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UPCOMING EVENTS

Gain perspective on significant moments in history. Learn about people and cultures from around the globe. Prepare for your post-career life. Investigate the latest break throughs in science and technology.

LearningLife offers a high level of academic learning taught by outstanding faculty and community experts at world-class university. Costs range from $15-$160, depending on the number of sessions offered and their length.

Once you register, you become a member of the Learning Circle, which entitles you to discounts on future courses and events. Visit the Discounts page for full details on this and other discount programs.

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Courses and Events Listing

Spring Short Courses

Kings, Queens, and Conquerors: A British Monarchy Primer
From lopping off heads to imprisoning boy princes to wresting the Church of England from the papal clutches of Rome, the British monarchy has provided the world endless doses of drama, tragedy, romance, and resurrection. This British monarchy primer will offer a captivating glimpse of an institution (and country) that continues to enthrall the world.

A Psychiatrist Among the Nazis: Dr. Douglas M. Kelley, Hermann Goring, and the Nature of Evil
What could psychiatry reveal about the top Nazis indicted for war crimes and crimes against humanity by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg? Author Jack El-Hai leads this inquiry into one of the darkest corners of the 20th century by telling the story of a young U.S. Army psychiatrist who strove to find out by spending time with leaders of the Third Reich.

American Indian Ways of Knowing the Environment
Indigenous peoples in North America have maintained a sustainable way of life through a spiritual, reciprocal relationship with their environment. However, Western science often has the power to control what is studied and how. Explore the historical and contemporary relationship between Native American and traditional Western views of earth.

The History of Here: Exploring Local Neighborhoods
Who lived in your house before you? Before them? Where did they buy candy and milk, worship, nurse a glass of ale? There is a story wherever you live and the best way to learn that history is to use the most essential resource at your disposal: your curiosity. In this unique course, part walking tour, part instructional guide, you'll learn simple tools to discover the unique world in which you live.

James Joyce's Dubliners (1914): Giving a City to the World
"For myself, I always write about Dublin, because if I can get to the heart of Dublin I can get to the heart of all the cities of the world. In the particular is contained the universal." In this course, on the eve of the 100th anniversary of Dubliners, participants will discover the heart of James Joyce, the Dubliner, and James Joyce, the writer, one of the most influential artists of the 20th century.

Wines of the Rhone Valley
Whether you are a novice who wants to know more about the wine you drink or a card-carrying "Rhoneiphile," this comprehensive course details the history, creation, practice, and enjoyment of one of the world's most-beloved varietals. From the Northern and Southern Rhone Valleys of France, to California, Australia, and Spain, the central topic will be what makes a great Rhone wine a favorite of many.

Intentional Communities: Searching for Common Ground
Kibbutz, commune, ecovillage, cooperative: all are examples of shared living, an "other" way of living that allows people to live out shared beliefs, values, and ideals. This course will offer an in-depth view of the history and ideals of Intentional Communities, from the Shakers to Hippies to 21st-century ecovillagers.

Your Sustainable Home Landscape: Designing Gardens
Are you ready to use your imagination (and hands, and hoe, and dirt) to tackle a home landscape project this summer? Participants in this course will put pencil to paper (and hands in dirt) to imagine, design, and build an entry garden or deck/patio garden.

The Chemistry of Taste: Exploring Food and Wine Pairings
The rule is: pair white wine with fish and red wine with beef, right? Are you certain? This course begins with a comprehensive study of the chemistry of flavor before delving into a blind taste experiment featuring a variety of select wines and small plates of the harvest. Join us as we sniff, taste, sample, tally, and share, all in the name of demystifying the complexities of pairing food with wine.

The Dark Side of the Universe
Humans are wired to go beyond the experience of our senses, to look into the dark side of the Universe, to ask: what's out there and why? This course will examine the invisible that is all around us. From still-born stars to quasars to the faint echo of the Big Bang itself, we'll journey through the dark side of the Universe.

Conservation and Controversy: The Wolf in Minnesota
A two-session course on the most controversial animal in Minnesota: the wolf. Everything from the social behavior of this gregarious animal to its predatory habits will be discussed. The course also will examine current wolf conservation efforts in Minnesota and the controversy surrounding wolf hunting and trapping.

The Magic Flute
What is the significance of The Magic Flute to its composer, Mozart? To lovers of Italian and German operatic forms? What element is credited for securing the opera's popularity in Vienna? Join renowned musicologist Daniel Freeman for this journey through the magic of The Magic Flute, which is being offered in celebration of The Minnesota Opera's spring production of this notable work.

