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America’s Political Advertising Landscape

America’s Political Advertising Landscape
Allan Louden
Thursdays 2 – 4 pm        August 31 – October 5
Brookstown Campus

The class features a contemplative stroll through the changing nature of political advertising in America. Beginning with a history of political spots–from the deliberative Eisenhower/Stevenson 1950s to orchestrated character assassinations of Trump and Clinton last year–the evolution of advertising is charted. We will look at examples of spots focused on specific issues (e. g., health care, race, economy), ads lobbying (e. g., administration appointments and court vacancies), and 3rd party sponsors of every political stripe (national and local examples), that increasingly fill the airwaves between elections. The final session surveys the increasing reliance on targeted social media advertising. The class is structured around participants’ discussion and critical response to political ads–our own insiders focus group. It will be lively and fun!

Allan Louden (Ph.D. in University of Southern California) is professor and Department Chair of Communication at Wake Forest University. His research focuses on argumentation theory and political communication (political spots and political debates). He has published in several journals in the field and authored the book Navigating Opportunity: Policy Debate in the 21st Century (2010). He has worked on political campaigns as a consultant and is a frequent commentator for TV and Newspapers during election cycles. There are rumors that his dog Glacier might visit a class or two.

Exploring Mortimer Adler’s Six Great Ideas

This class is currently full. Please contact us to be wait listed.

Making Sense of Adler’s Six Great Ideas: Truth, Beauty, and Goodness; Liberty, Equality, and Justice
Joseph Milner
Tuesdays, September 5 – October 10  10:30 am – 12:30 pm   Brookstown Campus

Mortimer Adler was a remarkable philosophical thinker who established the Great Books Foundation, and whose works influenced the curriculum of both the University of Chicago and St. John’s College. Adler’s philosophical and ethical ideas are conveyed in his book, “Six Great Ideas: Truth, Beauty, Goodness, Liberty, Equality, and Justice,” and are dynamic springboards in developing core ideas for contemporary living. Dr. Milner has taught this course to adult learners of all ages and backgrounds, and will lead the class through lively discussions, relevant readings, and current news and media sources, exploring large questions that we all encounter throughout our lives. Time will be spent applying Adler’s thought to contemporary texts and events happening in the culture today. Each member of the class will receive a copy of Adler’s book.


Joe Milner, Professor Emeritus, taught in Wake Forest University’s Education Department for thirty-three years. He has authored texts on children’s literature and English teaching methods. He previously taught a class in Lifelong Learning on Children’s Literature.

Angels and Demons in the Bible and Contemporary Culture

Angels and Demons in the Bible and Contemporary Culture
Neal Walls
Mondays, September 11 – October 16    10 am – 12 noon     Brookstown Campus

This course begins with an exploration of angelic and demonic characters in the books of the Bible before turning to the history of interpretation of named angels and demons (such as Raphael, Michael, Lilith, Asmodeus, and Lucifer) in later Jewish and Christian traditions. Questions include: Can angels “fall” from grace? Do they have free will? Can angelic bodies have sex with human bodies? (and exactly how many angles can dance on the head of a pin?). The second half of our class jumps from the ancient to the postmodern world in order to consider the portrayal of angels and demons in contemporary fiction (On the Road with the Archangel), television (Saving Grace), and film (e.g., City of Angels, Dogma, and Constantine).


A scholar of the Hebrew Bible and related ancient Near Eastern texts, Dr. Walls is fascinated by the breadth, depth, and complexity of Old Testament literature. He is the author of two books, The Goddess Anat in Ugaritic Myth and Desire, Discord and Death: Approaches to Ancient Near Eastern Myth, and the editor of a book on divine images. Dr. Walls has previously taught Lifelong Learning classes on Jerusalem and on the Old Testament. He is currently engaged in research on topics in ancient Near Eastern mythology and Genesis 1-11, and enjoys leading pilgrimages and travel programs in the Middle East and Africa.

