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 Fall2019 Spring2019 Summer
OF 0003.74 The Wisdom of Daoism

The Chinese worldview is often likened to a three-legged stool — one leg Confucianism, the second Buddhism, and the third Daoism. First expressed by the reclusive 4th century B.C.E. philosopher Laozi in his immortal work the Daodejing, Daoism offers bracing poetic aphorisms on the perennial question: How can we cultivate harmony in the community, in the cosmos, and within? We’ll study the Daodejing and the writings of the other essential Daoist philosopher Zhuangzi, with a special emphasis on the application of Daoist wisdom in our everyday lives. Experience a richly rewarding intellectual investigation and a heart-centered community-building experience as we gather around challenging and rewarding insights.

Note: Both sections cover the same content.

Format: 70% Lecture, 30% Interactive discussion

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Instructors
Peter Bolland
OF 0003.75 From Cave Paintings to Roman Temples: The Art and Architecture of the Ancient World

Are you fascinated by the painted caves of France and Spain? Stonehenge? The Pyramids? The Parthenon? Would you like to understand their purpose and the spirituality behind them? Art historian Douglas Barker will lead you on a journey of exploration through Prehistoric, Ancient Egyptian, Ancient Near Eastern, Aegean, Greek, Etruscan and Roman art. This thorough historical education in ancient art and architecture is the perfect preparation for a trip to Europe or the inspiration to plan a trip.

Format: 90% Lecture, 10% Interactive discussion

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Instructors
Douglas H Barker
OF 0003.76 Shakespeare and History's Henry IV

Shakespeare and History’s Henry IV
In Henry IV, Shakespeare transforms the genre of the history play by integrating original characters into the historical narrative, particularly in the creation of Sir John Falstaff. Written late in Queen Elizabeth I’s reign, when questions of succession undercut the surface stability of the society, Henry IV addresses the uncertainty and strife resulting from his usurpation of the crown (depicted in Richard II). With the BBC’s Hollow Crown (2012) series as our starting point, we’ll look at the historical characters and events behind Henry IV, Part I and Part II, and discuss whether Part II was a planned sequel or the hasty response to a box-office hit.

Format: 40% Lecture, 40% Videos, 20% Interactive discussion

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Instructors
David Flietner
OF 0003.77 Reason and Revolution: 18th and Early 19th Century Art in Europe

Explore the romantic visions of the French court and aristocracy in the early 18th century, whose extravagant lifestyle would abruptly end with the French Revolution of 1789. Art was suddenly transformed, with images of virtue, liberty, and reform emerging in a neoclassical style; followed by a new wave of emotional expression called Romanticism. Both had their beginnings in rebellion, yet the style that corresponded best to this social awareness is Realism. Witness how these styles recorded the emergence of the modern era through the brilliance of artists from Boucher to Jacques Louis David, and Goya to Eakins.

Format: 70% Lecture, 20% Interactive discussion, 10% Hands-on activity

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Instructors
Damon Hitchcock
OF 0003.78 The Politics of Food: 50 Years of U.S. Food Policy on Your Plate

What we eat every day matters to many: food industry representatives, politicians, farmers, commodities traders, and local retailers, among many others. We’ll explore the myriad levels of influence at play in determining food policy in the United States, and seek to understand those policies in the global context. For example: What does global food security mean? How does what we produce and consume in the U.S. affect farmers in other countries? Additionally, we’ll determine if the current food system is unjust, and if so, what a just food system would look like. Making food purchases will never be the same.

Format: 60% Lecture, 25% Interactive discussion, 15% Film clips

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Instructors
James Murren
OF 0003.79 Ocean Planet

With the oceans covering more than 70 percent of our planet’s surface, get a holistic view of how the Earth and oceans work together. We’ll explore the fundamental physical, chemical, geological, and biological processes that govern the world’s oceans, and the role of science in environmental issues — from climate change to local pollution. Gain an understanding of plate tectonics, the geologic history of the ocean basins, the circulation patterns of the atmosphere and oceans, the behavior of waves/tides and their effects on coastlines, and the role of major marine life forms.

Format: 70% Lecture, 30% Interactive discussion

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OF 0003.80 Sounding Together: A History of the Symphony

Trace the history of the genre of Western art music known as the symphony. Hear how this early operatic prelude was expanded and developed by Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven to its present stature. We’ll explore the aesthetics, politics, and extra-musical arts that illustrate the cultural context in which these works were conceived. Learn how to identify stylistic distinctions among works from different periods, and the influence of composers from one generation or culture to another.

Format: 100% Lecture (with guided listening)

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Instructors
Maya L Ginsberg
OF 0003.81 How to Have Constructive Conversations about Race

Most people claim to want a society that offers everyone a chance to live a life of meaning and sufficient means. Yet ever since the words “Black Lives Matter” burst into our consciousness, many have discovered just how fragile life feels to people of color. And many people of color despair that constructive change is not forthcoming. This course will provide a safe space to discuss how and why we might want to ally ourselves with people seeking to make change, and how we can talk with friends and relatives who are feeling uncertain and even fearful. We’ll delve into important background material, voice our concerns, and role-play the kinds of responses we might wish we had on the tip of our tongue when confronted with situations that make us feel unsure how to proceed. This is also your opportunity to draft a six-week version of this class for the future. Light refreshments will be provided.

