Shakespeare, Twain, evolution and libertarianism among topics in Chatauqua’s spring semester

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Chautauqua New Orleans offers a variety of classes, lectures and workshops for adult members (via

Chautauqua New Orleans offers a variety of classes, lectures and workshops for adult members (via

Accentuate your knowledge on Shakespeare to Mark Twain, to evolution and the human spirit, to even Libertarianism and Kinetic sculpture with this spring’s Chautauqua classes. All classes are under $40 and open to all Chautauqua members, classes begin on March 31.

For more information please refer to the following press release from Chautauqua New Orleans:

New Orleans Chautauqua classes begin the week of March 31 and continue for 6 weeks. 

New Orleans Chautauqua classes begin the week of March 31 and continue for 6 weeks. 

New Orleans Chautauqua classes begin the week of March 31 and continue for 6 weeks.  Classes include Shakespeare, Evolution, Alice Munro, Mark Twain and more.  See the website for further details and to register.  

The Short Stories of Alice Munro
Six Mondays, starting March 31, 7:00-8:30 pm
Loyola University,
Room 214B Bobet Hall
6363 St. Charles Avenue
Cost $30 (copies of stories provided at first class)
Instructors: The Rev. William Barnwell and Mr. Lawrence Hamric
Teaching Assistant: Rosemarie Coffman
Description: Alice Munro won the Nobel Prize for Literature in October of 2013. Widely regarded as one of the best short story writers of our time, Munro tells tales of ordinary people who rise before us as complex and intriguing—in fact, a whole lot like us! We will discuss six of her stories, including “The Bear Came over the Mountain,” which was made into the award winning film “Away from Her”. On the first evening, we will read aloud and discuss the autobiographical “Voices.” Copies of the six stories will be provided at an additional cost of approx. $12.00.
Six Tuesday mornings, starting April 1, 10:30-noon
Rayne Memorial Methodist Church
3900 St. Charles Avenue
Cost: $30
Instructor: Dick Fillon
Teaching Assistant: Melissa Barker
Description: The course will begin with a review of the evolution of life on Earth, and the corresponding co-evolution of Earth’s environments from primitive methanogens and cyanobacteria which produced the Earth’s oxygen-rich atmosphere, to the various fire-making, forest-clearing, fossil fuel burning members of our genus Homo, who have battled the evolution of plants with more efficient photosynthetic pathways for control of the Earth’s atmospheric thermostat. We will take a non-technical look at the complex biochemical mechanisms of heredity responsible for the diverse life forms that populate the planet. We will review humanity’s attempts to make sense of life’s diversity, from the classical philosophers, to Mendel and his pea plants, to Darwin and his panoply of finches, to genetics, DNA, horizontal gene transfer, and the very new science of epigenetics. We will also look at questions such as: Does the evolution of life play a special role in the Universe? Are Human-created GMOs a threatening development, or are they part of a grand evolutionary plan? We will also look at recent research efforts on perhaps the toughest question of all: How did life get started in the first place?
The History of Freedom in America
Five Tuesdays starting April 1, 7:00-9:00 pm
Poydras Home
5354 Magazine Street
Cost: Free
Instructor: Dudley (Bud) Flanders
Teaching Assistant: Charlotte Thomas
Description: The class will concentrate on the role of the British North American colonies in the history of freedom. It will include an examination of the context of every phase in the development of the colonies by England: their settlement, rapid and unexpected growth, salutary neglect, contemporary internal political turmoil in 17th century England, the Seven Years` War, the rise to revolution, post revolution and the drafting and ratification of the U.S. Constitution.
Six Wednesdays, starting April 2, 6:30-8:00
Trinity Episcopal Church Parish House
1329 Jackson Avenue
Cost: $30 (students provide their own copies of the plays)
Instructor: Dr. Ted Cotton
Teaching Assistant: Margaret Birtel
