January / February 2021 Classes for ESI College Online

We are so pleased to be offering 18 classes for the winter term of ESI College Online, serving those age 60 and older. Registration is open, and classes begin January 5. Click on the title of a class to see complete descriptions of the classes and instructor bios, or simply scroll down the page.

To register, click here: https://tinyurl.com/ESIC21JanFeb


To sign up click this link https://tinyurl.com/ESIC21JanFeb

We will confirm your registration with an email from one of us at ESI College (this email address). Please look for that. Some classes have limited enrollment so sign up early—and sign up at least 48 hours in advance so we can be in communication with you about the class.


Classes cost $10 per session per person, $20 per session per couple. Each class lists the cost per person. The total cost for the classes will be listed on your registration confirmation. Sorry we can’t take payment online or over the phone—we’ll ask you to send a check within a week of registering.

To Participate

What you’ll need to participate is a device (computer, tablet, smartphone) you can use to Zoom, and to have Zoom set up on your computer. A device with a webcam is preferable so people can see you. We will send a Zoom link for each session the morning of each class.

Technical Support

We have technical support for every class session. Don’t let technology be a barrier. If you need help, we will do our best to help you remotely. 

We look forward to seeing you online!

Kind regards, 

Kristin Bolton, Dana Perzanoski and Geetha Wunnava
for ESI College Online 

ESI College Online Classes / January-February 2021 

The Hollywood Musical: Part 3

Instructor: Robert Wyatt
Dates: Tuesday, January 5
Time 1:30-2:45 p.m.
Cost: $10

Description: The 1950s were both the brightest and the saddest years for the Hollywood musical. The genre reached its zenith, with two musicals winning the Academy Award for Best Picture. At the same time, television drew millions of customers away from movie theatres and sped the death of the studios that had made lavish screen musicals possible. But still, we have remarkable films to watch, some of the greatest musical movies of all time: An American in Paris, Singin’ in the Rain, A Star is Born, Gigi, and remarkable film versions of Broadway shows including The King and I, Guys and Dolls and The Band Wagon. Please join us for a remarkable day of cinematic joy!

Instructor: Robert Wyatt is a Steinway Artist who has performed throughout the United States and internationally, gathering critical acclaim for sensitive and colorful solo and chamber music recitals. He delights audiences with a rare blend of pianistic savvy and engaging storytelling that makes each performance a creative event.

Perennials: 30 Lessons for Living

Instructor: Elise Blair
Dates: Wednesdays, January 6, 13 & 20
Times: 1:30-2:45 p.m. January 6 and 13,  and 10-11:30 a.m. Wednesday, January 20
Cost: $30 (book not included)

Description: Karl Pillemer, researcher on aging, interviewed thousands of older Americans about their lives and distilled these gems of life experience for us to consider, over every aspect of our lives. We’ll compare notes on these life lessons to our own, and see what holds true as we look back and look ahead.

Instructor: Elise Blair trained and worked in the Netherlands as an industrial social worker. She became a psychoanalyst in Washington, D.C., and had a private practice for 30 years. She played a large role in the Washington Center for Psychoanalysis as a teacher, board member and president. She is a member of the American Psychoanalytic Association.

What Makes Great Poems Great and Lasting Poems Last

Instructor: Richard Hawley
Date: Thursday, January 7
Time: 1:30-2:45 p.m.
Cost: $10

Description: This class will closely consider 10 enduringly great poems, particularly what formal and thematic qualities make them so. C.S. Lewis proposed that the identifying quality of great writing is that, after a suitable period of refreshment, it can be read again and again with undiminished pleasure. Works that can achieve this will stand the test of time; other, lesser work is perhaps temporarily agreeable but is ultimately disposable and forgettable. This session will explore what makes this crucial difference. The poems to be considered will be distributed to participants in advance.

Instructor: Richard Hawley, Ph.D., is a lifelong teacher, writer and musician. For four decades he taught, coached and counseled boys at Cleveland’s University School, serving for 17 years as the school’s headmaster. He has published 30 books, dozens of articles, stories and poems in publications ranging from The Atlantic to the New England Journal of Medicine. Also a lifelong piano player, Hawley has performed in jazz clubs and other venues across the country.

The Continuing Significance of Racism in the U.S.

