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Academy of Learning in Retirement

Our Spring 2014 schedule includes a varitey of topics. Make sure you attend them all!



Islam and the West: Cultural

Contacts, Conflicts, and



Presented by Dr. Margaret Malamud

Professor of History, NMSU


Lecture 1: Examination of the origins of Islam and its relationship to Judaism and Christianity.


Lecture 2: Exploration of how Islamic civilization made  the European Renaissance possible.


Lecture 3 & 4: Analysis of the Crusades and the Reconquest of Spain and their enduring legacies.


Dates: Tuesdays and Thursdays


January 14, 16, 21 & 23



Contemporary Native Americans


Presented by Donald D. Pepion, Ed.D.

College Professor Anthropology, NMSU


A broad portrait of present day Native Americans will include the topics: Who or What is an Indian?

Case Studies of the Iroquois and the Blackfeet; Southwest American Indians, case studies of the Hopi and the Navajo.


Dates: Mondays and Wednesdays


February 3, 5, 10, & 12


Weather and Climate

 Presented by Dr. Dave DuBois

State Climatologist, Department of Plant & Environmental Sciences, NMSU


Our atmosphere and its manifestation through weather and climate have intrigued us all at one point including some notable scientists in the past including Hippocrates, Aristotle, Newton, Pascal, Benjamin Franklin, Dalton, and Rossby just to name a few.

 We will first touch on the history of weather measurements over time and how they shaped society and our world.

The second talk will be close to home and cover climates and weather patternsfound in New Mexico. Extremes such as floods, heat waves, cold snaps, and severe weather are important topics and will be discussed. As we face a multi-year drought, its definition, impacts, forecasts, and man's attempts to mitigate it will also be covered.

 The last half of the lectures will focus on the human fingerprint on our atmosphere. The third talk will cover the history of air pollution and effects on our earth. The final lecture will cover the basic elements of climate change of the past, present, and possible future.


Dates: Mondays and Wednesdays


March 17, 19, 24, and 26



From the Audience: Presentations by

Members of the Academy for Learning

in Retirement

Part I. Salt of the Earth: The Historic

Struggle of Mexican American

Laborers in Grant County, NM


Presented by Elisa Sanchez

Creator and former director of Engaging Latino

Communities for Education, NMSU



This is a personal story of a labor strike which involved Mexican American women and national politics during the McCarthy era. This event led to the making of the blacklisted film, "Salt of the Earth", which will be shown during this presentation.


Dates: Tuesday and Thursday


 April 1, 3


Part II. Observations of Earth from Space


Presented by Dr. Thomas Schmugge

Volunteer, Water Resources Research Institute, NMSU


Some of the basic principles of remote sensing from space will be reviewed, and examples of space data for climate change and water resources in New Mexico will be given.


Dates: Tuesday and Thursday

April 8, 10



World Dance


Presented by Prof. Frank Gilpin

Dept. of Human Performance, Dance & Recreation,



I will start by initiating a brief movement component of around 20 minutes for the group to explore the "roots" of each topic, then present a power point with pertinent video clips ending with a group discussion to share view points and summarize.



1: The Power and Spirituality of dance.



2: Dance of Realms and Social dance.



3: Classic dance and dance in new worlds.



4: "Modern" dance and where dance has gone

and may go driven by global and market forces



Tuesdays and Thursdays

May 13, 15, 20,& 22

Our Fall 2014 schedule includes a varitey of topics. Make sure you attend them all!


A Geographer’s Way of Understanding the World

Presented by Dr. John Wright, Rents Professor of Geography, NMSU

In “China’s Urban Gamble,” we will look at the economic, cultural, and environmental effects of the most rapid urban expansion in world history.  In “Ukraine Confronts Russia,” the current political upheaval will be described and interpreted with an eye on Vladimir Putin’s goals.  In “Japan: Tsunamis, Nuclear Power, and the Bushido Code,” the 2011 natural disaster will be linked to the country’s unique physical and historical geography.  In “Trekking to Upper Mustang, Nepal,” we will explore a remote Buddhist kingdom in Himalaya Mountains on the border with Tibet. 

Dates:   Mondays and Wednesdays

              September 15, 17, 22 & 24


Nationalism, Ethnic Cleansing, and Genocide

Presented by Dr. Andrea Orzoff, Associate Professor of History, NMSU

What is nationalism, this mysterious force which has brought ancient empires to their knees, created new countries, and destroyed them again?  How and why does nationalism lead to ethnic or religious violence? What is the difference between ethnic cleansing and genocide, and how had the international community contributed to these events’ unfolding? Is it accurate, or appropriate, to describe the Holocaust as a paradigmatic genocide?  Dr. Orzoff’s lectures will address these issues and more, focusing on European nationalism and violence during the modern period.

Dates:   Mondays and Wednesdays

                October 20, 22, 27, & 29



Theatre: Beginnings to Broadway

Presented by Professor Tom Smith, Department Head, NMSU Theatre Arts

Lecture 1:            Pre-Show: Origins

Lecture 2:            Act 1: Shakespeare to Melodrama

Lecture 3:            Act 2: American Theatre and the rise of the Musical

Lecture 4:            Post-Show: the 21st Century and Broadway today

Dates    Mondays and Wednesdays

                November 3, 5, 10, & 12


How Memory Works

Presented by Melissa J. Guynn, PH.D., Associate Professor of Psychology, NMSU

Topics to be covered include:

·         How we answer questions about memory in the laboratory

·         Classifications of different types of memory

·         Basic memory mechanisms of encoding (into memory) and retrieval (from memory)

·         Common memory metaphors

·         Problems with normal memory that are likely by products of an adaptive memory system

·         Memory in the real world and techniques to improve this memory

·         Aging and memory

·         Evidence regarding effects of brain specific nutrients on memory

Dates:   Tuesdays and Thursdays

                December 2, 4, 9, & 11