Odyssey USA: An Adventure in Learning – The University of South Alabama’s Institute for Learning in Retirement
About Odyssey USA
Odyssey USA is a membership organization and a community of learners who share the love of learning. Odyssey members design their own classes based on the interests and intellectual curiosity of the group. Classes are challenging and thought-provoking with mind-stretching activities on a wide variety of topics. Additional activities include quarterly luncheon lectures, and field trips.
Odyssey courses are offered on a quarterly basis: Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer. Classes are offered on Wednesday afternoons from 1:30 – 4:00 PM and on Fridays from 1:45 – 4:15 PM.
Wednesday Classes — USA Marx Library Auditorium
1:30—2:30 p.m. The Roman Empire’s Capital Moves East; The History of the Eastern Roman Empire; The Byzantine Empire
Instructor: Janice Gandy Coordinator: Hal Alexander
This quarter, Mrs. Gandy will discuss the history, art and architecture of the Roman Empire after Constantine moved its capital to Constantinople around 330 A.D. The impact of the move on Christianity will also be covered.
3:00—4:00 p.m. Online/Virtual Tours of Ancient Roman and Byzantine Sites
Coordinator: Hal Alexander
This class will be a companion to Mrs. Gandy’s Fall & Winter Roman History classes. We will view ancient Roman pagan temples, forums and public buildings. We will explore early Christian structures and see various relevant Byzantine structures.
Friday Classes—-Alpha Hall Extension Classrooms
1:45—2:45 p.m. Visit Iran: Lessons for Any Tourist
Instructors: Bahram and Lisa Hafizi Coordinator: Lady Lester
Where to go, what to see, how to navigate the country, what not to miss, Persian culture. We will be learning about Iranian history (briefly), the culture, everyday life, arts, and the craftsmanship. Mr. Hafizi is from the city of Esfahan, which is known for its art and beauty. The Hafizis will have many photos for us to see, as well as examples of metal craftsmanship, hand-knotted rugs, miniature paintings, etc.
1:45—2:45 p.m. Faulkner
Instructors: USA English Department Coordinator: Ken Rettig
This course will examine major short stories and novels by William Faulkner, the Nobel Prize Laureate of 1949. Faulkner was the most significant U.S. writer of the first half of the twentieth-century. He was born in 1897 and died in 1962 and is most associated with Mississippi. Faulkner is credited by many historians and literary scholars with shaping how people in the U.S., as well as abroad, understood the South. This course will dig into a host of issues, including tensions between the Old and New South; literary modernism and Faulkner's uses of popular genres such as detective fiction; constructions of race and class in the South; Faulkner and World War I; ecology and the South; opportunities and dead ends for women; and the Digital Yoknapatawpha Project.
3:15—4:15 p.m. Holidays Around the World
Speakers: International Festival Coordinator: Janet Burns
The holiday season can be exhausting. Relax and celebrate holidays around the world with us. No work involved, just a fun review of holidays in other countries along with a few treats. How do our English “cousins” celebrate Christmas? What is Guy Fawkes Day and why do people light bonfires? Learn about holidays in the Far East and South America. Listen to Russian folk tales about Christmas. Learn about holidays in Iran and Israel. Speakers provided by Mobile’s International Festival, Inc.
England January 12
Nepal January 19
Israel January 26
Philippines February 2
Russia February 9
Brazil February 16
Iran February 23
Indonesia March 2
3:15—4:15 p.m. Southern Battles of the Civil War
Instructor: Mike Bunn Coordinator: Julie Hart
The Civil War’s “Western Theater,” involving actions primarily in the states of Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, Louisiana, and Kentucky, has traditionally received less attention than more famous “Eastern Theater” campaigns. Yet Western Theater battles played just as important a role in the war’s outcome in both military and political terms. In this course, students will learn about eight critical clashes which helped define the Civil War experience in the areas in which they took place, and gain a better understanding of war in its totality. The course will chronicle actions including the Battle of Shiloh, the battles of Corinth and Iuka, the Vicksburg Campaign, the battles of Chickamauga and Chattanooga, the Atlanta Campaign, the Red River Campaign, the Battle of Nashville, and the Campaign for Mobile.
Winter Classes -- January 10 -- March 2, 2018
Luncheon Lecture -- March 9, 2018
Spring Classes -- March 21 -- May 11, 2108
Luncheon Lecture -- May 18, 2018
Summer Classes -- June 6 -- July 13, 2018
Luncheon Lecture & Annual Meeting -- July 20, 2018
Dog Days Film Festival -- Wednesdays in August, 2018
There are no formal requirements for membership to Odyssey USA other than an interest in being a continuous learner. You also need not be retired, nor are there any academic or experience requirements.
As a membership organization, Odyssey charges a Membership Fee rather than registration fees for the courses. Members do pay for the cost of the meal at our Quarterly Luncheon Lectures and for field trips.
Membership rates are:
Annual Membership $110.00 (4 terms)
Semi-Annual Membership: $60 (2 terms)
To join, just call us at (251) 460-7200.
Odyssey’s newsletter, The Log, is published and mailed to members prior to the beginning of each quarter. It includes descriptions and schedule of upcoming classes, luncheons, and other events.
Odyssey USA is a membership organization with an Executive Board elected by members to ensure a positive and inquisitive learning environment. The 2016-2017 Officers are:
Carolyn Casteel, President
Mary Frances Hallet, Vice-President
Julie Hart, Secretary
Barbara McLeod, Treasurer
Ron Walker, Curriculum Co-Chair
Hal Alexander, Curriculum Co-Chair
Margaret Gordon, Newsletter Editor
Michael & Lady Lester, Membership & Publicity Chairs
Jane Harding, Telephone Committee Chair
Ginger Hudson, Social Chair
Ron Feuerlein, Director
Andrea Pennington, Director
Jim Beach, Director