Lectures, Events and Mini-Courses


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Summer 2017





The Reel East Film Festival


The Reel East Film Festival will be holding a free festival event at the William G. Rohrer Center of Camden County College in Cherry Hill, NJ, on Saturday, June 17, 2017. This will be an all-day event filled with screenings of classic and independent films - shorts, features, and documentaries – along with films in competition for one of our top prizes. Tiela Garnett, daughter of film director Tay Garnett (The Postman Always Rings Twice) will be present for a talk and screening of one of her father’s films. More details about this and other festival activities to follow. Go to for information about film submission guidelines and deadlines.

The Reel East Film Society is honored to bring independent and upcoming feature films and shorts to Camden County and greater South Jersey.



Baseball in All 50 States

LOCATION: Madison 201
TIME: 6:30-9:00p.m.
DAY: Mondays
NOTE: Class will not meet on 6/19.

This course will explore baseball’s history in every state from Alabama to Wyoming. The class will discuss Alaska’s annual Midnight Sun Game, the St. Paul Saints of Minnesota, MLB players born in Hawaii and if there really is a “Field of Dreams” in Iowa. What state has the richest baseball history? This mini course will attempt to answer that.


Week 1: 6/12/17 Alabama - Georgia
This class will discuss how both Hank Aaron and Satchel Paige grew up in Alabama and helped to change the course of baseball. Topics will also include the Cactus League in Arizona, baseball kept in a humidor in Colorado and MLB’s Expansion into Florida.

Week 2: 6/26/17 Hawaii - Maryland
Did you know Harry Kalas’ broadcasting career began in Hawaii? This class will touch upon the Field of Dreams in Dyersville, Iowa. Discussion about Illinois will focus not only on the Cubs and White Sox but about how Cracker Jack got its start in Chicago over 100 years ago.

Week 3: 7/10/17 Massachusetts - New Jersey
Boston was home to not only the Red Sox but also the Boston Braves at one time. Did baseball really get its start in Hoboken, New Jersey? Was the House of David in Michigan a religious cult or a brainstorming baseball team? Or was it a little of both?

Week 4: 7/17/17 New Mexico – South Carolina
At one time New York was home to three MLB teams: Giants, Dodgers and Yankees. Did the Phillies really have a minor league team in Spartanburg, South Carolina? Who is the best baseball player to come from Rhode Island?

Week 5: 7/24/17 South Dakota – Wyoming
This class will cover how the Houston Astrodome changed the game of baseball. What ever happened to the Seattle Pilots? The class will also discuss the Appalachian League of West Virginia.


Torn from the Headlines: The Newspaper Movie

INSTRUCTOR: M. Sorrento,
LOCATION: Madison 207
TIME: 2:00-4:30 p.m.
DAY: Tuesdays

For viewers seeking current events, films about news writers have always been a draw. Additionally the movies feature investigators not of the law, per se, but of the truth. This course will survey classics and lesser-known newspaper films. By viewing and discussing works from the early sound era to the present, we will focus on the genre’s development and how it led to the recent modern classic, Spotlight.


Week 1: 6/13/17 The First Golden Age:
Park Row (Samuel Fuller, 1952

Week 2: 6/20/17 Tabloids and Ethics of the Press:
Five-Star Final (Mervyn LeRoy, 1931)

Week 3: 6/27/17 Stars and Deadlines:
His Girl Friday (Howard Hawks, 1940)

Week 4: 7/11/17 What Brought Him Down:
All the President’s Men (Alan J. Pakula, 1976)

Week 5: 7/18/17 The 21st Century: Spotlight (Tom McCarthy, 2015)


Women’s Health Issues

LOCATION: Madison 210
TIME: 6:30-9:00 p.m.
DAY: Tuesdays

This course will discuss all aspects of women’s health: the physical, the mental, and the sexual. It will explain the Anatomy & Physiology of what it means to be a woman, addressing evolution and body size. There will be a discussion on birth control as well as the more common gynecologic diseases and disorders; the final week will be a thorough explanation of female gender, sexuality and fulfillment. What nature wants for you and what you want are actually both the same thing.


Week 1: 6/13/17 The Glorious Anatomy & Physiology of the Female Form
Always perfect but what can be done to make it more perfect

Week 2: 6/20/17 Body Size
It’s you vs nature in a battle in which most women are woefully and sadly unarmed.

