Insight Seminars

image: trees and mountain reflected in lakeUniversity of Oregon Insight Seminars 2015-2016
A Program of the UO Libraries

Registration links will be live soon. 
Registration for each monthly class is $99.

Free Public Lectures

October 5, 2015 - Jim Earl, Department of English
Lecture on author Marilynne Robinson's novels.

November 2, 2015 - Gina Psaki, Department of Romance Languages
Lecture: War, Christmas, and the War on Christmas”
This lecture will introduce one of the intriguing intersections of Christmas' history: Christmas and war. We’ll look at how this moment of heightened emotional intensity and hyperactive commercial activity got tangled up together in the two world wars, and in the current so-called “War on Christmas.


October 2015

Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead Novels ($99)
October 10, 17, 24 & 31
Saturdays  9:30 - Noon, Knight Library Browsing Room
Jim Earl, Department of English
The much-celebrated novels Gilead (2004), Home (2008), and Lila (2014) explore the hardened spirituality of the American Plains. Four generations of two preachers’ families in small-town Idaho struggle with war, poverty, race, drought, good and evil, love, death, forgiveness and grace, from the 1850’s to the 1950’s. Robinson somehow makes the language of their battered, war-torn, dust-bowl churches the vehicle for a profound and inspiring portrait of America, and of human being. Reading them can be a spiritual experience. 
Books: Gilead and Home are available in paperback from the UO Bookstore in September. The last novel the class is reading, Lila, will be released in paperback on October 6, so the UO Bookstore will have it shortly after that date.

November 2015

Christmas: A Cultural History ($99)
November 7, 14, 21 & December 5
Saturdays  9:30 am - Noon, Knight Library Browsing Room
Gina Psaki, Department of Romance Languages
In America Christmas often is a moment for sentiment, spirituality, and spending—tied to both heartstrings and purse-strings. But how did it get that way?  Christmas has a history and is connected to many other country's traditions and cultures.  We’ll explore some these cultures and traditions, including the Nativity in art and music; the introduction of the Christmas tree and Christmas presents; Dickens’s iconic A Christmas Carol; the Christmas Truce of 1914; and what’s often called the “War on Christmas.

January 2016

Musical Instruments: Their Sounds and Repertoires 1300-1900 ($99)
January 9, 16, 23, & 30
Saturdays  9:30 am - Noon, Knight Library Browsing Room
Marc Vanscheeuwijck, School of Music & Dance
We will explore the development of woodwinds, brass, organs, harpsichords, pianos, and the variety of bowed and plucked stringed instruments in Western Europe from the late Middle Ages until World War I. Our journey will take us mainly through France, the Low Countries, Spain, and the German-and Italian-speaking lands. Listening to all these instruments and their changing sounds over time in various musical repertoires will be a substantial part of the seminar.
Book: Curt Sachs, The History of Musical Instruments (New York, 1940). This paperback book is available as a Dover Books reprint.  We will mainly focus on the book's 4th part during the seminar.

February 2016

Herodotus, The Histories ($99)
February 6, 13, 20, & 27
Saturdays  9:30 am - Noon, Knight Library Browsing Room
Jim Earl, Department of English
Herodotus was the first Greek historian, author of the first Greek book in prose, as Homer was the first in verse. He tells the epic story of the Persian Wars—an East-West struggle that seems never to have ended; but that is only the setting for what readers most enjoy in his book, i.e., his lively anecdote-filled accounts of his own travels throughout the ancient world. He is our personal 5th-century BCE guide to the social practices, myths, religions, and politics of the cultures of the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Egypt and Africa.

April 2016

Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov ($99)
April 3, 10, 17 & 24
Sundays  2:00 pm - 4:30 pm Knight Library Browsing Room
(note: this class is on Sundays, rather than Saturdays)
Steve Shankman, Department of English

April/May 2016

Women in Islam ($99)
April 30, May 7, 14 & 21 
Saturdays  9:30 am - Noon, Knight Library Browsing Room
Anita Weiss, Department of International Studies


Further Information




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Created by jenkins on Jun 18, 2012 Last updated Aug 26, 2015