Emeritus Society Fall 2021

About the Emeritus Society

The goal of the Emeritus Society is to provide stimulating noncredit opportunities for adult learners of all ages. The program provides a learning environment that affirms the unique attributes that the adult learner brings to the classroom – delight in the joy of learning, intellectual savvy, and substantive life experience. Students are encouraged and supported in pursuing their intellectual interests with like-minded peers. Our college-level courses are designed to satisfy a hunger for intellectual nourishment without the pressure of tests and grades.

This fall the program is excited to offer courses and lectures taught by outstanding UNC Greensboro and North Carolina A&T State University faculty noted for their scholarship and engaging classroom style. Some classes will be offered face-to-face; others will meet online via Zoom. We hope you will find one or more of interest and join us.


We've updated our registration system to a system called RegPack, which is different from what we used for Fall 2019 and Spring 2020. If you have not registered for a class previously, you will need to create a new account. The person who creates the account is considered the primary and has the ability to register him or herself or another individual. One account can register one or more students, no need to create two accounts. It will save payment information, if you would like, to make the payment for each student easy, please follow the steps when prompted.


Please be sure that the email address you provide is current. That email will be used to invite you to enter Zoom meetings. In the weeks before classes start, you will be sent an introduction to Zoom materials. In addition, staff will be available a half-hour before the first class for orientation help. 

Emeritus Society courses are open to people of all ages and educational backgrounds. The program is a self-supporting arm of the University. Class fees, not tax dollars, are used to meet costs for the program. Each course costs $120.

You are registered only when payment is received. Register early to avoid inconvenience. Late registrants could miss important announcements such as last-minute changes in location. Instructors may not have enough materials for those registering late. Registration is on a first come, first served basis. If the class you want is filled, we keep a waiting list. Partial registrations to attend portions of the classes cannot be accepted. Detailed information on class location and parking will be supplied upon confirmation.


  1. Look through the course descriptions below this section
  2. Click "Register Here" linked below or the "Register for this course" button below each course description. (browsers other than Safari, like Chrome or Firefox work best for registration)
  3. Create an account or sign into your existing account (make sure your user information is updated and correct)
  4. Register yourself
  5. Complete class selections
  6. Confirm selections
  7. Make a payment (save if you wish to register a friend or spouse)
  8. Repeat steps 4-7 for additional students (they do not have to create a separate account)
  9. You will receive a registration confirmation email and a payment confirmation email for each registration.

Register Here!

Please note: The charge will appear on your statement as being from Emeritus Society or SERVE, Inc.


To receive a refund, a written request must be received (emeritus@serve.org) prior to the first class meeting. A $5 processing fee will be deducted from the refund. Cancellation requests received after the first class meeting but before the second meeting will receive a full refund minus a $15 cancellation fee.


If you experience any issues registering please call (336) 740-0211 or email us at emeritus@serve.org.



    A Historical Deconstruction of Critical Race Theory

    Monday, September 13, 11:00 am

    Online via Zoom

    No charge, but registration is required

    Omar H. Ali (Ph.D., Columbia University) is Dean of Lloyd International Honors College at UNC Greensboro. A historian of the global African Diaspora, he was selected as The Carnegie Foundation North Carolina Professor of the Year.

    History Behind the Headlines

     Daily we are bombarded with surprising and sometimes alarming developments and challenges to the world in which we live. Join Dr. Jeff Jones as he brings to light the historical roots of one of our contemporary world’s crisis situations. Given the rapid change of world events, the topic won’t be chosen until closer to the lecture.

    Tuesday, September 14, 10:00 am

    Online via Zoom

    No charge, but registration is required

    Jeff Jones (Ph.D., UNC-Chapel Hill) is an Associate Professor of Russian-Soviet and contemporary world history at UNC Greensboro. His book, Everyday Life and the ‘Reconstruction’ of Soviet Russia During and After the Great Patriotic War, 1943-1948, was published by Slavica Publishers in 2008. He is currently completing a book entitled Smoke, Mirrors and Memories: Varying Perspectives of the Soviet-Afghan War, 1979-1989, forthcoming (hopefully) in 2022.



