel. The instructor has been writing songs for 50+ years and will share some of his experiences and songs. Students are invited to share their experiences as well.

Format: 30% Lecture, 30% Interactive discussion, 30% Hands-on activity (Listening to recordings), 10% Demonstration (performances by the instructor)

Course Date(s)

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Instructors
Jim Hinton
OF 0003.48 The Historical Jesus

What do historians say about Jesus of Nazareth? How accurate are the gospels to his life? How should we read them? What are the historical tools for reconstructing the Jesus of history? What does any of this mean for Christian faith? Learn the Historical-Critical Method for understanding the ancient texts in the Bible; study the competing reconstructions of Jesus as a historical figure; and see how those within the Christian tradition are using what they learn from historical study.

Format: 70% Lecture, 30% Interactive discussion

Course Date(s)

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Instructors
Matthew Wion
OF 0003.49 There’s No Business Like Show Business: The History of the American Musical

Explore the stories, music, and larger-than-life personalities of American musical theater as we trace its history from the 1960s to the present. The figures associated with the genre — composers, lyricists, and performers — tell the story of America itself: from the counter-culture of the ’60s to the issues faced in the latter half of the century and the beginning of a new millennium.

Format: 100% Lecture


Course Date(s)

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Instructors
Maya L Ginsberg
2018 Spring
OF 0003.50 Political Philosophy: The Search for a Just World

What is a civil society? What does it mean to be a citizen? How should we govern ourselves? What is the appropriate role of government in our lives? What obligations do we owe each other? In particular, what obligations do we, as a civil society, owe the marginalized, the poor, and the suffering among us? To find answers, we will discuss and critique the major political theories of the last few centuries: socialism, liberalism, libertarianism, and progressivism.

Format: 70% Lecture, 30% Interactive discussion

Course Date(s)
February 23 - March 23
$45
Instructors
Matthew Wion
2018 Spring
OF 0003.51 Cuban History through Mystery Novels: Havana Fever

Want to learn more about Cuba but don’t want to read voluminous books on its history, music, and literature? Learn all about Cuba while being entertained by an intriguing and compelling story. The novel Havana Fever (La Neblina del Ayer) by Leonardo Padura describes two significant periods in Cuban history: the 1950s music scene and the 1990s Special Period. We will discuss the contrasting history of these two periods and learn about Cuba today while enjoying Padura’s creative writing. We’ll also explore works of Cuban literature and music through the centuries. Reading the book is not a requirement but it will enhance the learning.

Format: 50% Lecture, 50% Interactive discussion


Course Date(s)
April 5 - April 19
2018 Spring
OF 0003.52 Drugs and the Brain: The Science of Addiction

Ever wondered what makes a particular drug addictive? How does the effect of cocaine differ from that of methamphetamine on the brain? Why do people get high or want to abuse their pain medications? Learn about the brain pathways involved in reward, and how the major classes of abused drugs hijack them to cause addiction. Get an introduction to some of the exciting new research in this field, as well as current treatment modalities for addiction.

Format: 60% Lecture, 20% Interactive discussion, 20% Demonstration

Course Date(s)
March 5 - March 12
2018 Spring
OF 0003.53 How Animals and Humans Make Sense of Things

Using current embodied cognitive science, we’ll look at the similarities between the neurological systems of animals and humans — what they remember that we don't, and how they can teach and take care of us. Be amazed at how animal pre-rational learning processes contribute to our human art, ethics, science, politics, and religion; and learn how to make new animal friends. Instructor Jesse James Thomas is the author of Embodiment, How Animals and Humans Make Sense of Things: The Dawn of Art, Ethics, Science, Politics, and Religion.

Format: 50% Lecture, 50% Interactive discussion


Course Date(s)
March 6 - March 27
2018 Spring
OF 0003.54 Become a National Park Insider

Did you know there are more than 400 parks in the National Park Service? Ever wonder how a place becomes a park, what it takes to manage one, or why there are so many different types? Take a behind-the-scenes look at the national parks as we reveal the laws, regulations, policies, and practices of managing these special places of American nature and history. Explore both famous and lesser-known parks and prepare yourself for your next park visit with a better understanding of fees, costs, lodging and camping opportunities, reservation systems, and best times to visit.

Format: 50% Lecture, 50% Interactive discussion


Course Date(s)
March 7 - March 14
OF 0003.55 Cultural Diversity: What Does It Really Mean?

Learn the cultural, ethnic, and religious differences that comprise "American" culture as we explore current societal challenges created by complex interactions in San Diego’s increasingly diverse population. We’ll look at relevant scientific information and discuss opportunities to apply new knowledge and concepts at home, work, and in the community. Also gain an understanding of global, national, and regional cultural diversity and gender issues.