Instructor: Chong-suk Han
Dates: Fridays, January 8, 15 & 22
Time: 1:30-2:45 p.m.
Cost: $30

Description: This course will introduce students to theories of race and racism in the United States by specifically examining how racial categories are formed and maintained in a variety of social arenas, why racism continues to be a problem, how race and racism contribute to continuing social inequalities, and the rise of “identity politics” around race within the past few decades. Students will gain an understanding of the historic and contemporary significance of race and racism in the United States – and how race and racism influences our everyday interactions.

Instructor: Chong-suk Han is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Middlebury College; he received his Ph.D. in 2007 from the University of Washington. His areas of expertise are race and sexuality. Before becoming an academic, Dr. Han was an award-winning journalist and he served for three years as the editor-in-chief of the International Examiner.

More Photos from 20 Years on the Road in Addison County

Instructor: Trent Campbell
Date: Tuesday, January 12
Time: 1:30-2:45 p.m.
Cost: $10

Description: In this class Trent Campbell will share a new collection of some of his favorite photos from 20 years covering the people, events and beauty of this county. 

Instructor: Trent Campbell, who learned photography at his grandfather’s knee in his home state of Minnesota, became the Addison Independent photographer in 1998. He has taken award-winning photos around the county for more than 20 years.

Film Discussion: 45 Years

Instructor: Frankie Dunleavy
Date: Thursday, January 14
Time: 1:30-2:45 p.m.
Cost: $10

Description: In this class we’ll discuss the 2015 film, 45 Years. The Guardian’s film critic Mark Kermode writes of this film: “Superbly nuanced performances and exquisite direction turn an apparently everyday story of a marriage in quiet crisis into something rather extraordinary….” Before class please watch the film – preferably twice. (You can rent it on Amazon Prime.) Bring your comments, questions, and reviews to the discussion.

Instructor: Frankie Dunleavy graduated from the University of London, where she majored in French and minored in English. In addition to those subjects, she has also taught Latin, Spanish and German in England, France, Germany and, most recently, Middlebury, Vt.

Women at the Helm

Instructor: Susan Evans McClure
Date: Tuesday, January 19
Time: 10:30-11:45 a.m.
Cost: $10

Description: 2020 marked the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in the United States. Women on Lake Champlain have been leading the way both before and after 1920, when the 19th Amendment to the Constitution granted American women the right to vote. By choice or by necessity, women in the Champlain Valley have overcome the limitations of gender stereotypes to chart new paths forward for our region. “Women at the Helm” shares the stories of several influential women whose leadership opened new doors and whose legacy shaped our community as we know it today.

Instructor: Susan Evans McClure is the executive director of the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. She leads the talented team of educators, curators, museum professionals and archaeologists as they explore the relationship between the land, the people, and the water of the Champlain Valley. Previously, Susan was director of programs and audience development at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, where she launched the Smithsonian’s first brewing history research and collecting initiative. Her research focuses on the field of public history, connecting people with the past in ways that are relevant to their lives today outside of the walls of the classroom. 

Japanese Woodblock Printing and its Influence on European and American Artists

Instructor: Cynthia Packert
Date: Thursdays, January 21 & 28
Time: 1:30-2:45 p.m.
Cost: $20

Description: Many people who enjoy Western art are unaware of the large influence that Japanese woodblock printing had on artists from the late 19th century to the present. In this class, Cynthia Packert will give us an in-depth look at Japanese woodblock art, and then explain how Western artists took these Japanese approaches into their own innovative work.

Instructor: With a Ph.D. in Art History for Harvard, Cynthia Packert is the Christian A. Johnson Professor in the History of Art and Architecture at Middlebury College. She teaches courses on all aspects of Asian and Islamic art, with a particular focus on India. Her current research focuses on new Hindu temples in India and the North American diaspora. 

Politics 2021: A New Administration Takes Office

Instructor: Eric Davis
Date: Tuesday, January 26
11 a.m.-noon
Cost: $10

Description: This class, held one week after Inauguration Day, will cover topics such as President Biden’s inaugural address and the reaction to it, cabinet appointments in the Biden/Harris administration, the new administration’s initial decisions in foreign and domestic policy, and prospects for congressional action on the new administration’s priorities.

