Register for Summer Classes


THE SERIES: WORDS THAT MADE AMERICA (LLI 7000) - LLI MEMBERS ONLY: Myra Loris will lead you through the Words That Made America series of six courses. Register for the full six-course series or register only for the individual courses that interest you. 

DECLARING INDEPENDENCE (LLI 7001): Explore the struggle over of the creation of the Declaration of Independence and then discuss its significance. You will hear stories and anecdotes of about the major players in its creation including Jefferson, Adams, Franklin and others using their own words, speeches and writing.

CREATING A NATION (LLI 7002): Examine what it takes to write a Constitution and Bill of Rights in the very early days of our nation. We will look at the struggles which allowed or predecessors to create a government. Then you will create a focus on the importance of the Bill of Rights as it is being applied to current, contemporary Supreme Court cases and social issues. Interesting anecdotes and lots of current perspective and relevance will be shared.

AND AIN’T I A WOMAN: SUFFRAGE IN AMERICA (LLI 7003): Look at the more than 100 years of struggle for women’s suffrage in the US. Beginning with the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848 with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and continuing on with Susan B. Anthony into the 20th Century, the struggle for suffrage culminated in the 1920 passage of the 19th Amendment. Hear very powerful stories about those who fought and suffered to bring about equal voting rights for women.

WITH MALICE TOWARDS NONE: LINCOLN’S SPEECHES (LLI 7004): Examine the power of Abraham Lincoln’s speeches and writings in changing the course of the nation’s history. We will focus on the Emancipation Proclamation, the Gettysburg Address, and the struggle to pass the 13th Amendment, which outlawed slavery. The program begins with a very powerful and dramatic overview of slavery in America and proceeds to Lincoln and the Civil War era.

HUMOR AND COMEDY IN AMERICAN CULTURE (LLI 7005): Look at the effects of the nation’s humorists in words and writings that shaped the mood of the country and both created and reflected significant social changes. We will take an in-depth look at Mark Twain, Will Rogers, Steven Colbert, and others as both entertainers and social critics. Lots of laughs with Myra Loris in this one.

FOREVER: FORGOTTEN MINORITIES (LLI 7006): We look at the experiences of some of America’s more forgotten minorities as they struggled throughout our history to find freedom and equality. The program focuses on the experiences of Native Americans in the 19th Century West; the Neisi-Japanese American interments during WWII; and on Cesar Chavez and the struggle for equity for Latino farm workers in the 20th century. The program concludes with a look at the current immigrants in America and examines the relevance of these past struggles to the present day.

30 DAYS IN AMERICAN HISTORY (LLI 6044): Everyone knows the importance of July 4 and September 11. But not everyone knows the importance of September 17. Before you go to Google, September 17, 1862 was the Civil War battle of Antietam, the single bloodiest day in American military history and a battle that was more important than the better known battle of Gettysburg. You will sequentially proceed through the 30 days of an imaginary month, highlighting the important event in American history that happened on that numbered date.

ABE’S RELIGION: THE ELUSIVE SPIRITUALITY OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN (LLI 6086): The 19th century was an age of religious fervor. Most aspiring politicians trumpeted their religious affiliations to make themselves more appealing to voters. Abraham Lincoln did not follow this convention, nor did he ever join a church. Yet in his private writings, he expressed some of the most sincere and nuanced thoughts on God that have ever been penned. You will explore the shifting religious beliefs that Lincoln held during his life that give Americans one more reason to respect our 16th president.

AIRLIFT 70TH ANNIVERSARY (LLI 6070): It was perhaps one of the greatest adventures in American military history: the Berlin airlift of 1948-49! When Soviet troops closed all land, sea, and rail access routes to West Berlin 70 years ago — threatening the lives of 2.5 million people and provoking the first major international crisis of the Cold War — American General Lucius D. Clay built a bold and fantastic bridge across the sky, involving 700 planes and 250,000 flights over a period of 14 months.

AMERICA AFTER THE FALL: PAINTINGS BY AMERICAN ARTISTS IN THE 1930’S (LLI 6059): You will learn how the turbulent economics and political and aesthetic climate of the 1930s Great Depression was interpreted through paintings by American artists. The 1930s was a period of intensified creativity, as the nation’s artists sought to find and interpret what modern art in America might be. Many challenged and reworked the meanings and forms of modernism and arrived at new possibilities and a diversity of styles ranging from Abstraction to Regionalism and Surrealism.

FAST CARRIERS ACROSS THE CENTRAL PACIFIC 1942-1944 (LLI 7020): Follow World War II’s Fast Carrier Task Force as they fight across the Central Pacific starting with Tarawa in November 1943 to Kwajalein, the Marianas, and ultimately the Philippine Islands where the Navy meets up with the Army and General Douglas MacArthur.

