With OLLI faculty writers:

Anita Amirrezvani was born in Tehran and raised in San Francisco. She has written two novels, The Blood of Flowers and Equal of the Sun. Amirrezvani co-edited the anthology Tremors: New Fiction by Iranian-American Writers. She teaches at the California College of the Arts.

Joy of Singing

Prepare your body, brain, and voice to sing with ease, expressiveness, and projection. Learn four traditional rounds and five part-songs by ear, plus choral skills such as legato, staccato, fermata, ritard, timbre, and head and chest voice. More experienced participants may sing in trios or anchor their sections. We will perform for invited guests during the last class. Open to all levels.


Iranian Cinema

Gain an overview of post-revolutionary Iranian national cinema, which has garnered international popularity and critical acclaim since the late 1980s for being innovative, ethical, and compassionate. Look at the work of contemporary filmmakers such as Abbas Kiarostami, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Bahram Beyzaii, and Asghar Farhadi. Discuss the role of censorship and the strong feminist tendencies of many contemporary Iranian films.


Shoguns, Samurai, and Survivors: Feudal Japan

Explore the cultural history of feudal Japan (1100–1800 CE), when “the Japanese became Japanese” by way of political, socioeconomic, and cultural changes that redirected the course of their civilization.


Global Warming: More Than an Inconvenient Truth

Cover the most salient issues in global warming, including: the history of its research; why the subject exploded in the 1980s; the relationship between the global carbon cycle and the burning of fossil fuels; the campaign against climate science; technological methods for stopping global warming; and changes to greenhouse gases over time. We will finish with speculations about the future of climate and of life on Earth. 


1968 and Its Contested Legacy

Reexamine common perspectives about an unruly year that remains politically and socially radioactive. We will aim to understand what Greil Marcus once called the “moods of rage, excitement, loneliness, fatalism, desire” that buffeted Berkeley and the world in 1968. A half-century later, we still don’t understand its legacy and need a more subtle comprehension of what a historical moment contains, as well as its unacknowledged victories and hidden defeats. 


Zen Buddhism and Temple Arts

Devotion in Buddhist spiritual life is expressed in an array of physical and artistic ways. Through lectures, visual materials, and hands-on practice, we will examine the beauty and creativity of practices such as the enso, zengo work, Japanese landscape gardening, altar care, and the way of tea. What are the aesthetic concerns around these rituals, and how do they impact social interactions? 



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