Instructor: Eric Davis (B.A., Brown University; M.A., Ph.D. Stanford University) is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Middlebury College. From 1980 to 2008 he taught courses on American politics. Since retiring, he has continued to be a close observer of Vermont and national politics, writing a column for the Addison Independent and providing analysis for local and national media.

The State of Religion in Contemporary China

Instructor: Elizabeth Morrison
Date: Wednesday, January 27
Time: 10:30-11:45 p.m.
Cost: $10

Description: Religious communities and activities of all sorts exist in contemporary China. We will discuss this remarkable revival of religion since the death of Mao Zedong in 1976, paying special attention to the complexities of the Chinese state’s policies and treatment of various religious communities and the reasons that contemporary China is described by some as the least religious country in the world and by others as one of the most religiously active populations in the world.

Instructor: Elizabeth Morrison earned a B.A. at Amherst College and an M.A. and a Ph.D. at Stanford, all in religious studies. Along the way, she studied and lived in China, Taiwan and Japan. Her research and teaching revolve around the intersection of Buddhist studies and East Asian religions. She has taught at Middlebury College since 2003.

The World We Face

Instructor: George Jaeger
Date: Fridays, January 29, February 5 & 12
Time: 1:30-2:45 p.m.
Cost: $30

Description: President-elect Biden will inherit a nation that has changed dramatically since he last left office and has lost a great deal of prestige. Gone are the post-cold-war days, when America was still the undisputed “leader of the free world.” But the world too has changed, adapting to new power relationships. We will consider the opportunities and  limitations the new administration will face in “bringing America back” and what that might mean for our relations with the rest of the world, particularly China – our new long-term rival on the world stage.

Instructor: George Jaeger served as an American career diplomat during the Cold War. He was, among other assignments, staff director of the President’s Advisory Committee on Arms Control and Disarmament, a senior negotiator of the Helsinki Final Act, consul general during Quebec’s independence crisis, and deputy assistant secretary general of NATO. Before he retired he taught as Diplomat-in-Residence at Middlebury College.

Sergei Rachmaninoff

Instructor: Rebecca Mitchell
New Dates: Wednesdays, February 3 & 10
Time: 10:30-11:45 a.m.
Cost: $20

Description: Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninoff’s life and creative career was bisected by the trauma of self-imposed exile from his Russian homeland after the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. However, the common image of the composer as a melancholic exile, eternally mourning his lost home, hides a far more multi-faceted figure. Drawing from her forthcoming biography of the composer, Rebecca Mitchell shares insights into Rachmaninoff’s life, music and inspiration.

Instructor: Rebecca Mitchell is Assistant Professor of History at Middlebury College. Her research explores the cultural and intellectual history of the Russian empire, with particular interest in the intersection between philosophical views, artistic expression and identity politics within the multi-ethnic context of the Russian lands, as well as the trans-national spread of culture and ideas.

Feminist Joy

Instructors: Catharine Wright & Rose Evans
Dates: Wednesdays, February 3 & 10
Time: 1:30-2:45 p.m.
Cost: $20

Description: Feminists are often perceived as “killjoys,” but in these two sessions we will explore feminist approaches to joy, both theoretically and experientially. We will send out a few short readings ahead and will lead participants in reflection, discussion and some creative practices.

Instructor: Catharine Wright is an eighth generation Vermonter and an Associate Professor at Middlebury College. Her courses focus on writing and gender, with emphasis on narratives of resistance. She has published short fiction, poems and essays in many journals and is co-author/editor of two books, Vermonters at Their Craft (New England Press) and Social Justice Education (Stylus Press). She has earned Mellon grants for faculty collaboration across institutions.

Instructor: Rose Evans is a student-athlete at Middlebury College majoring in English & American Literature and Gender, Sexuality & Feminist Studies. Her areas of study and interest include reproductive health and creative writing, and she has worked for elected officials, the Addison County Independent, and NARAL Pro-Choice America, as well as for Professor Wright. 

Re-Presenting Enslavement

Instructor: Will Nash
Dates: Thursdays, February 4, 11 & 18
Time: 10:30-11:45 a.m.
Cost: $30

Description: In 2001, historian Ira Berlin wrote that “slavery has become a language, a way to talk about race, in a society in which blacks and whites hardly talk to each other at all.”  Twenty years later, that is perhaps even more true. In these sessions, we will look at modern re-presentations of enslavement to see what they can teach us about the present and the past of American racial conflict.