GROUND ZERO: THE MINUTEMAN MISSILE PROGRAM (LLI 1123): There have been five mass extinction events in Earth’s history. The Cold War, nuclear proliferation, and the SNAFU Principle have caused us to be on the brink of Mass Extinction six times. Hidden in plain sight from US citizens but not from our enemies, the Minuteman Missile Program continues to serve as a deterrent to nuclear war. Ann Leslie will give you a rare look inside this secure area to view the above-ground living arrangements and the actual launch control facility, Delta One. Then you’ll see the launch facility, Delta Nine, where the security will amaze you.

LEVI STRAUSS, THE GOLD RUSH, AND THE BLUE JEANS (LLI 7080): Everybody loves them, everybody wears them: the Jeans are no doubt an iconic garment and they tell the legendary story of the American West. But did you know that they were made world famous by an adventurous Bavarian Jew who combined his marvelous business sense with German ingenuity? Join German Historian Anette Isaacs, M.A., for a fascinating journey into the days of the Gold Rush and learn about Levi Strauss and his amazing life!

MR. LINCOLN’S SPRINGFIELD (LLI 7022): Abraham Lincoln proudly called Springfield, Illinois his home before the presidency took him to Washington, D.C. We will explore the Springfield Lincoln knew when we view his house, his law office, the Old State Capitol, and the train depot. Our gaze will move outside the city to view New Salem, where he lived as a young adult. We will also consider his tomb and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

MYTHS IN AMERICAN HISTORY (LLI 6085): All countries tweak their national stories to make the past easier to explain to children, but the reality is often stranger, more complicated, and far more interesting. This is a gentle exploration of the role of myths in American history and why they have been useful in the past. We look at many specific myths, including Paul Revere’s ride, George Washington’s cherry tree, and what should be remembered about the Alamo. We will also explore why certain myths have had such staying power, and what they say about our understanding of what it is to be American.

OUR TEN WORST PRESIDENTS (LLI 7022): Historians and political scientists enjoy debating who was our best President, or who had the best foreign policy or domestic agenda. But historian Gary Midkiff will guide you on a tour of the other end of the spectrum to analyze and explain why men such as James Buchanon, Andrew Johnson and Franklin Pierce are always rated at the bottom. Each was a competent person with a solid political background who failed as President. We will look at the 12 (of our past 43) Presidents rated lowest by C-Span and try to understand their mistakes.

QUEEN ELIZABETH II: THE EXTRAORDINARY LIFE OF A MODERN MONARCH (LLI 7051): Queen Elizabeth II has reigned longer than any other British monarch. Historian Leslie Goddard, Ph.D., explores the life of Britain’s queen: her childhood, the abdication of her uncle, her marriage to Philip, her World War II service, and her struggle to balance her roles as monarch and mother. You’ll get a close-up view of her “red boxes,” her relationships with her children and their often-disastrous marriages, and her grandchildren. Get to know the woman behind the images and the spirited personality, sense of humor and savvy intelligence with which she meets her demanding obligations.

RECONSTRUCTION (LLI 7020): The U.S. Civil War ended in 1865, but fighting in various forms continued in the south until 1877. During this 12 year period there were constitutional amendments, Presidential vetoes, a presidential impeachment, white supremacists, the Freedman’s Bureau, military occupation, carpetbaggers, Scalawags, Redeemers, Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, The Panic of 1873 and under-the-table political deals. Join historian Gary Midkiff for a review of this tumultuous period.

STEPPING INTO ILLINOIS HISTORY (LLI 7026): Celebrate the Illinois Bicentennial by sampling the fascinating historical sites in our state. Discover the ancient Native American city at Cahokia Mounds, the seat of the French government at Fort de Chartres, and Camp DuBois where Lewis and Clark spent the winter before their Voyage of Discovery. You will also see how early Illinois residents lived in Bishop Hill and Nauvoo, and make a virtual visit the homes of Presidents Lincoln and Grant.

SUFFRAGETTES TO ANGELA GERMAN WOMEN YESTERDAY AND TODAY (LLI 7054): Did you know that until the late 1950s a West German husband was allowed by law to end his wife’s employment contract if he felt that her job was interfering with her “duties in the household and marriage”? In the past six decades, emancipation has reached Europe’s most populous nation full force. Germany is governed by a female Chancellor, and the “hausfrau” truly seems to be a relic of the past. Join German historian Anette Isaacs, M.A. as she celebrates her country’s 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage by discussing the changing roles of women in German society.

TERRA COTTA WARRIORS (LLI 1106): An astounding army of thousands of terra cotta warriors, complete with their weapons, horses, and chariots, was buried in China centuries ago next to an emperor’s tomb to protect him in the afterlife. Discovered in 1974, these warriors are now one of the most recognized ancient wonders. Peggy Eastwood shares discoveries about the incredibly unique designs, original construction methods, and the imperial court that drove this monumental undertaking.

THE ADVENTURE OF BERTHA BENZ & HISTORY OF THE GERMAN AUTO (LLI 6071): The superb reputation of German cars is legendary. They are synonymous with the quality and success of German engineering. But hardly anyone knows that the history of the automobile’s origin is, to a great extent, due to Bertha Benz, who 130 years ago — in a secret attempt to visit her mother — became the first human being ever to drive an automobile over a long distance. Join German Historian Anette Isaacs as she introduces you to Bertha and her history making adventure of 1888!