    With the long-awaited opening of the Steven Tanger Center for the Performing Arts in Greensboro, our community will have the opportunity to experience theatre in exciting new ways. In this course, we will explore theatre through the multifaceted discipline of semiotics, the study of how signs and symbols create meaning. We will uncover the symbol systems of the stage, examining the roles of each of the theatre artists — and how they function to support the telling of a story on stage. Beginning with the source material (the play itself), we will go on to examine all the artists who collaborate to craft what you — the audience member - see and hear as you construct meaning from their choices. Everything is an intentional choice on the stage; exploring how we interpret those choices allows us greater freedom and range to better understand why we are moved by the theatre we experience. You will have the opportunity to engage critically in a hands-on manner with the discipline of theatre, enhancing and expanding your Theatre Critical Literacy vocabulary. 

    1. The Playwright: source material as a springboard for the creative process
    2. The Director: vision, interpretation, and synthesis as the guideposts in the process
    3. The Designer: crafting the world of the play while supporting the given circumstances in the text
    4. The Actor: identifying and clearly articulating the tools of the actor: voice, body, mind, and imagination
    5. The Dramaturg: the essential nature of researching in the process of creating art with integrity
    6. The Audience Member: the construction of meaning as the critical component in storytelling

    Mondays, 3:00 – 4:30 pm

    September 20 – November 1 (no class October 11)

    Holy Trinity Episcopal Church

    Rachel Briley (MFA, Arizona State University) is Associate Professor in the School of Theatre at UNC Greensboro. She is head of the MFA program in Theatre for Youth and Director of the North Carolina Theatre for Young People. She has served as a writer and editor for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC. Formerly a professor at Gallaudet University, she is fluent in American Sign Language. She was a contributor to the seminal document published during the Clinton administration transforming STEM education into STEAM education — legitimizing the rightful place of the performing arts in educational settings. Professor Briley is also proficient in Spanish, a classical pianist (having received her undergraduate degree in piano), a kite surfer, and an aspiring mandolin player.


    One might suppose that simple words such as real, bad, and good would convey unambiguous meanings. However, when applied both by artists and critics to paintings and modes of painting over these decades in these important cultural centers, we find that confusions abound; meanings appear to reverse. Did artists and critics not know what they were making, were saying, were looking at, or what they were writing? Did the art world follow Alice through the looking glass? Curiouser and curiouser.


    1. The academic paradigm of the ­ beau idéal and the Beaux-Arts


    1. Rude Frenchmen who should know better: Courbet and Manet
    1. The Pre-Raphaelite Brexit avant la lettre
    1. Naughtiness in Philadelphia: Eakins and the Pennsylvania Academy
    1. The further decline of culture: Monet and his sort
    1. Oracular: The Real View from the Eiffel Tower

    Tuesdays, 2:00 – 3:30 pm

    September 21 – November 2 (no class October 5)

    Holy Trinity Episcopal Church

    Richard Gantt (MS, UNC Chapel Hill, MFA, UNC Greensboro) is retired from the UNC Greensboro Department of Art where he taught art history for more than 30 years. His many research interests include architecture, landscape and urban design of 17 th century France, and 17 th and 18 th century architecture, urban planning and nationalist agendas in early modern London.



    One of the greatest rewards offered by the study of history is the chance to recognize how the present is linked in real and direct ways to events long ago and often in far distant lands. We can see how our lives and culture are the result of a continuous chain of contingencies. We then may begin to look at affairs in the broadest perspective and appreciate that there is really only one history — global human history. This series will explore the interconnectedness of events over time by looking at various familiar facets of American history from the 15th through the 20th centuries in the context of this larger, global history. We will discover that in unexpected ways events in places such as China, Turkey, Africa, and India have played fundamentally important roles in shaping our American world.

    1. The Crusades and the Discovery of America
    2. The Viking Role in Creating American Society
    3. Turkish Expansion and American Slavery
    4. India and the Industrialization of the U.S.
    5. The Chinese Background of the American Civil War
    6. The Fall of Constantinople and the Cold War

    Wednesdays, 10:00–11:30 am

    September 29 – November 3

    Holy Trinity Episcopal Church

    Stephen Ruzicka (Ph.D., University of Chicago) is Professor of History at UNC Greensboro. He is a recipient of the Alumni Teaching Excellence Award. As an ancient historian he writes about the 4th century B.C., but he likes to talk about everything. 