Description: Chautauqua Shakespeare in its five semesters of reading and discussing Shakespeare plays so far has covered some twenty-eight of the plays, a goodly portion of the canon (now held to be 38 plays either in whole or in part by him). Yet there are still some wonderful works worthy of our attention. Beginning in early April we shall address ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA, TIMON OF ATHENS, TROILUS AND CRESSIDA, PERICLES, CYMBELINE, and TWO NOBLE KINSMEN. This may sound like a mixed bag, but there is something of a rationale in their arrangement. The first three are often referred to as among the “Roman” plays (think also JULIUS CAESAR, CORIOLANUS, TITUS ANDRONICUS), even though two of them have “Greek” settings. The latter three have long been categorized among his “late romances,” written in the two or three years before his retirement to Stratford. ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA, a study of mature erotic love, is often accorded to be the fifth of the “great tragedies.” TIMON, a study in misanthropy, is doubtfully a tragedy at all, even though its central character dies. TROILUS AND CRESSIDA, variously categorized a “problem play” or a “comicall satyre,” takes a very dim view of the idealization of love and honor that was medieval holdover in the time of Elizabeth (think of Falstaff’s “honor” speech in 1 HENRY IV with a touch of vitriol added). As to quality, PERICLES and CYMBELINE are usually rated just below the romances we have already read, THE WINTER’S TALE and THE TEMPEST. Recently accepted into the canon, TWO NOBLE KINSMEN is recognized to be a collaboration with John Beaumont;
it seeks to define the noble life in action. Linking these two loose groupings is the fact that major works of Chaucer are the main sources for TROILUS and KINSMEN. Stratford-upon-Mississippi once again!
Mark Twain
Six Thursdays evenings, beginning April 3, 7:00-8:30
1229 Cadiz St. (private home)
Cost: $30
Instructor: Dr. Mike Bellamy
Teaching Assistant: Barbara Laughlin
Description: Though he comes the closest to a universally and fondly acclaimed quintessential American author, Mark Twain is actually a bundle of contradictions. Was he, as a clever title of a wonderful biography puts it, Mr. [Samuel Langhorne] Clemens and [or] Mark Twain? How can we account for Twain’s justly celebrated hilarity and his darkness, especially near the end of his life, when he thought, for example, that the devil is in charge of the Universe…his own sacrilegious version of Christian Providence? What about nature vs. nurture, or as he puts it in his inconclusive debate in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, character vs. training? Or his famous, often humorous, skepticism about received wisdom and his sentimentality, a self-indulgence especially evident in the way he describes many of the women in his fiction. We will read Twain’s well-known, justly-acclaimed masterpiece Adventures of Huck Finn and a little-recognized profound study of race, Wilson. (You might want to read or re-read Tom Sawyer and The Prince and the Pauper for quaint, conventional treatments of some of the same themes that characterize the more troubled vision of the two books we will read in the course.) We will also read short selections from other works like Life on the Mississippi and Letters from the Earth to explore some of the vast scope of Mark Twain’s numerous concerns.
WORKSHOP: Creativity and the Human Spirit
Saturday, April 13, 10:00-1:00
Trinity Episcopal Parish House
1329 Jackson Avenue
Cost: $20
Instructor: Anita Tircuit
Teaching Assistant: DeeDee Smith
Description: This three hour workshop will attempt to bring us in touch with one of our most necessary skills as human beings. It will explore the heart of why we need to be creative to survive and how we can grow through our experience of it. The workshop will include input from the facilitator, dialogue, as well as, exercises that can give us an experiential base for creativity. It will be fun, so come prepared to relax and enjoy. It’s optional, but if you want to dress in your favorite colors, feel free to do so.
Kinetic Sculpture 101
Friday, April 18, 7:00
Poydras Home
5354 Magazine Street
lecturer: G.W. Smith
Description: New Orleans is the home of Lin Emery, the world’s foremost kinetic sculptor — but what is generally known of the discipline, beyond the fact that it involves motion? This brief presentation will review the history and challenges of an art form which is one hundred years old, but only now poised to enter its golden age.
What is Libertarianism?
Friday, May 2, 8:00 pm
Loyola University,
6363 St. Charles Avenue
Rm 114 Miller Hall
lecturer: Dr. Walter Block
Description: Libertarianism is the philosophy of liberty. It is based on private property rights and the non-aggression principle. The most popular exponents of this philosophy are Ron Paul, Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek. However, not all of these people are libertarians!

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