Acadia Senior College

Course offerings

Winter 2019 online course registration opens November 1st at 10:00 a.m.. 

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A Brief History of the Dismal Science: The Economists, Their Ideas and Their Political Impact

David Dawson

Site: Church of Our Father, 91 Route 3, Hulls Cove.
This course will explore selected elements of "Political Economy", that is economic theories and their application to the problems of managing a state or a country. The course will trace developments from the 17th to the 20th centuries largely, but not exclusively, in Great Britain and the United States. We will examine economic thought that has resonance today, such as the roles of "free markets" and "government intervention" in the economy; with attention to the emergence and impact of the neoliberal school and the influence of the Mont Pelerin Society. We will explore the ideas of some of the legends of the game, such as Adam Smith, Karl Marx, John Maynard Keynes, Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman; and others such as John Law, William Petty, Leon Walras, Kenneth Arrow, Gerard Debreu and Robert Lucas who are less well known. We will consider developments in economic thinking in the context of major global events such as the two world wars and the Great Depression. Capitalist and collectivist ideas will be compared and we will determine if, in the political application of economic theory, we can distinguish science from ideology.
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A New Look at the Landscape Paintings of Paul Cézanne

Mollie McNickle (Wheeler)

Site: Harbor House, 329 Main Street, Southwest Harbor.
Despite being the subject of numerous recent blockbuster exhibitions and over a century of publications, Paul Cézanne’s work is generally conceded to remain “elusive” and “difficult.” In this course we will use his paintings as our primary sources, considering them in light of the conventions and anti-conventions against which Cézanne formulated his aesthetic. Our goal is to estimate how the artist arrived at his idiosyncratic style as well as to suggest how we, his modern-day viewers, can most successfully approach his work. We will consider the cultural and art historical contexts to which Cézanne responded; his early explorations of an original mode of composition; the range of solutions he worked out in his mature paintings; and his challenging style, including its interpretation by such admirers as Picasso and Matisse.
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An Introduction to Chinese Social History through Fiction

Hugh Clark

Site: Northeast Harbor Library, Mellon Room, 1 Joy Road, Northeast Harbor.
China has a rich trove of fiction that provides a window on the country’s social history. We will read a selection of texts including a collection of folk stories and two novels that explore everything from popular ideas about justice, the spirit world, and death to gender roles and the stresses of modernization. As Hugh discovered this past winter in his ASC course on the Daode jing, it is impossible to predict exactly what themes will arise in the course of discussion, and he looks forward to a similarly free-floating participant-directed discussion in this course as well.
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Capitalism and Democracy: Have They Come to a Parting of the Ways?

John Buell

Site: St. John Episcopal Church, Undercroft, 315 Main Street, Southwest Harbor.
Supporters and advocates of contemporary U. S. capitalism maintain that our market system constitutes a secure bulwark against state tyranny. This classic view, expressed in The Federalist Papers, Toqueville’s Democracy in America, Lincoln’s defense of free labor, and Milton Friedman’s Capitalism and Freedom may describe a political economy that no longer exists. Has classic capitalism morphed into a substantially different form - so-called neoliberal capitalism – characterized by state involvement, economic inequality, declining legitimacy and shrinking citizen participation? Is socialism the only route to restoring the promise of American democracy? Is pluralistic capitalism possible or desirable?
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Civil Rights—Then and Now

Nathaniel Fenton

Site: Northeast Harbor Library, Mellon Room, 1 Joy Road, Northeast Harbor.
This course will be a review of civil rights in the 20th century, comparing and contrasting those struggles with our civil rights battles of today. We will travel from Farmville to Ferguson, march with SNCC and then with BLM and M4OL, chant “I Am a Man” to “Vote Them Out,” marvel at the children facing the dogs and firehoses of Birmingham and the poise and courage of the children of Parkland, feel the despair of the Japanese internment of World War Two and the Muslim ban of today, and feel the shame of the segregation of our armed forces and the mass incarceration of today.
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First Decade of Sound: Hollywood in the Thirties

Steve Powell

Site: Birch Bay Village Inn Library, Village Inn Road, off Crooked Road, Hulls Cove.
The decade of the ‘Thirties saw the swift blossoming of the art and technology of motion pictures with sound. Through the work of several of the most talented and innovative directors of their time (including Josef von Sternberg, Michael Curtiz, George Stevens, Frank Capra, and Howard Hawks) we’ll survey talking pictures during their first ten years. For at least one of our weekly movies, the class will be able to choose among several candidates. Most films will be shown in newly restored, high-definition editions. A “further reading and viewing” list will be provided.
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Geology of MDI

Duane Braun

Site: St. John Episcopal Church, Undercroft, 315 Main Street, Southwest Harbor.