    In today’s world, we’re often confronted with widely divergent views on many issues involving science and technology. It’s increasingly difficult to figure out what to believe when not all sources of information and opinion are equally reliable. The rapid spread of misinformation about the current pandemic and about the vaccines for COVID-19 has been a vivid illustration of these challenges. To be an informed citizen, we each must try to make the best decisions possible, based on an evaluation of the available evidence. One goal of this course is to help students learn to identify reliable sources of information. We will consider several current controversies related to the life sciences and to human health. Class sessions will consist of a mix of lectures and discussion. After the instructors review the state of the science about a topic and the controversies surrounding the topic, members of the class will have an opportunity to ask questions and participate in discussions about those issues. 

    1. Why are some people so resistant to vaccination? Is there a real basis for the fears expressed by “anti-vaxxers?” Is it possible to change people’s opinions about vaccines?
    1. Can we improve our genes? Is DNA destiny? There have been spectacular recent gains in genetic technology. Curing genetic diseases such as sickle cell anemia seems unambiguously good, but what about using the same technology to “improve” humans? Also, how meaningful are the health predictions we get from companies that analyze our genomes?
    1. How are new medical treatments evaluated? How do we know what’s safe and what works? A case in point: the new FDA-approved drug for treating Alzheimer’s disease, which may well not work. 
    1. Who’s to blame when there’s a bad outcome? Who deserves compensation? An example: Recent settlements of lawsuits claiming that Johnson & Johnson talc-containing products cause cancer.
    1. What should we eat for a healthy diet? Are genetically modified foods safe and nutritious, or should we avoid them? Does sugar really “feed” cancer? Why is there so much contradictory diet advice?
    1. Topic(s) for the final class session will come from suggestions from members of the class

    Wednesdays, 2:00 – 3:30 pm

    September 22 – November 3 (no class October 20)

    Christ United Methodist Church

     Note: Students will most likely be asked to wear masks.

    Janne Cannon (Ph.D., UNC-Chapel Hill) is Professor Emerita in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the UNC Chapel Hill School of Medicine and an Adjunct Professor at UNC Greensboro.

    Rob Cannon (Ph.D., University of Delaware) is Professor Emeritus in the UNC Greensboro Department of Biology where he taught courses in microbiology and served as the longtime pre-med and health professions advisor.


    Once, the “old, old story” was shockingly new—shocking to devotees of material wealth and privilege, shocking to the cult of centralizing state power, shocking to the masses who called Caesar Lord, and above all shocking to the religious guardians of Hebrew law and ritual who had kept their fathers’ faith for nearly two thousand years and awaited a deliverer. How to tell the story of the anointed King’s long-expected—and unexpected—coming, and to tell it to the diverse audiences of the great Empire: to the rule-bound and unruly people of Judea; to the Romans who engineered the Empire with skill, duty, and terror; to the Greeklands and the larger Hellenistic world which sought to know the universally human and link it to the divine; or to acolytes of the Gnostic movement rising to compete with the early church by bending its story to different purposes? And how to tell not only the new story of the King’s coming but also the ongoing story of what his beleaguered and emboldened followers did after he left?

    In this course we will enjoy a brisk tour of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, as well as the Acts of the Apostles, with a few animating literary questions in mind: What do these first books of the New Testament owe to the Old in style, form, and substance? What can be known—rather than speculatively guessed—about the Gospels’ and Acts’ authors, composition, and contexts? What contents and structures do these five books share in common? Yet how do they speak differently to their varied readers? And how, in their very brevity and simplicity, do they exemplify the ancient Hebrew trope of the climactic anti-climax? Like David’s sudden slaying of Goliath, the lightning ministry of the New Testament Christ leaves the reader gaping at a pathway strewn with miracles, an empty cross and an empty tomb. Anticipated in epic oracles spanning twenty centuries, the Son of Man is come and gone in a three-year flash, leaving in his wake puzzlement, startled hostility, and reverent, hopeful awe. Never has “less is more” meant so much to so many. Join us! 

