Academic Year 2023 Courses

Academic Year 2023 Courses

Our courses provide opportunities for our members to delve more deeply into fascinating subjects, hear from outstanding teachers, and have fun as well: no exams, no grades, but ample opportunities to participate in discussions.

You must be a OLLI member to sign up for Courses!

→ Courses are limited to 2024 members of Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UCSC. If you wish to join, go to our home page and use the section titled Join OLLI at UCSC or Renew Your Membership.  Please read the entire description of each class, as some have different enrollment procedures.

Online Registration is available.  Sign into your OLLI account and go to the "Course" button and select the courses and follow the instructions.  Link to sign into your OLLI account click here!

For those that would like to send in your registration for any of the courses you can download a PDF Here!  For a Zoom link please include your email address on the form.  Please note that using the USPS to mail in registration will take 2 to 3 weeks to get recorded so plan accordingly.  

All courses have a $20.00 fee for each course.  Please include your check or credit card information as payment for the course or courses. 

2301 International Affairs Fall 2023
2308 Food and Biochemistry
2302 Technological Toolkits and the Making of the Modern World
2303  Women in the Ancient Western World 
2304  The Supreme Court and American Life 
2305  Experiencing Baroque Music
2306  Tom Jones and the Origin of the Novel
2307  The Holocaust

2301 International Affairs Fall 2023
When:  Starting Sept 18, 2023 and continuing every other Monday
Where:  YouTube online
Instructor:   Prof. Emerita Ronnie Gruhn

 We are again fortunate to have Ronnie Gruhn, Professor Emerita of Politics at UCSC, as one of our teachers. She has a passionate and undiminished interest in reading, writing, and talking about world affairs. Her courses offer powerful insights into what is happening today. Ronnie has been very generous in sharing her knowledge with OLLI members, and her courses have been exceedingly well attended.

Ronnie begins her fall series of YouTube commentaries on international affairs the week of September 18, continuing every other Monday.      Watch your inbox for an email from OLLI with a link to the commentary.  This is a special privilege for all OLLI members.

Ronnie is very interested in answering any questions you may have about material she covers in her classes and other aspects of International Affairs.  E-mail your questions to her at

Subscribe to the OLLI UCSC YouTube channel by going to:

Click on the red subscribe button and the bell to be notified of each OLLI video. We can help if you have a problem subscribing. Let us know. 

2302 Technological Toolkits and the Making of the Modern World  

When:  Thursdays, September 28, October 5, 12, 19,    10:30-12:30
Where:  Museum of Art and History, 705 Front Street and on Zoom
Instructor:  Terry Burke

What were technological toolkits, and what were their relationships to the coming of modernity? These four lectures seek to answer one of world history’s most important questions: where and when did the technological building-blocks of the modern world first emerge? The answer, you may be surprised to learn, is not in Europe, and not necessarily in modern times. A continuation of our 2023 course, we propose an alternative global history of technology in which it was not the civilizational “Right Stuff” of famous European Smart Guys that came up with key inventions like the algorithm, the printing press, and the compass.

The course identifies ten essential technological complexes (“toolkits”) that together made possible the emergence of the modern world. Rather than being of European origin, we’ll discover that they originated elsewhere, and gradually diffused to the lands of Islam where they were identified and made available for adoption. We begin with a general overview of the project. Each of the next three sessions explores the tangled history of a different toolkit and its role in the Modern Transformation. Stay tuned for the exploration of the bureaucratic fiscal, the writing/information retrieval and the mathematical/cosmological toolkits. The project continues in Winter20024.

Keeping track of the Toolkit Complex Lectures

I lectured on the following toolkits in Winter 2023

  • water management
  • maritime transport
  • weapons/strategic

This Fall 2023 I will lecture on these toolkits:

  • bureaucratic/fiscal
  • writing/information retrieval
  • mathematical/cosmological

In Winter 2024, I'll lecture on these toolkits.

  • pyro-technological/mining
  • medical/pharmacological      

Edmund (“Terry”) Burke, III is a retired UCSC world historian with a many years of experience teaching and research in the histories of Europe, Asia, the Islamic world, and world history.  He was the founder of the UCSC Center for World History, as well as an originator of “World History for Us All,” an innovative NEH funded online world history curriculum. 

2303  Women in the Ancient Western World

When:  Tuesdays, October 10, 17, 24, 31,   10:30 - 12:30
Where:  Museum of Art and History, 705 Front St. (No Zoom)
Instructor:  Gail Greenwood

Have you ever wondered what we’re doing with bunnies bringing eggs at Easter, and pine trees covered with baubles to celebrate the birth of a Jewish baby? Gail Greenwood did, and it never made sense to her until she learned about women’s history. She is now offering us an 8-hour survey course she’s calling “Women in the Ancient Western World.” The primary idea examined will be that the story changes when the point of view of the storyteller changes; though the facts may be the same, the significance of the facts and even which dates matter alter when viewed from women’s rather than from men’s perspective. The course will begin with Prehistory — The Great Mother and her cave children, with an examination of why we don’t begin with the Greeks — followed with the Ancient Near East, Egypt, and Crete. Then we will (in a great sweep of thousands of years in an hour or two) look at ancient and classical Greece, Rome, and the Judeo-Christian heritage. 

