OSH 185 / Non Credit
Course taught in: English

Course description:  Traveling through time and territory, we will try to discover what has changed, and what has remained the same, what experiences and values Americans share, and which they do not, for each of these authors.  

Week 1

Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859), a  French sociologist and political theorist, traveled to the US in 1831, recording his observations about American culture in the classic work Democracy in America (1835), which became one of the most influential books of the 19th century, and remains a classic.

Week 2

Samuel Clemens, a/k/a Mark Twain (1835-1910), worked briefly as a steamboat pilot on the Mississippi River just before the Civil War. Life on the Mississippi (1883), described mid-19th century middle America’s rivers, railroads, cities and people.

Week 3

Author James Agee (1909-1955) and photographer Walker Evans (1903-1975) accepted a 2-month assignment from Fortune magazine in 1936 to produce a "photographic and verbal record of the daily living and environment” of desperately poor white tenant farmers in the American south during the 1936 “Dust Bowl.” Agee’s nontraditional reporting and Evans' portfolio of haunting photographs were published under the title Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (1941).

Week 4

Renowned novelist John Steinbeck, wanting to see the country he loved one last time before his impending death, set out from Long Island, NY in 1960 with his dog Charley. They traveled nearly 10,000 miles in a specially adapted pickup truck nicknamed for Don Quixote’s horse Rocinante. Following the northern perimeter of the US, then heading south to California, east to Texas, and traversing the southern states, Steinbeck recorded his observations in Travels with Charley: In Search of America.

Week 5

Journalist Charles Kuralt (1934 - 1997) spent 25 years traveling across the backroads of the US, finding material for his "On the Road" segments for the CBS News with Walter Cronkite, Inspired by Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley, Kuralt wore out 6 motorhomes, and won  three Peabody awards and ten Emmys before his retirement in 1994.  We will view video segments of Kuralt’s unique perspective of the varied people and places he encountered.

Week 6

French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy  (1948-   ) retraced his countryman's journey in  American Vertigo: Traveling America in the Footsteps of Tocqueville (2010), seeking to rediscover what it means to be an American in this "magnificent, mad country," vividly describing his perceptions of the US,  assessing both its problems and its promise for the future.

This course is available as part of the following:

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute Courses
These courses and programs are available at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. Membership is required. Our classes take place in Lau Founders Hall, 1550 Brescia Ave., Coral Gables, FL 33146 unless otherwise noted below.

OLLI 2017-2018 Membership is required to take this course and will be added to your cart upon enrollment. If you already have purchased a membership, you will not be charged for this membership.
OLLI 2017-2018 Membership Added to cart upon enrollment.
Starts: 8/1/2017 Ends: 7/31/2018