Meeman Individual Course Listings

Below is a list of standalone courses that are not part of a specific series for the Spring 2019 Meeman Center for Lifelong Learning offerings. 

Visit our registration form to signup for any course or any series offered this Spring



Beyond AARP: Applying Aging Research in Psychology
Dr. Geoffrey Maddox, PhD Washington University in St. Louis, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Director of the Memory and Cognition Lab

Dr. Katie White, PhD University of Florida, Associate Professor and Chair of Psychology and Director of the Cognition and Aging Lab

This course will examine the complex process of aging and the numerous factors which contribute to our overall health and abilities as we get older. Specifically, we will focus on cognitive changes that occur across the lifespan (e.g., changes in memory, our ability to think of words when speaking with others, and our ability to pay attention) and health-promotion behaviors to address these changes. In addressing these goals we hope to confront the stereotypes many of us hold about the aging process.
Readings will be provided as PDF’s.

Three Thursdays: March 14, 21, & 28 | 5:30-7:30 p.m. | Tuition: $165 | .6 CEU
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The Monopolists

Board Games as American Culture
Dr. Scott Garner, PhD Princeton University, Assistant Professor of Greek and Roman Studies

The American entrepreneur and philanthropist George Eastman once observed that “What we do during our working hours determines what we have; what we do in our leisure hours determines what we are.” But should these two portions of our lives be so easily separated, or is there a greater complexity involved? This course explores the relationship between leisure and its surrounding culture by focusing on a single element of recreation in the United States—board games. Through case studies involving Monopoly, chess, and Scrabble we will investigate how American society has shaped and in turn been reshaped by the games we play. Such critical examination of these seemingly simple “games” often yields surprising results, with effects that can sometimes be traced all of the way from the most trivial pursuit to the all-encompassing game of life itself.

Readings will be provided as PDF’s but will involve significant portions of the following three books if students are interested in purchasing them:

Edmonds, David, and John Eidinow. Bobby Fischer Goes to War: How the Soviets Lost the Most Extraordinary Chess Match of All Time. Harper Collins, 2004. ISBN 9780060510251.

Fatsis, Stefan. Word Freak: Heartbreak, Triumph, Genius, and Obsession in the World of Competitive SCRABBLE Players. Penguin, 2011. New edition. ISBN 9780142002261.        

Pilon, Mary. The Monopolists: Obsession, Fury, and the Scandal Behind the World’s Favorite Board Game. Bloomsbury, 2015. ISBN 9781608199655.

Three Thursdays: February 14, 21, & 28 | 5:30-7:30 p.m. | Tuition: $165 | .6 CEU
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Constantine & the Early Church
Dr. Ariel Lopez, PhD Princeton University, Assistant Professor of Greek and Roman Studies

The Emperor Constantine is one of the most famous Christian converts of all time. But who was he, why did he convert to Christianity, and what did this conversion mean to him? What impact did his conversion have on the history of the Roman Empire? Would the Western world have become a Christian world without him? In this course, we will address these questions and many more.

Readings will be provided as PDF’s.

Two Thursdays: April 4 & 11 | 5:30-7:30 p.m. | Tuition: $110 | .4 CEU
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The Founding and Slavery

The Founding & Slavery
Dr. Stephen Wirls, PhD Cornell University, Associate Professor of Political Science

THIS COURSE IS FULL. For more information, please call 901-843-3965.

What did the founders (and others of the time) think about equality and slavery? How were those views preserved, reinterpreted, and rejected in the years leading up to the Civil War? We will discuss the Declaration, notes from the constitutional convention, the Constitution, and various writings by, for example, Jefferson, Hamilton, John C. Calhoun, Benjamin Palmer, and Lincoln.

Readings will be provided as PDF’s.

Five Tuesdays: March 12, 19, 26, & April 2 & 9 | 5:30-7:30 p.m. | Tuition: $275 | 1.0 CEU


Chinese Garden

Material Culture & Chinese Gardens
Dr. Han Li, PhD University of California-Irvine, Associate Professor of Modern Languages and Literatures, Head of Chinese Section

Gardens are fascinating because they are at one and the same time admired works of art and valuable pieces of real estate. This course will exam the philosophical, ethical, religious and aesthetic ideas behind classical Chinese gardens. We will also explore design techniques as well as material culture such as the use of water, plants, rocks and architecture in building a Chinese garden. In addition, the course will look into three classical Chinese gardens built in the U.S (the Astor Court at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Lan Su Garden in Portland and the Garden of Flowing Fragrance at the Huntington Library, California) and examine the transplantation of “Chinese-ness” in North America. It will bring new perspective when you visit the panda house in the Memphis Zoo.

Readings will be provided as PDF’s.

Three Mondays: January 28, February 4 & 11 | 5:30-7:30 p.m. | Tuition: $165 | .6 CEU
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Arab Spring

Politics in Post-Arab Spring Middle East: Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Libya, & the Kurds
Dr. Esen Kirdis, PhD University of Minnesota, Associate Professor of International Studies

Seven years after the events of the Arab Spring, which inspired calls for democratization and change, the Middle East is still in transition: Egypt’s emerging democracy has reverted back to authoritarianism, Syria’s multifaceted civil war has not yet seen its end, Yemen and Libya have both fallen into internationally-backed civil wars, and the Kurds are pursuing independence in Iraq. To understand the root causes of these conflicts in the Middle East today, this course will look into one of these issues each week:

1-Egypt: From the Arab Spring to the Arab Winter
2-Syria: The Syrian Civil War
3-Yemen And Libya: Internationally-Backed Civil Wars
4-Kurds in Iraq

Readings will be provided as PDF’s.

Four Wednesdays: February 6, 13, 20, &27 | 5:30-7:30 p.m. | Tuition: $220 | .8 CEU
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Liam Neeson film

The (Reel) British Empire
Dr. Lynn Zastoupil, PhD University of Minnesota, Professor of History

The British Empire has been a popular subject of filmmakers from nearly the start of the movie age. This course will explore that popularity using four films—and critical essays—from four different decades and national perspectives. The first will be Gunga Din, a 1939 Hollywood production directed by George Stevens and starring Victor McLaglan, Cary Grant and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. The second is the 1964 British epic, Zulu, which stars Michael Caine (in his first major role) and Stanley Baker and became a mainstay of British television programming for decades. Breaker Morant is a 1980 Australian film directed by Bruce Beresford that helped establish the modern Australian film industry. The final film is Neil Jordan’s 1996 Michael Collins—with Liam Neeson in the title role—which offers an alternative reading of the violent years (1916-1922) that brought independence and civil war to Ireland.

Readings will be provided as PDF’s. Of the films, Gunga Din, Breaker Morant, and Michael Collins are available to rent or purchase on Amazon Prime Video. Zulu can be purchased on Amazon as a DVD.

Four Tuesdays: February 5, 12, 19, & 26 | 5:30-7:30 p.m. | Tuition: $220 | .8 CEU
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