    1. Gospel vs. Biography: Chosen Stories of the Chosen One
    2. Matthew: Jesus, Son of Abraham
    3. Mark: Jesus, Son of God
    4. Luke: Jesus, Son of Adam
    5. Acts of the Holy Spirit: The World Turned Upside Down
    6. John: Jesus, Son of the Father, Word Made Flesh

    Any good translation of the Bible will do. Dr. Hodgkins will be using the New King James Version.

    Thursdays, 10:00 – 11:30 am

    September 23 – November 11 (no class October 7 and 14)

    Christ United Methodist Church

    Christopher Hodgkins (M.A. and PhD, University of Chicago) is Professor of English and Atlantic World Studies. The winner of UNCG’s Senior Teaching Excellence Award (2004) and Senior Research Excellence Award (2011), he is author or editor of seven books on Renaissance literature and the British imperial imagination, and, most recently, of Literary Study of the Bible: An Introduction (Wiley-Blackwell, 2020)—from which this course material is drawn. Recipient of three grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, he currently co-edits George Herbert: Complete Works for Oxford University Press (both digital and print) and directs the international George Herbert Society and UNCG’s Atlantic World Research Network. He sits on the Executive Committee of the Folger Institute at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., and on the Consortium Board of the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, Virginia. He is directing a George Herbert Society conference at Cambridge University set for June 2022, and a UNCG Literary London Program projected for May-June 2022. He reads the Bible every day because it is true and beautiful.



    The history of the region known as Latin America is a history of struggle. For centuries Latin Americans have struggled against various forms of oppression, inequality, and violence. An examination of those struggles reveals a world of beautiful visions but also horrifying nightmares. This course aims to introduce students to the history of Latin Americans’ struggles to create freer, fairer, more inclusive societies. Our focus will be on the modern period of Latin American history, which is to say the period that begins with the region’s political independence in the early 1800s. We will then move through the following two centuries with an eye on the major movements for social change. As we will see, three main ideologies—liberalism, nationalism, and socialism—guided those movements. As we will also see, Latin America’s struggles were part of global struggles. This was especially true during the Cold War, which left a searing imprint on Latin America. The region is still contending with the haunting memories of that tragic era, even while it faces up to the new challenges brought about by contemporary regional and global developments.

    1. The Struggle against Colonial Rule and its Aftermath, 1800s-1840s
    2. The Liberal Assault on the Conservative Order, 1840s-1890s
    3. Nationalism, Economic Development, and Modernization, 1890s-1950s
    4. From Populist Reform to Socialist Revolution, 1950s-1990s
    5. Counterinsurgency, Civil War, and Military Rule, 1950s-1990s
    6. Historical Memories and New Challenges, 1990s-2020s

    Thursdays, 3:00 – 4:30 pm

    September 23 – October 28

    Holy Trinity Episcopal Church

    James A. Wood (Ph.D., UNC-Chapel Hill) is a Professor of History specializing in modern Latin America in the Department of History and Political Science at North Carolina A&T State University. His book The Society of Equality: Popular Republicanism and Democracy in Santiago de Chile, 1818-1851 was published by the University of New Mexico Press in 2011. In 2016 he was the recipient of a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program award for Chile. He is the co-editor of the widely adopted textbook Problems in Modern Latin American History: Sources and Interpretations, now in its fifth edition with Rowman and Littlefield.



    This course explores the history of Greensboro as part of the wider world. Home to indigenous peoples, migrants, and refugees from across the nation and the globe, Greensboro—and the wider county of Guilford, of which it is part—encompasses a vibrant mix of people and traditions. We will look at the history, politics, and cultures of Greensboro as a reflection and microcosm of both the United States and the world.

    1. Native Carolinians and Early Immigration
    1. Regulators and Revolution
    1. Slavery and Quaker Abolitionists
    1. Civil War, Reconstruction, and the Postbellum Era
    1. Industry and the Creation of a City
    1. The Civil Rights Movement up to the Present

    Fridays, 10:00 – 11:30 am

    September 24 – October 29

    Holy Trinity Episcopal Church

    Virginia Summey (Ph.D., UNC Greensboro) teaches in the Lloyd International Honors College and works as an independent scholar. A native North Carolinian, her research foci are North Carolina history, southern political history, U.S. women's history, and civil rights. Her book on pioneering Judge Elreta Melton Alexander will be released by the University of Georgia Press in early 2022. She lives in Winston-Salem with her husband, Graham, kids Hannah and Marshall, and dog, Grits.


