Current Courses

Our goal is to enhance the intellectual, social, and cultural life of adults by providing challenging, diverse, and relevant courses on academic topics. Most of our classes are four to six weeks long and meet once a week for 1-1/2 or 2 hours. Our volunteer instructors are motivated by their desire to share their knowledge and facilitate thoughtful discussions on academic topics. 

 

We have two semesters: Fall and Winter/Spring. 

Check out the great courses below and click here for instructions on creating a DavidsonLearns account, joining DavidsonLearns, and registering for Winter/Spring courses.

Winter/Spring 2021 Current Courses

Below is detailed information on the courses that we are offering.  Once you have decided which courses you want to take, click on the “Register for Courses” button.  It will take you to the registration program.

Status: Registration opens Dec. 7

Beginning Genealogy

This course is an introduction to genealogical research and is suitable for those who have never tried genealogy or who have dabbled in it but have not made much progress. The emphasis will be on learning some enduring principles of genealogy and on getting guidance on applying these principles to your own project.

*This course requires a minimum of 6 to a maximum of 12 students.

Suggested Readings

A bibliography of suggested articles, texts, and videos will be emailed to registrants before the first class meeting.

Cost

$55

Time

1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Zoom Orientation 

Monday, Apr. 19 at 1:00 - 2:00 PM

Location

Online

As of now, all our Winter/Spring 2021 courses will be offered ONLINE only. Each course meets as a video conference on a Zoom platform. To ensure a pleasant experience with your Zoom course, we encourage you to download and install the free Zoom Application now. Click here for instructions.

Also, please note that each course has a Zoom Orientation session prior to the start of that course. We encourage you to attend this orientation, as it is not solely a “learn to use Zoom” session. It also serves as an opportunity for class members to introduce themselves and become acquainted with the course materials.

If you would like to take a course that is full, please add your name to the waitlist, and we will contact you if a seat becomes available. Please do not contact the instructor directly.

Day

Tuesday

Dates

Apr. 20, 27; May 4, 11, 18

Status: Registration opens Dec. 7

Connections and Conflicts in the Humanities: The Body, Part 2

This year-long course examines connections and conflicts in the humanities under the broad theme of the body. The lecture-based course runs parallel to Davidson College’s Humanities Program and is based primarily on approximately 20 public faculty lectures and on other college-sponsored public events. All course lectures and events this year will be fully online, mostly asynchronous and recorded. The DavidsonLearns course consists of both those events and 8 seminar-style class discussions led by Professor Scott Denham.  

The humanities course syllabus is dynamic, sometimes unpredictable, and requires students to watch the schedule to know what great lectures are happening and when they occur. Course readings (which are substantial) are normally provided free of charge online. See http://hum.davidson.edu/ for an overview of last semester’s course and descriptions of the four spring semester units.  All DavidsonLearns course participants share common email threads to keep in touch over the semester.

 

Participants who registered for the Fall course will have priority registering for the Winter/Spring course. It is not necessary to have taken Part 1 in order to enjoy Part 2.

*This course requires a minimum of 8 to a maximum of 20 students.

Suggested Readings

Readings are optional, though encouraged.  Most of the reading material is available through online sources (Dropbox, websites, the course pages, email).

Cost

$77

Time

3:00 PM - 4:30 PM

Zoom Orientation 

Tuesday, Jan. 26 at 3:00 - 4:00 PM

Location

Online

Day

Wednesday

Dates

Jan. 27; Feb. 10, 24; Mar. 10, 24; Apr. 7, 21; May 5

COVID-19: The Science Behind the Headlines

The first cases of COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, were reported to the World Health Organization in December 2019. By April 2020, over 2 million people had been infected and the global economy had virtually ground to a halt. In this course, we will examine the science behind this pandemic. We’ll look at the basic biology of the virus, its epidemiology, the development of antiviral drugs, and the search for a vaccine.

*This course requires a minimum of 5 to a maximum of 15 students.

Required Readings

Throughout the course, various readings will be assigned. All of them will be freely available on the Internet or provided to participants as a PDF.

Cost

$66

Time

2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

Zoom Orientation 

Wednesday, Feb. 3 at 2:00 - 3:00 PM

Location

Online

Day

Thursday

Dates

Feb. 4, 11, 18, 25; Mar. 4, 11

Status: Registration opens Dec. 7

Exploring the Second Part of “Don Quixote” by Miguel de Cervantes

“Don Quijote de la Mancha” has been labelled the first and greatest European novel because it combines the main protagonist’s wild adventures with its many characters’ growth and change.  It mixes stories of sanity and insanity with explorations of many types of love and many kinds of heroes.  The novel includes poetry, short pastoral novels, and chivalric tales of medieval knights.  It also deals with societal issues, class differences, religious conflicts, criminal justice, and individual men and women’s right to freedom.

 

It is not necessary to have read Part One of “Don Quijote” to enjoy this course!  The first part of “Don Quijote,” published in 1605, shows strong influences of the Renaissance, while the second part, published in 1615, emphasizes the Baroque period.  In this course we will highlight the societal conflicts of 17th century Spain, pointing out the different nature of later adventures and the cynical treatment of our hero by others.  While relishing the humorous aspects of Don Quijote’s misperceptions, we will enjoy Miguel de Cervantes’ psychological and philosophical insights into the human condition.

*This course requires a minimum of 6 to a maximum of 18 students.

Required Readings

Cervantes, Miguel. Don Quixote. Translated by Edith Grossman. HarperCollins, 2005. 

 

This book may also be available from other sources, but be sure you get this translation.