A Celebration of Viennese Food and Music
Gather at the Campus Club overlooking the Mississippi River to learn--using all of your senses--about the cuisine and musical heritage of Vienna, one of the world's most beloved cultural cities. Enjoy dinner prepared by Executive Chef Beth Jones, and a lecture and performance by renowned musicologist, author, and musician, Daniel Freeman.

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Summer Short Courses

The History of Here: Exploring Local Neighborhoods
Who lived in your house before you? Before them? Where did they buy candy and milk, worship, nurse a glass of ale? There is a story wherever you live and the best way to learn that history is to use the most essential resource at your disposal: your curiosity. In this unique course, part walking tour, part instructional guide, you'll learn simple tools to discover the unique world in which you live.

Land of Amber Waters: The History of Brewing in Minnesota
Anthony Yoerg, John Orth, August Schell, Jacob Schmahl? You may not know their names, but if you live in Minnesota, you surely know their beers. Minnesota's beer tradition is a storied one that continues to this day with our hopping craft beer scene. Join historian Doug Hoverson and Certified Cicerone Michael Agnew, for this lively exploration of the state's beer history and three craft breweries.

Sweet Summer, The Books of Our Youth: An Intergenerational Book Club
In this tribute to reading, join local authors Julie Schumacher and Geoff Herbach as they lead discussions about the favored books of their youth: The Secret Garden and The Catcher in the Rye. While not required, we invite you to share this experience with a young person, be they a daughter, nephew, grandchild, or friend. (There is no tuition for young people, but they must register with an adult.)

Crime and Punishment: Noir, New Jersey, North Dakota
Structured like a monthly book club, this course will explore the tantalizing world of crime fiction. From Hollywood noir to the New Jersey projects to the plains of North Dakota, participants will discover a genre unlike any other, with its own tropes, tics, and questionable characters.

Telling Our Stories
Have a burning story to tell? A simmering tale you long to share? Ready to experiment and explore, imagine and invent? In this one-session course, you?ll learn how to unearth your personal history for potential stories, and through simple exercises, writing prompts, and discussions, how to transform your personal truths into written work.

Reinventing Your Future
Lazy-hazy-crazy days indeed, but summer also can be the perfect time to put some energetic spring into your step. This inspirational course provides the perfect environment for (re)considering what you want to bring to your life and how to put those desires into action. Participants will use proven techniques to identify what they want and why, and to develop creative strategies for action and follow through.

Your Sustainable Home Landscape: Designing Gardens
Are you ready to use your imagination (and hands, and hoe, and dirt) to tackle a home landscape project this summer? Participants in this course will put pencil to paper (and hands in dirt) to imagine, design, and build an entry garden or deck/patio garden.

Vino y Vinho! The Wines of Spain and Portugal
Join sommelier Leslee Miller on this active armchair trip to the Iberian Peninsula. From Penedes to Porto and Rioja to Ribera del Duero, you'll sip and learn about the grape varietals and world-class growing regions of Spain and Portugal.

The Chemistry of Taste: Exploring Food and Wine Pairings
The rule is: pair white wine with fish and red wine with beef, right? Are you certain? This course begins with a comprehensive study of the chemistry of flavor before delving into a blind taste experiment featuring a variety of select wines and small plates of the harvest. Join us as we sniff, taste, sample, tally, and share, all in the name of demystifying the complexities of pairing food with wine.

Exploring Relationships: Loneliness, Social Interaction, and Health
Did you know that isolation and loneliness are contributing factors to early mortality? That even the smallest gesture, such as holding someone's hand, can lower blood pressure and reduce pain? In this course, participants will learn about the relationship between loneliness and well-being, and how our social interactions and activities can have a positive influence on our physical and mental health.

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One-day Immersions

Monarchs in Minnesota: Understanding an Iconic Insect
Like most of us, monarch butterflies are not made to withstand harsh Minnesota winters. This lovely and distinctive butterfly weighs in at less than half a gram, yet somehow manages to complete a 2,000-mile migration to warmer climates every fall. In this hands-on immersion, learn the amazing story of the monarch, from biology to migration to conservation.

Caving in the Cities
Let's go caving! The Twin Cities are home to numerous natural and man-made caves. So don your dirtiest jeans and sturdiest boots, because it's time to go underground in this adventurous one-day immersion led by popular Twin Cities caver and geologist, Greg Brick.

See, Shoot, Edit, Share: Photography Fundamentals for the Beginner
Do you long to take better pictures of your family, friends, and vacations, but feel intimidated by all the little buttons and dials on your camera? Through presentations, a field shoot, image review, and question-and-answer sessions, this one-day immersion will walk even the unsure novice through the steps necessary to create better images.