Gail Greenwood is a retired community college history teacher. For thirty-four years, she taught survey courses in American History, Western Civilization, and Women in both American and Western Civilization. In the 1970s she created the first Women in American History courses at American River College.  You will enjoy watching her teach.

2304  The Supreme Court and American Life

When:  Thursdays, November 2, 9, 16, 30,   10:30 - 12:30
Where:  Museum of Art and History, 705 Front St. and on Zoom
Instructor: Arthur Rolston

The 2022-2023 term of the Supreme Court was momentous no matter one’s political views. The class will examine four cases decided this past June as the term ended and place them in legal and historical perspective.

  • 2: United States v. Texas - Immigration in history and law.
  • 9:Students for Fair Admissions, Inc., v. President and Fellows of Harvard College, et al. - Race and affirmative action.
  • 16: Glacier Northwest Inc. v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local Union 174- Labor law and the right to strike.
  • 30: 303 Creative, LLC, et al., v. Elenis, et al.- Speech, religion, and anti-discrimination (in the context of people identified as LGBTQ).

This will be the fourth-class Arthur will have taught for our membership. Previous classes included the creation and adoption of our federal Constitution, state constitutions in general and our California constitution, and classes that looked at cases involving race and segregation, voting rights, establishment and free exercise of religion, political speech and campaign spending, gun rights, Gay marriage, religion and health care, defendants' rights and criminal procedure, and aspects of economic regulation. Arthur has a JD from Berkeley Law (1967) a PhD in history from UCLA (2006) and taught various classes as an adjunct lecturer at UCLA from 2007-2016 focused on 19th Century America and U.S. constitutional history.

2305  Experiencing Baroque Music

When:  Saturdays November 4, 11, 18, December 2,   10:30 -12:30
Where:  UCSC Music Center, room 131 (Look for signs.) and on Zoom.
Instructor Leta Miller

UCSC Music Professor Leta Miller will charm you with highlights of music from the Baroque period. Miller will explain the styles, forms, and aesthetics of the music of the 17th and early 18th centuries and lead you on a guided tour of selected pieces. The four sessions include: (1) The Beginnings of Opera (music of Monteverdi and Handel); Sonatas and Toccatas (Corelli, Telemann, Froberger, and Bach); Fugues and Concertos (Bach and Vivaldi); and Dance Music (highlights from the court of Louis XIV). The course will meet in the UCSC Music Center, room 131, to take advantage of high-quality audio and video equipment. No prior knowledge of classical music is required.

Leta Miller is an emerita professor of music at UCSC, who specialized in 20th Century American music, but taught classes in all areas of Western classical music.   She has received an Eminent Professor award and an outstanding teacher award from the UCSC Arts Division.   Her classes for OLLI were special as we listened to and learned about music.

2306  Tom Jones and the Origin of the Novel

When:  Tuesdays, November 7, 14, 21, 28,   10:30-12:30
Where:  Museum of Art and History, 705 Front St.
Instructor: Bill Parks

There are many works of fiction from the seventeenth and early eighteenth century that we would today term novels. But it was not until the appearance in 1740 of Richardson’s Pamela that the reading public became aware of what they termed a “new species of writing.” At this point Henry Fielding brought his own extraordinary talents to play.

In this course we will examine Fielding’s comic masterpiece, Tom Jones. Published in 1749, Tom Jones has never been out of print because it is timeless not only in its humor but in its answers to the meaning of life.

The book to read for the course is Penguin Classic Edition.  It is a long book so you should start reading soon.

Bill Park is an Emeritus Professor of Literature at Sarah Lawrence College, where he taught for many years. He received his PhD in Eighteenth Century English Literature from Columbia University. He has written extensively about literature and film. We are fortunate that he has moved to Santa Cruz and is eager to share his knowledge with us.

Bill has a new blog"Old Nestor Speaks" at

Our members who have attended his classes are impressed by his encyclopedic knowledge. He seems to enjoy teaching us as much as we enjoy learning from him.

2307  The Holocaust

When:  Wednesdays, November 29, December 6, 13,    10:30-12:30
Where:  Museum of Art and History, 705 Front St. 
Instructor: Peter Kenez, Murray Baumgarten

We are privileged to have a course based on the acclaimed UCSC class that Murray and Peter taught on campus. It will trace the destruction of the Jews and Jewish life in Europe by Nazi Germany, drawing on history, literature, and film.

Peter and Murray are both emeritus professors, UCSC.  Peter is a historian specializing in Russian and Eastern European history and politics.

Murray is a distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature.  He was the co-director of Jewish studies and the founding director of the Dickens Project at UCSC

2308 Food and Biochemistry

Saturdays, September 9,16, 23, 30, 10:30 – Noon
Location: Room 240 Physical Sciences Building, UCSC Campus and on Zoom
Instructor:  Barry Bowman

The food we eat is a complex mix of thousands of different kinds of chemicals.  However, most of these chemicals can be put into a few simple categories, e.g. fats, carbohydrates and proteins. In this course we will see how the human body uses these chemicals and converts them into living tissue or into energy. We will explore questions like “Why does fat have more calories than sugar, and what is a calorie”? What are vitamins and what do they do in our bodies? What is the difference between LDL and HDL carriers of cholesterol?

Participants are not expected to have a background in science. The content of the course will be largely the same as in previous years, but those who wish to participate again are welcome.

Barry Bowman is Professor Emeritus of Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology at UCSC.