What’s All the Shouting About? – Opera in America

What’s All the Shouting About? – Opera in America
Jamie Allbritten
Wednesdays, September 27 – November 1
10 am – 12 noon
Brookstown Campus
Wednesday, October 25 – class will attend the dress rehearsal (no class at 10 am that day)

Wait – Opera and America in the same sentence?  Opera is Italian, right?  Except when it’s German.  Not anymore! James Allbritten is known for his ability to make classical music and opera relevant to people from all walks of life.  This time the topic is Opera American style. You’ll learn about opera and composers in our country, leading up to Piedmont Opera’s production of the 2012 winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Music, Silent Night. This opera, set in the battle fields of World War I in 1914, tells the story of the spontaneous truce that broke out between troops from three different countries on Christmas Eve. After a fierce battle the previous day, the soldiers began to celebrate Christmas in their bunkers. Slowly, the men recognize the universality of the holiday, put down their weapons and celebrate together. The class will include tickets to attend the final dress rehearsal of Piedmont Opera’s Silent Night, and perhaps a few glimpses backstage as well. Come and see what all the shouting is about!


James Allbritten is the General Director and Principal Conductor at Piedmont Opera, where he has served for 12 years. Originally from Louisville, Kentucky, Allbritten began his operatic career with Kentucky Opera. An accomplished tenor, he studied voice with legendary singers Nicola Rossi-Lemeni, Giorgio Tozzi, and Margaret Harshaw. As Artistic Director of the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Allbritten led numerous performances including Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda, and Puccini’s La Rondine.

Mexico: A Journey

Mexico: A Journey
Patrick Pardy
Thursdays, October 12 – November 16          3 – 5 pm    Brookstown Campus

Come explore the many faces of Mexico through its history, art, cuisine and culture. Take a journey with us from the great Pre-Columbian civilizations of Tenochtitlan, Xochicalco and Palenque to the modern megalopolis of Mexico City, from the monolithic statues of the Olmecs to the iconic artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, from the classics of Mexican street food to the regional specialties of Puebla, the Yucatan and Oaxaca. This course is designed to offer a glimpse into the myriad of cultural influences that make up Mexico and will take a timely look at one of its most renowned celebrations, the Day of the Dead. Join us and discover what makes Mexico such a unique and enchanting place to experience!

Patrick Pardy is the Community Liaison for the Graduate Program in Interpreting and Translation Studies. Before coming to Wake Forest he lived in Mexico for sixteen years where he owned and operated a small group of cinemas in the country’s capital. During his time there he travelled extensively in central and southern Mexico, sampling local cuisine, visiting historic sites and enjoying Mexico’s rich cultural heritage. He received his MA degree from Boston College in European History.

Enjoying Shakespeare: Everyone’s Right!

Enjoying Shakespeare: Everyone’s Right!
Olga Valbuena
Mondays, October 16 – November 20  1 – 3 pm
Brookstown Campus

In this course, we’ll fearlessly read aloud, listen to, watch, and enjoy Shakespeare as a group that knows how to enjoy a good read, and to wonder and smile at the richness and unending surprises that Shakespeare offers when we really stop and listen to his words. Students should bring their life experience, hard-bought wisdom, and humor to class, and Olga will provide sights and sounds to enhance your experience of his language. Be prepared to get on your feet (or not), to think and speak the words in a circle (as you like), and to enjoy Shakespeare because he’s got something for everyone—Shakespeare’s for you, and everyone’s right!


Olga Valbuena is an Associate Professor of English at Wake Forest University. Her interests center on the connection of early modern literature and religion. She’s published on Shakespeare, John Donne, and John Milton among other authors, and Spanish Golden Age literature. Her current work focuses on English Catholic and pre-Columbian materials in relation to early modern drama. She is the recipient of three NEH grants, a Mellon grant, and a Fulbright Fellowship. Olga loves to talk about Shakespeare and has given many informal chats about his life, times, and texts here in town, in the US, and abroad. Her book, Subjects to the King’s Divorce: Equivocation, Infidelity, and Resistance in Early Modern England was published in 2003.