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Belfast Senior College

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Remote course via Zoom

in Location

War, Protest, Great Music and Bob Dylan


with Peter Reilly

Calendar Mar 30, 2023 at 1 pm, runs for 6 weeks


This course is actually a compilation of two previously taught courses, War, Protest and Music which was taught only on zoom and Bob Dylan and The Path to The Nobel Prize for Literature - taught on Zoom and In-Person. Today with so much happening with respect to actual war and talk of war throughout the world, we thought the timing might be very appropriate to revisit these topics. And of course the recent passing of David Crosby of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young reminds us of the tremendous music and talent that the middle of the 20th century produced. We will look at some of the events and divisions of the 1950s, 60s and 70s (Vietnam, Civil Rights, social injustice) and how those events inspired a generation. So this course will have plenty of music! The first three classes will concentrate on protest events and protest music in general. The last three classes will examine the person who many feel was the number one writer and performer of protest music in the 1960s - Bob Dylan. A complex person with incredible talent, who intrigues us not only with his music, but the fact that he claims none of his songs are protest songs. Lastly we can not study Bob Dylan without thoroughly dissecting whether he deserved a Nobel Prize for Literature.

Pete Reilly holds BS & MBA degrees from Monmouth University. He has taught at Senior College for over 10 years.

Giants in the Earth: Immigrants on the Prairie


with Arlin Larson

Calendar Apr 4, 2023 at 1 pm, runs for 6 weeks


During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, millions of Europeans emigrated to the United States. These included around a third of Norway’s total population. Farmers and fishermen, they sought to escape poverty and political oppression while seeking freedom and prosperity. They were not unlike the millions now seeking refuge from south of our border. O.E. Rolvaag was one of those immigrants. In Giants, he chronicles what he saw as the heroic first wave which broke with the homeland and succeeded in taming the wilderness of the Dakota Territories. The central characters are Per Hansa and Beret Holm. They leave Norway under troubled circumstances that leave him resolute and determined but her guilt-ridden and fearful. Their mutual wonderment and incomprehension color their roles as leaders of a pioneer settlement and provides the primary dramatic tension. While a wide range of immigration issues are explored, such as language and customs, dearth of community-building institutions, homesickness, precarious economics, relations with unfamiliar peoples (Native Americans and the Irish), and disputes among themselves, Giants also relates a Norse saga level wrestling between the forces of humanity and those of an often-malevolent Nature with its scorching heat and drought, life-threatening blizzards, and plagues of locusts. You are likely to find the ending of Giants in the Earth disturbing even if somehow fitting but should know that the story continues in the second and third novels of the trilogy.

Required text(s) and course materials: O.E. Rolvaag, Giants in the Earth: A Saga of the Prairie, Harper Perennial, 1928. ISBN 978-0-06-093193-3 Recommended: O.E. Rolvaag, Peder Victorious and O.E. Rolvaag, Their Father’s God

The Rev. Dr. Arlin Larson has taught religion, history, and philosophy classes at Senior College since 2007. He did his undergraduate work at the University of Redlands and graduate work at the Divinity School of the University of Chicago. Arlin served on the Senior College Board for eight years, including three terms as president. His Norwegian ancestors came to America in the generation following that portrayed in Giants in the Earth. He and Sharon recently traveled to Rakkestad, Norway where his great-grandfather emigrated from.



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