Churches of Minnesota
Of all the structures on the landscape, both rural and urban, it is possible that churches can tell us more about our story than any other. From towering white steeples to hand-hewn basswood baptismal fonts, join photographer and historian Doug Ohman to visit and learn about the art, architecture, and history of Minnesota churches.

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Saturday Morning Seminars

A Psychiatrist Among the Nazis: Dr. Douglas M. Kelley, Hermann Goring, and the Nature of Evil
What could psychiatry reveal about the top Nazis indicted for war crimes and crimes against humanity by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg? Author Jack El-Hai leads this inquiry into one of the darkest corners of the 20th century by telling the story of a young U.S. Army psychiatrist who strove to find out by spending time with leaders of the Third Reich.

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Summer Morning Seminars

Flying with Northwest Airlines in the Age of Luxury and Innovation
Join author Jack El-Hai for this colorful and informative look at the history of Northwest Airlines. From the luxury of sleeper cabins, gourmet food, onboard bars, and pampering from stewardesses, to the seamy underside of unsafe aircraft, racial conflict, high profits, and executive discord, this seminar tells the story of our region's own legacy airline.

From Rails to Rubber Tires: The Streetcar Era in the Twin Cities
Join historian John Diers for this nostalgic, illuminating look at the history of streetcars in the Twin Cities--from the golden age of the trolley in the early 1900s to the trolley's eventual demise at the hands of other modes of transportation in the mid-20th century. But then, what's old is new again and Diers also will discuss how a new set of circumstances is reviving electric transit in our fair cities.

Local Drive: Ford, Overland, Maxwell, and Beyond
Because of its strong manufacturing tradition, excellent rail service, and proven market demand, three national automobile companies once made cars in the Twin Cities. This also generated many spin-off businesses, from auto body and accessory shops to retail dealerships. Join author Brian McMahon to learn about the rich heritage of the automobile in our cities and how it changed the way we live, work, and play.

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles: The Series
"Travel" by air, by rail, and on the open road during this series of three seminars that celebrate the history of transportation in the Twin Cities. From Northwest Airline's age of luxury and innovation and the golden era of the streetcar, to decades of robust automobile manufacturing and sales--transport yourself back in time for a nostalgic look at how we worked, played, and moved about in the 20th century.

Innovative Developments: Addressing the Threat of Aquatic Invasive Species
As Minnesotans, we love our lakes, not to mention our rivers and streams. But how can the Land of 10,000 Lakes hope to address the threats posed by aquatic invasive species such as Eurasian water milfoil, zebra mussels, and bigheaded carp? This seminar highlights the work of the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center and the innovative developments it uses for AIS prevention and control.

What Is the Green Economy and How Do We Grow One?
If it's true that the best things in life are free, why don't we value our most ready capital? Air, water, and land are intrinsically tied to the economy, but don't play a role in government policy. Yet. Simply put: we're drawing down our natural resources and it's time for a new economic structure. Learn what is meant by a "green economy," why it's important to our future, and how to grow such a structure.

Smart Clothing: WearableTechnology
Today's winter coat is designed to trap heat. But what if that camel-hair coat could also generate heat? What is a "vibrotactile glove" and how could it save the lives of firefighters? This is the brave new world of clothing: what's being invented now is certain to change what you wear in the future.

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View all events by start date

Kings, Queens, and Conquerors: A British Monarchy Primer
Starts: 04/21/2014. two-session course

Intentional Communities: Searching for Common Ground
Starts: 04/22/2014. three-session course

Conservation and Controversy: The Wolf in Minnesota
Starts: 04/23/2014. two-session course

The Magic Flute
Starts: 04/24/2014. two-session course

James Joyce's Dubliners (1914): Giving a City to the World
Starts: 04/24/2014. four-session short course

A Psychiatrist Among the Nazis: Dr. Douglas M. Kelley, Hermann Goring, and the Nature of Evil
Starts: 05/03/2014. Saturday morning seminar

Your Sustainable Home Landscape: Designing Gardens
Starts: 05/05/2014. three-session course

American Indian Ways of Knowing the Environment
Starts: 05/06/2014. three-session course

The Dark Side of the Universe
Starts: 05/07/2014. two-session course

A Celebration of Viennese Food and Music
Starts: 05/15/2014.

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Headliners

Because of the timely nature of Headliners, each month's subject and speaker is announced just weeks before the event. See the Headliners page for details on the next event.


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