Week 3: 6/27/17 Gynecologic Diseases & Disorders
From birth to earth, this session will discuss unusual birth defects, adolescent changes, fertility, and birth control issues.

Week 4: 7/11/17 Gynecologic Diseases & Disorders
This session will focus on polycystic ovaries, dysmenorrhea, fibroids, ovarian cysts, cancers, osteoporosis, menopause, and hormone replacement.

Week 5: 7/18/17 Female Sexuality
When your software is working and when it’s not.


From China to China – The History of Paleontology

LOCATION: Madison 210
TIME: 6:30-9:00 p.m.
DAY: Thursdays

This course will teach about dinosaurs, not from a biological perspective, but from a historical perspective. Who were the men and women who discovered these great beasts? What did their contributions do for science? We will be addressing the history of paleontology starting all the way back to the ancient Chinese and Greeks and work our way to the present day.


Week 1: 6/15/17 The Ancient Paleontologists (BCE – 1800 ACE)
While many history books will say that paleontology began in 19th century Europe, the true history goes even FURTHER back to the ancient civilizations.

Week 2: 6/22/17 What’s In a Name? (1800 – 1860)
This is where the history of paleontology traditionally begins: 18th century Europe. This is where men like William Buckland and Gideon Mantel made the “dinosaur” a household word.

Week 3: 6/29/17 The Bone Wars (1860 – 1920)
This is the time where paleontology shifted to the new world: the United States. It’s a one-on-one showdown to find out who was the better dinosaur detective: Edward D. Cope or Othneil C. Marsh!

Week 4: 7/13/17 The Dark Days of Paleontology (1920 – 1980)
After the Bone Wars, the public grew weary of dinosaurs. The true paleontologist was reduced to the little-old-man puttering around looking at “old-bones” while the public ate up the dinosaurs on the silver screen.

Week 5: 7/20/17 The New Golden Age of Paleontology (1980 – Present)
The study of paleontology began to have resurgence in the 1980s. New paleontologists were making headlines and new discoveries began changing our view of dinosaurs. But, was it enough? No. At least, not until a little movie changed everything...Jurassic Park!

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Earth Exploration Adventures in Geography, Science and History

TIME: 12:00-2:30 p.m.
DAY: Mondays

Pack your compass as we explore many of the physical and human forces that shape our dynamic planet


Week 1: 6/12/17 Plate Tectonics: Earth on the Move
Why do earthquakes, volcanoes, and ocean trenches occur? The fascinating world of plate tectonics will be our focus.

Week 2: 6/19/17 Climate and History
Incredible fluctuations in earth’s climate and how they led to dramatic changes in human habitation will be investigated.

Week 3: 6/26/17 Ocean & Wind: Currents of Change
One of the keys to successful transoceanic voyages was to understand the complex pattern of wind and ocean currents. We will examine how the mastery of these currents and other innovations of navigation would aid sailing, trade and exploration of unknown lands.

Week 4: 7/10/17 Pandemics and People
Pandemics have had a great effect on history and the modern world. Bubonic plagues, malaria, and other devastating illnesses will be explored.

Week 5: 7/17/17 Population Dynamics
We will examine the habitable and the uninhabitable areas of the planet and the dynamics of population growth


Road to Ruin: From the Rise of Jackson to the Rise of Lincoln

TIME: 4:00-6:30 p.m.
DAY: Mondays

Road to Ruin will explore the rise of permanent national political parties, their functions and purposes, and ultimately their failure to prevent the American Civil War. Jacksonian Democrats took for granted that parties were the most effective means with which to downplay regional differences, yet the availability of the West following war with Mexico gave rise to problems that the national parties proved incapable of solving. The collapse of the Whig Party, the regional splintering of the Democrats, and the rise of the new Republican Party were each a tragic prelude to the utter failure of the constitutional system to mask regional and ideological differences in the face of the republic’s greatest national crisis.


Week 1: 6/12/17 The Classical Ideal
In week one, we will examine the type of politics the founding generation felt would best preserve republican liberty. Tracing the ideological suspicion of faction back to the English Civil War, we will connect divergent understandings of governance and dissent to the practice of governing in the Early National Period.