Format: 40% Lecture, 20% Interactive discussion, 20% Hands-on activity, 20% Demonstration


Course Date(s)

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OF 0003.56 North American Indian Art of the Eastern Woodlands, the Plains, and California

Are you intrigued by the mystique of the Indians of North America, their varied lifeways and their art? Do you identify with their earth-based shamanic religions and wonder how their art and architecture reflect those beliefs? Art historian Douglas Barker will describe the spirituality, cultural patterns, and art forms of these unique peoples, including those of Southern California. Gain a new appreciation of a unique area of art history and Native American cultures, and get numerous suggestions for travel.

Format: 50% Lecture, 50% Interactive discussion


Course Date(s)

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Instructors
Douglas H Barker
OF 0003.57 Art History: An Era of Exceptional Achievement, the Art of Northern Europe, and the Italian Renaissance

A new interest in the natural world brought about an intellectual awakening that we call the Renaissance — one of the most distinctive periods of all time. Discover how a new emphasis on individual expression and worldly experience would identify artists as geniuses and celebrities. Explore the technical mastery of northern artists such as Van Eyck, Bosch, Dürer, and Holbein. Study how social status and intellectual prowess of the Italian artists gave rise to such masters as Donatello, Masaccio, Botticelli, and Brunelleschi. Develop a greater understanding of the motivations behind Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Raphael in this engaging, visually illustrated six-week course.

Format: 85% Lecture, 15% Interactive discussion

Course Date(s)

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Instructors
Damon Hitchcock
2018 Spring
OF 0003.58 Chamber Music: From the Renaissance to Today

Do you love music, especially the excitement and intimacy of music written for small groups and spaces? We'll explore a diverse range of intimate instrumental music, from early consorts, royal salons and baroque trio sonatas to the birth and evolution of the string quartet, all the way to the most innovative works of today. You’ll also learn the musical and historical context relevant to their creation and performance. Engage with well-known masterpieces alongside more obscure (but equally beautiful) pieces of music, through lecture and world-class performances, both recorded and live in the classroom and concert hall.

Format: 50% Lecture, 20% Interactive discussion, 25% Demonstration, 5% Live performance


Course Date(s)
March 26 - April 16
2018 Spring
OF 0003.59 California History in Living Memory: From the Great Depression to Today

How has the society we call California reinvented itself in three generations? How does your own experience relate to what we find in published histories? Explore economic, social and political developments with an emphasis on the experiences and memories of Californians, both ordinary and extraordinary. Topics will include the Great Depression, World War II era, the post-war boom, social movements of the 1960s and ’70s, immigration and multicultural perspectives, the development of Silicon Valley and new industries, and California's rise as a global economy. Discussing our recent history can help us make sense of today's political, environmental, and social challenges.

Format: 40% Lecture, 60% Interactive discussion

Course Date(s)
April 2 - April 23
2018 Spring
OF 0003.60 Influences on the Development of Early Christianity

Christianity did not develop in a vacuum but rather in a time of religious and philosophical diversity. Gain a deeper knowledge and appreciation of the forces that shaped how early believers adapted their message to appeal to various groups, and how these various religions and philosophies influenced the development of Rome's most successful religion.

Format: 90% Lecture, 10% Interactive discussion


Course Date(s)
March 26 - April 2
2018 Spring
OF 0003.61 A Primer for Retirement and Investment Basics: Outlook and Opportunities: Separate the Signals from the Noise

Learn how to distinguish true market signals from the noise we hear in the media and other sources. We will discuss the current economic outlook, market trends and opportunities, how rising interest rates affect investments, and how to prepare your portfolio for volatility. You will receive printed resources for future reference, and will leave with a greater understanding of how to make sound investment decisions.

Format: 70% Lecture, 30% Interactive discussion

Course Date(s)
March 28 - April 4
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Instructors
Robert D Schultz
2018 Spring
OF 0003.62 Anatomia Italiana: Connecting Art and Anatomy along the Italian Peninsula

Italy’s medieval universities, the first in the Western world, established the study of human anatomy for physicians. To heighten their art, Renaissance masters clandestinely examined anatomy through human dissection. The profound connection between art and science is best demonstrated by the genius of Michelangelo. The wooden crucifix he carved in gratitude for secret access to corpses from a convent’s hospital still hangs in the Basilica of Santo Spirito in Florence. This course will examine the nexus between art and science, and the history of anatomy education in the university — a story unique to the Italian peninsula.

Format: 70% Lecture, 30% Interactive discussion

This four-week course mirrors Dr. Petti's award-winning 12-night, 13-day Study Abroad course in Italy. Read the blog story.