    Fact vs. Fiction: How to Tell a True Story

    Where do you draw the line between biography and the novel? The imagined and the lived? Can fiction be true? This fall, we’ll test Neil Gaimon’s belief that fiction tells truths. We’ll read three novels all based on real people. William Shakespeare and John Brown are two of the most famous people who ever lived, while Alice James, identified in most descriptions of her life as sister to Henry and William, is not.

    We’ll take a look at the facts too — when and where and how our characters lived, what they accomplished, what they said, and how others saw them. Finally, we’ll explore together why a writer chooses fiction to write biography and what truth fiction can reveal. 

    Our novels in order:

    Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

    The Good Lord Bird by James McBride

    What Alice Knew by Paula Marantz Cohen

    Secondary reading will be emailed before class begins.

    Mondays 10:30 – noon

    September 20 - November 1 (no class October 11)

    Online via Zoom

    Hephzibah Roskelly (Ph.D., University of Louisville) is Professor Emerita of Rhetoric and Composition at UNC Greensboro. She is the recipient of the Alumni Teaching Excellence Award and the UNC Board of Governor’s Teaching Excellence Award.

    Rock Music in the 1980s: Glitz, Glam and Guts

    The roots of rock music run deep in modern American history and culture. From the blending of different musical styles such as blues, country, jazz, and folk, to its connection to culture and politics, rock music has had a tremendous impact on our society. Artists of the ‘70s had redefined what rock music could be, expanding the art form to show its diversity, progressiveness and danceable groove. Not to be outdone, the ‘80s came along and proved that rock music not only was still developing, but also could reach even higher levels of glamour and heart-felt passion. At a time when foreign relations were sometimes cold, the music and the attitude was hot. Go find your favorite bedazzled jacket, spray up your mullet hairdo, and slip into your most comfortable acid washed jeans. Next stop: the glamorous world of 1980s rock and roll!

    (Note: Course may contain offensive language and material. It’s rock and roll!)

    1. Transition: Goodbye Punk, Hello New Wave!
    2. MTV: The New Visual Era
    3. Classic Rock of the ‘80s
    4. Rock, Rap, and Soul of the ‘80s: The Thin Line
    5. Heavy Metal Goes Mainstream
    6. Rock Gives Back

    Tuesdays, 10:00 -11:30 am

    September 21 – November 2 (no class October 12)

    Online via Zoom

    Brian Carter (DMA, University of Michigan) is Lecturer at UNC Greensboro’s School of Music and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Music at Elon University. Prior to recently returning to his home of Greensboro, he was a professional opera and classical concert singer, and Clinical Assistant Professor of Music at Washington State University where he specialized in Vocal Studies and Literature, and History of Rock Music. 

    History’s Mysteries

    This course offers a fun and light-hearted introduction to people and places throughout history that are shrouded in mystery. From more traditional academic topics to the supernatural and urban legends, participants will examine primary sources related to each topic, discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the evidence, and decide for themselves what they believe is the most logical conclusion. Along the way, we’ll discuss the methods historians use to reconstruct the past so that you can apply these critical thinking skills in other areas of your day-to-day life. If you’ve always been curious about the past and want the tools to analyze it critically, then this course is for you.

    1. What happened to the Lost Colony at Roanoke?
    2. Where did Amelia Earhart go?
    3. Who was D.B. Cooper?
    4. How did the Grail become Holy?
    5. Why do stories of Bigfoot endure?
    6. Concluding Thoughts

    Thursdays, 11:00 -12:30 pm

    October 14 – November 18

    Online via Zoom

    Joseph A. Ross (Ph.D., UNC Greensboro) is a Lecturer in UNCG’s Lloyd International Honors College and a teaching assistant professor in the Peace, War, and Defense curriculum at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill , where he also serves on the Advisory Board of the Conflict Management Initiative. He teaches a variety of courses on historical and interdisciplinary topics. He has received teaching support from the Mellon Foundation Initiative, UNCG’s University Teaching & Learning Commons, and UNC’s Summer School.