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Belfast Senior College

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The Manhattan Project: How It Came to Be


with Peter Reilly

Calendar Jan 12, 2022 at 9:30 am, runs for 4 weeks

The course will start with an overview of a nuclear armed world and a “third grade” introduction to the science of the atom and then quickly move to the Manhattan Project story, the story of how the United States first developed the atom bomb. How did the United States become the first nation to perfect this instrument of destruction, who were some of the people involved, where did it happen and how did others follow. What was everyone thinking back then?

Peter Reilly has presented a number of well-received classes at Senior College on a variety of topics. He holds a BS and MBA from Monmouth University

Belfast's Hidden Prehistory


with Steve Hutchings

Calendar Jan 18, 2022 at 9:30 am, runs for 6 weeks

The mid-coast region of Maine has an incredible amount of archeological studies and excavations, perhaps more than any other place in the United States. Belfast is rarely mentioned and has no official Native American historic research, although its river's name may be translated as "fishing for sturgeons by torchlight". I have spent 6 years researching the history and collecting artifacts above the walking bridge. I will share that research and present one version of past native American activity along with related artifacts.

Steve Hutchings grew up in the historic seaport town of Marblehead Mass where he had no choice but to develop a love of history. With a freshly minted degree in Marine Biology (master's in education later) moved to Mid Coast Maine in 1976 and is a 40-year retired High School educator having taught both Environmental Science and Mathematics at Belfast Area High School and Medomak Valley High. For the past seven years, he has delved into the study of Pre-historic Maine and in particular the activity in the Mid-Coast area. Through researching Archaeological literature and practical hands-on study of ground stone local artifacts, he has developed a good working knowledge of artifacts and the culture of the Stone Age that he hopes to share. He enjoys almost any activity involving the water or woods and collects objects of interest some of which he finds in the ground. Teaching developed into his calling and the collecting and study of Indian artifacts and their culture is his passion.

Will run

The Poet's Preface


with John McClenahen

Calendar Jan 20, 2022 at 9:30 am, runs for 4 weeks

Walt Whitman's prose preface to the first edition of Leaves of Grass is seldom read and less frequently noted. This course aims to correct these shortcomings by revealing the lyric quality of Whitman's prose, exploring Whitman's poetic principles, and considering Whitman's concept of the poet.

John McClenahen, a published poet and photographer, moved to Swanville in October 2020 from Delaware. John has university degrees in English, government, history, and philosophy, and has taught at George Washington University in Washington, DC, and in the University of Delaware’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in Lewes, DE.

Note: No class on Feb 10

Rethinking American Grand Strategy 


with Bob Rackmales

Calendar Feb 10, 2022 at 9:30 am, runs for 4 weeks

This course is based on the eponymous book edited by Andrew Preston, Elizabeth Borgwardt, and Christopher Nichols (OUP, 2021).  In its pages, leading scholars from twenty US and three foreign universities expand the scope of American diplomatic and military history by placing grand strategies involving public health, race, gender, culture, and the law into a framework usually dominated by experts in weaponry and geopolitics.  Among the many articles providing ample food for thought are: “The Blob and the Mob” by Beverly Gage, whose recent resignation as Director of the grand strategy program at Yale received national attention, “The Unbearable Whiteness of Grand Strategy” by Adriane Lentz-Smith of Duke University, and “Reproductive Politics and Grand Strategy” by Laura Briggs of UMass, Amherst.  Because of the wide range of subjects covered, class members will be encouraged to indicate particular areas of interest in advance to facilitate course planning.  They will be expected to have read at least those sections of the book most relevant to their particular interests.

Bob Rackmales is a native of Baltimore, and has degrees in history from Johns Hopkins and Indiana University. After entering the Foreign Service he served overseas in Nigeria (twice), Croatia, Somalia, Italy (twice) and Serbia. His Washington assignments included tours in State's European, Intelligence and Research, Human Rights and Personnel Bureaus and the Office of the Inspector General. He lives in Belfast with his wife, Mary, and has taught at Senior College since 2006.

This course is cross-listed with Coastal Senior College.

Making Maple


with David Greeley

Calendar Feb 17, 2022 at 9:30 am, runs for 4 weeks

In late February sugaring starts. The days are stretching out and starting to go above freezing. On February 17th we will tap. You will need snowshoes and if you don't have them I have several pairs to loan. A battery powered drill would be good if you have one. The trees are on a pipeline, so we do not need to hump buckets of sap. On subsequent Thursday mornings we will check the lines and sugar off. The evaporator is in a large comfortable glass greenhouse, so course participants won't freeze.

David Greeley has lived and farmed in Jackson for 40+ years and with his wife Janice Anthony, has raised three sons there. He keeps cattle, has extensive gardens, makes cider, and enjoys a beautiful and productive landscape not far from Belfast. He has taught courses for Belfast Senior College and is a member of the Curriculum Committee.

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