THE EASTLAND DISASTER (LLI 6089): The Eastland sank before it even left the Chicago River on July 24th, 1915, and killed 844 people, wiping out 22 entire families. It is one of the worst disasters in American history and the deadliest ever in Chicago. It has been called “America’s Forgotten Tragedy.” It was overshadowed by the Titanic disaster (1912) and the sinking of the Lusitania earlier in the same year. John Boda has researched the Eastland disaster in great detail and shares many interesting facts, stories, and pictures as he explores possible reasons why the Eastland capsized from the perspective of someone with a very personal connection.

THE GENIUS OF LOUIS COMFORT TIFFANY’S GLASS CREATIONS (LLI 6058): Louis Comfort Tiffany is known today for his spectacular and highly individual Art Nouveau style glass lampshades, glass vases, leaded stained glass windows, glass mosaics and jewelry. Tiffany grew up in the shadow of his father’s store. He was the son of Charles Tiffany, co-founder of Tiffany & Company. Tiffany Louis began his career as a painter and was successful. But, once he was introduced to leaded stained glass during his travels in Europe, Tiffany soon pursued glass as his material of choice. The result was historic. 

THE HISTORY OF AMERICAN HUMOR (LLI 0018): Humor and comedy in America have a long history. Intensified by the media, they are now big business. In this class, you will hear about the development of this sometimes undervalued art form and come to an understanding of who our most significant figures are and what they contributed to the genre. Humor can be subjective, but we are pretty sure that you will laugh your way through this class! Presented in conjunction with the Harper College Library’s One Book One Harper program. FREE!

THE J.F.K. ASSASSINATION (LLI 0039): The J.F.K. Assassination occurred on November 22, 1963, in Dallas Texas. Since that time, it has grown into one of the biggest murder mysteries of the twentieth century. This class will look at what exactly happened that day, who was involved, and the many possible theories. John Boda has researched this for over 25 years and has worked with many key people including worldwide expert and author Robert Groden, who was also the consultant to Oliver Stone on the movie “J.F.K.” The class will give you the opportunity to decide for yourself what to believe about this assassination.

THE NEW GUINEA CAMPAIGN: JANUARY 1943 - DECEMBER 1944 (LLI 7019): World War II’s New Guinea Campaign was essential to the Allied war effort in the Pacific Theater. Early in the campaign, the Australians fought a war of attrition in eastern New Guinea, inching their way along the New Guinea coast to join the Americans as they hopscotched their way past numerous Japanese strongholds on their way to the Philippines.

THE ROOSEVELT WOMEN (LLI 0112): Franklin Delano Roosevelt had many sources of support and advice when he was President of the United States, including his cabinet and his close friends. He also had a group of women from whom he gained political help and emotional support. This class focuses on five of them: his mother, Sarah Delano Roosevelt; his wife Eleanor; the woman who nearly broke up his marriage, Lucy Mercer Rutherford; his personal secretary, Missy LeHand; and his Secretary of Labor, Frances Perkins, the first woman to hold a Cabinet position. Smart, savvy and intensely loyal, these women were directly involved in guiding the United States through some of its most difficult years.

THE UNSOLVED ISABELLA STEWART GARDNER HEIST OF 1990 (LLI 1103): Isabella Stewart Gardner Art Museum in Boston was the site of an unsolved heist that took place on March 18, 1990. Two men broke into the museum at night and achieved the largest art robbery in history. Though thousands of leads have been pursued, none of the paintings have ever been recovered. Worth as much as $500 million total, the missing masterpieces have become one of the nation’s most extraordinary unsolved mysteries. The Isabella Stewart Garner Art Museum is the home of one of the preeminent collections of art in the United States. Ralph Burin will discuss this mysterious and maddening robbery.

THOMAS HART BENTON’S “AMERICA TODAY” REDISCOVERED (LLI 7030): The focus is on the rediscovered painted mural cycle created by the American Rationalist painter Thomas Hart Benton. When the panels were created, they were ranked as one of Benton’s most accomplished works. The epic ten-panel work, created in 1930-31, depicts a sweeping panorama of American life during the 1920’s and is one of the most significant accomplishments in American art of the period. It was on view last year at The Metropolitan Museum of Art for the first time since 1982 after being feared lost for many years.

U.S. HISTORY AND TODAY (LLI 6055): Journey through the past 100 years of American history — from the start of World War I in 1914 through the present — in this two-part, pictorial tour of nation-changing news and uplifting cultural events. Watch a live presentation of 470 historically rich photographs augmented by 42 film and video clips that reflect some of the most memorable moments from Washington to Hollywood. This fact-based, politically unbiased presentation provides a visual tour of the past century. There will be ample time for questions and discussion.

Please note: Not all classes are offered every semester. 

Classes are offered at the Harper College Main Campus as well as at our partner locations. Please check the current schedule or call 847.925.6300 to confirm the location of your class.