Course Date(s)
April 5 - April 26
$45
Instructors
Kevin Petti
2018 Spring
OF 0003.63 Natural Disasters

Ever wondered what makes the earth quake? Or how hurricanes or tsunamis are formed? Or how an asteroid or comet could hit the Earth at any time? Explore the answers to these questions and more with a look at a wide range of natural events and disasters that happened or are happening all around the world. See how experimentation, prediction, and data analysis have led to an enhanced understanding of Earth hazards, and how the Earth has and will continue to impact our quality of life.

Format: 75% Lecture, 15% Interactive discussion, 10% Hands-on activity


Course Date(s)
April 6 - May 18
2018 Spring
OF 0003.64 Hollywood and the Holocaust: From Appeasement to Awards

Why didn't Hollywood films explicitly denounce Hitler's persecution of the Jews in the 1930s? How was the issue raised when the United States remained neutral from 1939 until 1941? Why did directors downplay the subject in their wartime films? How did the atrocity footage of the liberated concentration camps, the Nuremberg Trials, and the Cold War influence portrayals of the Jewish ordeal? Learn about the commercial, internal, political and social forces that inhibited Hollywood from criticizing Nazi Germany before the U.S. entered WWII. Watch the evolution of how the Holocaust was conceptualized before, during, and after the war through clips from key documentary and feature films.

Format: 50% Lecture, 25% Interactive discussion, 25% Demonstration (Film Clips)

Course Date(s)
May 2 - May 16
2018 Spring
OF 0003.65 Foreign Film Femme Series: 3-Week Bundle Deal

Ever wonder what percentage of film directors are female in the United States? How about in other countries? See how female access to the director's chair has changed over the decades as we explore the works of female directors from nearly every continent — from the well-established such as Agnès Varda and Mira Nair, to relative newcomers like Cherien Dabis and Niki Caro. You’ll be exposed to films you may have never seen because of limited play of most foreign films in the U.S. We’ll discuss how cultures are portrayed, how co-production might shape the story, and learn about country-specific reactions to the films we watch. Note: You may purchase each course separately or the entire series under the Foreign Film Femme Series Bundle Deal for a discounted price.

Format: 25% Lecture, 25% Interactive discussion, 50% Film screenings

Course Date(s)
April 26 - May 10
2018 Spring
OF 0003.66 Foreign Film Femmes Series: Week 1 - Asia

Ever wonder what percentage of film directors are female in the United States? How about in other countries? See how female access to the director's chair has changed over the decades as we explore the works of female directors from nearly every continent — from the well-established such as Agnès Varda and Mira Nair, to relative newcomers like Cherien Dabis and Niki Caro. You’ll be exposed to films you may have never seen because of limited play of most foreign films in the U.S. We’ll discuss how cultures are portrayed, how co-production might shape the story, and learn about country-specific reactions to the films we watch. Note: You may purchase each course separately or the entire series under the Foreign Film Femme Series Bundle Deal for a discounted price.

Format: 25% Lecture, 25% Interactive discussion, 50% Film screenings

Course Date(s)
April 26 - April 26
2018 Spring
OF 0003.67 Foreign Film Femmes Series: Week 2 - Europe

Ever wonder what percentage of film directors are female in the United States? How about in other countries? See how female access to the director's chair has changed over the decades as we explore the works of female directors from nearly every continent — from the well-established such as Agnès Varda and Mira Nair, to relative newcomers like Cherien Dabis and Niki Caro. You’ll be exposed to films you may have never seen because of limited play of most foreign films in the U.S. We’ll discuss how cultures are portrayed, how co-production might shape the story, and learn about country-specific reactions to the films we watch. Note: You may purchase each course separately or the entire series under the Foreign Film Femme Series Bundle Deal for a discounted price.

Format: 25% Lecture, 25% Interactive discussion, 50% Film screenings

Course Date(s)
May 3 - May 3
2018 Spring
OF 0003.68 Foreign Film Femmes Series: Week 3 - The Middle East

Ever wonder what percentage of film directors are female in the United States? How about in other countries? See how female access to the director's chair has changed over the decades as we explore the works of female directors from nearly every continent — from the well-established such as Agnès Varda and Mira Nair, to relative newcomers like Cherien Dabis and Niki Caro. You’ll be exposed to films you may have never seen because of limited play of most foreign films in the U.S. We’ll discuss how cultures are portrayed, how co-production might shape the story, and learn about country-specific reactions to the films we watch. Note: You may purchase each course separately or the entire series under the Foreign Film Femme Series Bundle Deal for a discounted price.

Format: 25% Lecture, 25% Interactive discussion, 50% Film screenings

Course Date(s)
May 10 - May 10