Format: 20% Lecture, 30% Interactive discussion, 50% Hands-on activity/Video/Shared readings

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Instructors
Arlene Pincus
OF 0003.82 The American Century: US History from Industrialization to the War on Terror

Ever wonder why the 20th century is often called the American Century? We’ll explore and discuss the key issues, events, and ideas that explain the growth and power of the United States. We will examine everything from the rise of modern industrial America and the emergence of the U.S. as a world power to the social, cultural, and political movements and events that helped define the U.S. during this remarkable century.

Format: 75% Lecture, 25% Interactive discussion

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Instructors
John Putman
OF 0003.84 History and Culture from the 1960s to Today, through the Lens of Star Trek

Space, the final frontier, these are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise …” Ever wonder why so many people know these words or why Star Trek is such a cultural phenomenon? This course is a must for Trekkies and non-Trekkies alike as we celebrate the sixth series in the Star Trek franchise. We’ll explore the relationship between the five TV series and the larger historical context in which they took place. Topics and episodes include the Cold War, race relations in the ‘60s, religion in the ‘80s–‘90s, terrorism, and AIDS.

Format: 50% Lecture, 20% Interactive discussion, 30% Watch Star Trek episodes

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Instructors
John Putman
OF 0003.85 The Arts of Asia: India

Are you intrigued by the religions and arts of India? India is the source of four religions, including Buddhism, one of the primary subjects of art in China, Tibet, Southeast Asia, Korea, and Japan. Come learn about Buddhist and Hindu temples and the symbolic meanings of their architecture, cave temples, Hindu paintings, the Taj Mahal, Islamic and Rajput fortresses, folk arts and crafts, and much more. You may even be inspired to visit India.

Format: 90% Lecture, 10% Interactive discussion

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Instructors
Douglas H Barker
OF 0003.86 Charles Darwin and the Theory of Evolution

Other than Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin is arguably the most important figure in the history of science. Get a clear and concise explanation of Darwinian evolution — the bedrock of modern biology — and why his theory of natural selection continues to have such a controversial impact upon education and society. Relevant and challenging issues include why Darwin’s theory is associated with the “The Death of God” concept, and how Darwin could have determined that all life is evolving, without knowing about the science of genetics. Bruno Leone is the author of Origin: The Story of Charles Darwin (2009).

Format: 90% Lecture, 10% Interactive discussion

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Instructors
Bruno Leone
OF 0003.87 Marine Mammals of California

Learn how to identify the seals, sea lions, whales, and dolphins that occupy our coastline. Explore the biology of these fascinating mammals of the sea including their origin and evolution, anatomy (especially feeding and locomotion), life history (mating and reproduction), ecology and conservation. Also learn about the challenges of human interactions. The first four sessions will be lectures at the College of Extended Studies, and the fifth session will be in a lab at SDSU where you can examine the skulls of California marine mammal species. The final class will be a field trip to the San Diego Museum of Natural History to observe fossils and modern marine mammals.

Format: 60% Lecture, 20% Interactive discussion, 20% Hands-on activity

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Instructors
Annalisa Berta
OF 0003.88 Late 19th Century Art: The Birth of Modernism

Revolutionary change characterized the fine arts of the late 1800s. As technological advances swept the industrial world, painters began to reconsider the Western tradition of Naturalism in art. Learn about vanguard artists who revealed a new creative spirit with Realism, Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, and Symbolism. Divorcing themselves from conformity were artistic rebels such as Edouard Manet, Vincent Van Gogh, Edvard Munch and the era’s most influential sculptor, Rodin. Studying how industrialization brought urbanization and the birth of the skyscraper we will further enrich our understanding of the visual arts.

Format: 70% Lecture, 20% Interactive discussion, 10% Hands-on activity

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Instructors
Damon Hitchcock
OF 0003.89 The Great Religions of the World

What are the great religions of our world? How have they shaped society, culture, and human living? Why are human beings religious? Learn the origin of five of the world’s oldest, most influential, and widespread religions in human history. Together we’ll examine the basic teachings of Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Learn the similarities and differences, and the impact of each religion.

Format: 70% Lecture, 30% Interactive discussion

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Instructors
Matthew Wion
OF 0003.90 Pre-Columbian Civilizations That Shaped Latin America

Understanding the Americas today first requires understanding Latin America´s pre-Columbian civilizations. We’ll discuss gods, kings and everyday people from the aboriginal American Indian cultures that evolved in Mesoamerica (part of Mexico and Central America), to the Andean region and Amazonia. In a trip through time, we’ll visit Aztecs, Olmecs, Mayans, and up to 12 ancient cultures that existed before Columbus came to America in 1492. Learn why Argentinians are completely different from Brazilians, Peruvians, and Mexicans, and how these differences impact the U.S. Note: The first session of this course will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 13, with the remaining sessions held on Mondays starting Nov. 19.

Format: 70% Lecture, 30% Interactive discussion

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OF 0003.91 What's Up DOC(ket)?

By delving into some of the hottest controversies on the Supreme Court’s docket this year, gain a sophisticated sense of the Court’s role in our governmental system and the kinds of cases it typically takes on. Observe the play-by-play of arguments on appeal, deconstruct the actual briefs filed, and get a sample of the questioning at oral argument. See firsthand how lower courts, advocate lawyers, and amici (“friends of the court”) shape the Court’s perception of social/economic/political issues as they become “legal” issues.

Format: 70% Lecture, 30% Interactive discussion

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Instructors
Glenn C Smith