Note: This course will be taught by Ruth Braun and Duane Braun.
The geology of Mount Desert Island will be explored from the time when MDI was part of the Gander terrane attached to another continent, through the development of MDI as a large volcano, to the age when glaciers sculpted the present landscape. Each session will start with a lecture-question period from 9:30 to 10:30. Then from 10:30 to noon or so we will take a field trip to examine the earth material and landform evidence for the geologic evolution of MDI. The lectures may be attended without going on the field trips. For field trips, carpooling is encouraged. Each field trip will start with a roadside introduction, followed by various degrees of clambering over outcrops. Those with limited mobility will visit easily accessible parts of each site. Those who are more mobile will visit more difficult locations to examine geologic features.
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iPhone Photography and Image Editing

George Soules

Site: Southwest Harbor Public Library, Clark Room, 338 Main Street, Southwest Harbor.
This workshop will focus on four areas: 1) Getting the most out of your iPhone camera; 2) Basic and advanced photography skills; 3) Using iPhone apps for image editing; 4) Critiquing images as a way to improve your photography. Presentations will be tailored to the student’s interests in photography. Classes will include hands-on learning using your phone’s camera and apps. No experience is necessary to take this course, but an iPhone 5s or newer model is highly recommended.
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James Joyce’s "Ulysses"

William Dohmen

Site: Wolf Conference Room, 2nd floor of Lisa Stewart Women’s Health Center, 330 Main Street, Bar Harbor.
Ranked by Modern Library as the greatest English-language novel of the twentieth century, "Ulysses" has enthralled, infuriated, amused, and perplexed its readers. For those willing to risk such reactions, this class will examine why this high regard has persisted. While Stephen Dedalus indulges in deep thinking and deeper drinking, Leopold Bloom navigates the streets of 1904 Dublin, and their creator travels his own odyssey through exotic narrative styles into challenging terrains.
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Novels of Patrick O’Brian

Ward MacKenzie

Site: St. John Episcopal Church, Common Room, 315 Main Street, Southwest Harbor.
The Patrick O’Brian novels follow the career of Captain Aubrey of the British Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars. Aubrey is appointed to his first command in 1800 and forms a bond with Dr. Maturin who is both a naval surgeon and a British spy for the Crown. The series follows the pair as Aubrey rises from his first command to Admiral of the Fleet. The course will focus on two novels, Desolation Island and The Fortune of War. The novels are fictional but the naval battles depicted are historically accurate. The political issues, national alliances and the social context rest on thorough research, and they provide insight into the social, political, and military challenges during that time in history.
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Practical Estate Planning in MaineCancelled

Marsha Connors

Site: Camden National Bank, Route 102, Town Hill.
This course will provide information to help people understand and prepare for financial and estate planning in Maine. We’ll discuss the types of information to be gathered and reviewed, provisions of a valid will, powers of attorney, and trusts. We will explore incapacity planning, various types of trusts, and matters relating to income, estate, and gift tax for Mainers.

The Diversity and Nature of Viruses (CANCELLED)Cancelled

Phil Grimley

Viruses are a primary component of the natural world, and ancient virus genes are embedded in our DNA. Virus structures and functions were barely known before the 1930s, and many essential discoveries in the biological sciences since then are the foundation of virus studies. In this class we will trace the history of virus discovery and explain how they infect cells and sometimes cause human, animal, or plant diseases. We will discuss critical problems and current progress in vaccine development and public health, especially as they relate to genetics and the genomic revolution.

The Trial of Jesus of Nazareth

David Einhorn

Site: Birch Bay Village Inn Library, Village Inn Road, Crooked Road, Hulls Cove.

Note: This course will be taught by David Einhorn and Michael Blythe.
The trial of Jesus of Nazareth is undoubtedly the most momentous in Western history, but it is vaguely understood legally, theologically, and historically. The trial as described in the Christian Gospels has been the foundational basis of Christianity, but that description has had terrible consequences for the Jewish people, held guilty for over two thousand years for the murder of the Son of God. The course will critically challenge the various accounts of the Gospels in the context of Jewish biblical law, early Christianity, and Roman law and practices, and will try to reconstruct the events as they may have happened.
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Topics in American Constitutional History

Richard S. Cohen

Site: Southwest Harbor Public Library, Clark Room, 338 Main Street, Southwest Harbor.
This is a short course on a large subject. It will focus on a few highlights and, I hope, encourage wider interest. We will try to define and evaluate the role of the Supreme Court in American government and in American history; we will briefly compare our experience with the constitutions of other countries, and we will examine some of the Supreme Court's Greatest Hits. We will try to avoid debates on current constitutional issues, but will probably be unsuccessful in that effort.
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Travel Tales and Dreams

Abigail Conrad

Site: Northeast Harbor Library, Mellon Room, 1 Joy Road, Northeast Harbor.
Do you have the “travel bug”? Been somewhere fabulous that you want to share with others? Have an exploring destination on your bucket list? Come share your travel experiences and wish lists with others as we appreciate the diversity and uniqueness of peoples and places near and far.
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Us and Them: The Light and Shadow of Our Tribal Loyalties

William Bigelow

Site: Maine Coast Heritage Trust, 1034 State Highway 102, Somesville.
Each of us is a member of many groups, for example family, race, class, nation, religion, political party, or military service. These groups offer us a sense of belonging, identity, and security, and they enable us to remain unconscious of or justify our indifference, injustice, or cruelty toward those who are “not us.” We will explore tribalism and examples of those whose loyalty is to something beyond their own tribe or nation.
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