Cost

$66

Time

1:30 PM - 3:00 PM

Location

Online

Day

Monday

Status: Registration opens Dec. 7

Zoom Orientation 

Friday, Jan. 22 at 1:30 - 2:30 PM

Dates

Jan 25; Feb. 1, 8, 15, 22; Mar. 1

Inside the Pharmaceutical Industry

Together we will explore how the pharmaceutical industry develops, secures approval for marketing, and commercializes pharmaceutical products. We will also explore these additional topics: the FDA regulatory processes to ensure safety and efficacy, Pharma as big business, why drugs cost what they do, and the public’s and industry’s concerns about the future.

*This course requires a minimum of 5 to a maximum of 25 students.

Required Readings

Materials will be provided via Google Classroom and online via web-based open access.

Cost

$66

Time

6:30 PM - 8:30 PM

Location

Online

Day

Tuesday

Status: Registration opens Dec. 7

Zoom Orientation 

Monday, Jan. 25 at 6:30 - 7:30 PM

Dates

Jan. 26; Feb. 2, 9, 16, 23; Mar. 2

Mephisto and the Muse: Mental Illness and Art

Health professionals find it challenging to describe what mental illness is. It can be even more challenging to describe what artistic creativity is. However, scholars generally agree that some of history’s most brilliant and creative artists lived troubled lives. Kay Jamison, the author of our required reading, writes from professional and personal experience with profound mental illness, coupled with historical scholarship about prominent artist exemplars. Her review of mental illness and descriptions of some artists (e.g., Van Gogh, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Poe) will provide the basis for our considering some challenging judgments in life and art.

*This course requires a minimum of 5 to a maximum of 10 students.

Required Readings

Jamison, Kay R.  Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament. New York: Free Press, 1996.

 

This book may also be available from other sources.

Cost

$66

Instructor: Cole Barton, PhD

Time

2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

Location

Online

Day

Tuesday

Status: Registration opens Dec. 7

Zoom Orientation 

Monday, Mar. 8 at 2:00 - 3:00 PM

Dates

Mar. 9, 16, 23, 30; Apr. 6, 13

Instructor: Scott Denham, PhD

Registration for Winter/Spring 2021 courses opens December 7 at 10:00 A.M. Because we have a limited number of courses for Winter/Spring, please do not register for more than one course until after 10:00 AM Wednesday, December 9.

Presidential Powers – Beyond the Constitution

Presidential leadership by extraconstitutional means – good leadership or a cynical betrayal of the Constitution?  In an increasingly complex policy environment and political culture, presidents often look for ways to circumvent the traditional means of presidential powers. This course includes analysis and implications of the 2020 Election; “presidential rhetoric” and the presidential dynamics with the media; presidential management and leadership styles; and extraconstitutional tools such as veto threats, executive orders, signing statements, and statements of administrative policy.

*This course requires a minimum of 12 to a maximum of 30 students.

Required Readings

None

Cost

$44

Instructor: Susan Roberts, PhD

Time

7:00 PM - 8:30 PM

Location

Online

Day

Thursday

Status: Registration opens Dec. 7

Zoom Orientation 

Wednesday, Feb. 17, 7:00 - 8:00 PM

Dates

Feb 18, 25; Mar 4, 11

The Rynne Lectures in International Affairs

Global issues and key players, both past and present, are shaping future policies about national security and diplomacy for the U.S.  Current and retired faculty members from Davidson College and UNC Charlotte, some of whom have advised policymakers in Washington, will provide insight into these matters in a 5-session course.  Lectures, followed by Q & A sessions, will include the following topics:

 

  • China’s rising power and influence in the global political and economic spheres (Shelley Rigger, PhD)

  • Brexit: The United Kingdom after Brexit (Peter Thorsheim, PhD)

  • Biden’s trade policy (Joe Papovich)

  • What does Russia want? Explaining Russia's foreign policy under Putin (Besir Ceka, PhD)

  • Who was Dean Rusk?  (Jane Zimmerman)

*This course requires a minimum of 10 to a maximum of 100 students.

Required Readings

None

Cost

$55

Coordinator: Thomas Rynne

Time

7:00 PM - 8:30 PM

Location

Online

Day

Monday

Status: Registration opens Dec. 7

Zoom Orientation 

Friday, Jan. 22 at 7:00 - 8:00 PM

Dates

Jan. 25; Feb. 1, 8, 15, 22

The Rhetorical Presidency: How Speechmaking Came to Define Presidential Greatness

This course focuses on the canon of famous and infamous presidential speeches in the era of the rhetorical presidency—from the early twentieth century to the present. We will reflect on how the rise of the rhetorical presidency disrupted the founders’ vision of the office, as laid out in Article 2 of the Constitution, and we will explore a number of case studies in presidential rhetoric, from the “bully pulpit” of Theodore Roosevelt to the counter-normative rally speeches of Donald J. Trump. Along the way, we’ll contemplate how some speeches came to be remembered as “great speeches,” and how rhetorical eloquence became the measure of presidential greatness.  

*This course requires a minimum of 10 to a maximum of 15 students.

Required Readings

Required and suggested readings from Voices of Democracy website (https://voicesofdemocracy.umd.edu/)

Cost

$66

Time

10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Location

Online

Day

Tuesday

Status: Registration opens Dec. 7

Zoom Orientation 

Monday, Feb. 1, 10:00 - 11:00 AM

Dates

Feb. 2, 9, 16, 23; Mar. 2, 9

Email: info@davidsonlearns.org

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1476, Davidson, NC 28026

© 2020 DavidsonLearns

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