Instructor: William R. Nash is Professor of American Studies and English and American Literatures. He is the author of Charles Johnson’s Fiction and co-editor of Charles Johnson: The Novelist as Philosopher. His current research focuses on contemporary representations of American chattel slavery, with a special emphasis on the Underground Railroad.

Studio Tour and Painting Demonstration

Instructor: Rebecca Kinkead
Date: Tuesday, February 16
Time: 10:30-11:45 a.m.
Cost: $10

Description: Join Rebecca for a studio tour and demonstration of her unique painting process using cold wax and oil paint. Rebecca will demonstrate the various tools and techniques she uses in her work.

Instructor: Rebecca Kinkead is a Vermont-based artist who lives and works in Cornwall, Vt. She holds degrees in Political Science and French from the University of Vermont, and a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art from Minnesota State University. Rebecca works both on large canvases and in much smaller formats and has co-created a paint recipe blending oils, wax and chalk that captures the luminescence and movement of the animals and people she paints. She has recently captured familiar faces in The Neighbor Project, a series of paintings that invite anyone to sit and be captured in a moment. You can find her work displayed locally as well as internationally. 

Book Group: James Joyce’s Ulysses

Instructor: Paul Christensen
Dates: Wednesdays, February 17 & 24, March 3, 10 & 17
Time: 10:30 a.m.-noon
Cost: $50 (book not included)

Description: James Joyce’s Ulysses appeared in book form in 1922, shortly after the end of World War I, and plumbs the depths of modern subjectivity as a son, Stephen Dedalus, wanders through Dublin in search of his figurative father, Leopold Bloom. The English language is expanded to its limits and absorbs many of the leading concepts of modern thought as we explore what it means to be alive after an era of horror and holocaust. The course runs for five weeks and each of the five meetings features an introductory lecture followed by an open dialog with students about the reading assignment. (We will order the book at a discount through the Vermont Book Shop, which you can then arrange to pay for and pick up.)

Instructor: Paul Christensen taught contemporary literature at Texas A&M University and coordinated its creative writing program. His short stories have appeared in national journals and reviews, and he is the author of two memoirs and studies of the American poets Charles Olson and Clayton Eshleman.

The Hollywood Musical: Part 4

Instructor: Robert Wyatt
Date: Tuesday, February 23
Time: 10:30-11:45 a.m.
Cost: $10

Description: The 1960s was the major decade for successful movie musicals, especially movies based on hit Broadway musicals. Three of the films won Academy Awards for best picture: “West Side Story” in 1961, “My Fair Lady” in 1964 and “The Sound of Music” in 1965. The 60s was also the era in which many of film history’s most successful and adored musicals were born. The 1960s saw the release of the first of the Disney non-animated movie musicals, including “Mary Poppins” and “Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang.” The last of a four-part series on the Hollywood Musical, don’t miss the going-away party.

Instructor: Robert Wyatt is a Steinway Artist who has performed throughout the United States and internationally, gathering critical acclaim for sensitive and colorful solo and chamber music recitals. He delights audiences with a rare blend of pianistic savvy and engaging storytelling that makes each performance a creative event.

Film Discussion: It’s a Wonderful Life

Instructor: Rick Hawley
Date: Thursday, February 25
Time: 1:30-2:45 p.m.
Cost: $10

Description: Undoubtedly, every American of some years has seen Frank Capra’s 1946 masterpiece, It’s A Wonderful Life; it is likely that we’ve seen it multiple times. The story is of course wholesome and uplifting, but the film’s greatness can be attributed to more than that. Looked at closely, It’s A Wonderful Life is an exploration of life’s ultimate purpose as well as what constitutes civil society and its enemies. In preparation for this class, please view the film again in advance (easily accessed via Netflix, Amazon Prime, and cable networks). Our discussion will invite a consideration of how and why enduring films endure.

Instructor: Richard Hawley, Ph.D., is a lifelong teacher, writer and musician. For four decades he taught, coached and counseled boys at Cleveland’s University School, serving for 17 years as the school’s headmaster. He has published 30 books, dozens of articles, stories and poems in publications ranging from The Atlantic to the New England Journal of Medicine. Also a lifelong piano player, Hawley has performed in jazz clubs and other venues across the country.