Week 2: 6/19/17 The End of an Era of (not so good) Feelings
In week two, we will explore how, in the rapidly modernizing republic, a new, more egalitarian, form of politics began to take root. This new widespread democratic impulse nearly pushed the military hero and everyman Andrew Jackson into the presidency during the bitter election of 1824. Jackson’s failure became the springboard for the “corrupt bargain” mythology and the fountain of Jacksonian Democracy.

Week 3: 6/26/17 The Age of Jackson
In week three, we will explore not only the major themes of Jackson’s two administrations (Indian Removal, the Tariff crisis, and the bank war with Nicholas Biddle and Henry Clay), but more importantly the creation of the new, national Democratic machine. Jackson’s perceived blurring of the separate branches became the impetus behind the mobilization of the Whig Party.

Week 4: 7/10/17 The West
In week four, we will follow the hotly contested election of 1844 and the Polk administration’s subsequent invasion of and controversial war with Mexico. The American victory brought vast new acreage, once part of the sprawling yet lightly populated Mexican, into the American Republic. The fight to make the West resemble the slave South or the wage-labor North, however, planted the seeds of the Union’s greatest crisis.

Week 5: 7/17/17 The Second Age of Passion
In the final week, we will follow the critical developments of the 1850s. Southern Democratic partisanship fractured the Democratic Party while the failure of the Whigs to address the slavery question in a way that satisfied both northern and southern partisans paved the way for Free Soilers, northern Whigs, some northern Democrats, and radical abolitionists to form the sectional Republican Party, setting the republic off on the road to ruin.


The Play’s the Thing- Exploring American Playwrights of the 20th Century

TIME: 4:00-6:30 p.m.
DAY: Tuesdays
NOTE: On 6/20 only, class will meet in room 204.

The American theater produced many great playwrights and dramas throughout the second half of the twentieth century. These works and their creators have joined the theatrical canon, being performed not only in America, but worldwide. This course will study five notable American playwrights, and the groundbreaking works they gave to the stage.


Week 1: 6/13/17 Arthur Miller
Miller took the play into a new direction, showing audiences that the stories we see on stage could happen to anyone. Plays that will be covered include Death of a Salesman, The Crucible, and All My Sons.

Week 2: 6/20/17 Tennessee Williams
Williams gave America a new look at what the American Dream was and how it was often shattered. Highlights of Williams’ work that will be discussed include The Glass Menagerie, A Streetcar Named Desire, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

Week 3: 6/27/17 Edward Albee
Albee introduced the abstract to the theater, taking themes from American life and turning them upside down. Albee classics such as Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, A Delicate Balance, and Seascape will be discussed.

Week 4: 7/11/17 Neil Simon
Arguably the most commercially successful American playwright, Simon produced work that runs the gamut from sitcom style comedy to heart breaking memoir. Plays for this session include Barefoot in the Park, The Odd Couple, and Brighton Beach Memoirs.

Week 5: 7/18/17 August Wilson
Wilson introduced us to a survey of the 20th Century with his ten-play cycle, each piece exploring African American life in Pittsburgh. Highlights of this week include Fences, The Piano Lesson, and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.


The Most Southern Place

TIME: 6:30-9:00 p.m.
DAY: Thursdays

The Mississippi Delta developed late in the rush to spread the plantation system across the South, but it became the quintessential antebellum community and a lens into American culture and race relations. This mini course explores the astonishing rise of this locale, its extraordinary resistance to change and its surprising place in history.


Week 1: 6/15/17 The Antebellum South on a Fast-track
By 1860, this land of rich soil with plenty of water was only 10% settled, still a veritable jungle, but within a few short years it became one of the richest sections of America.

Week 2: 6/22/17 Hope and Hopelessness in the Aftermath of the Civil War
The Civil War Opens up the wilderness of the Delta to the hopes of thousands of newly freed African Americans. Within twenty years, the new South finds the mechanisms to slam the door shut on the dreams of blacks while still preserving an antebellum culture.

Week 3: 6/29/17 The Great Flood of 1927 and the Heavy Hand of Jim Crow
Devastation helps create a new reliance on the federal government while clarifying the needs of white land owners to use any measures necessary to prevent the loss of a low-paid workforce.

Week 4: 7/13/17 The Crucible of American Music in the Heartland of Poverty
Out of the hearts of people burdened with poverty and loss sprang gospel, blues, country, and rock-and-roll music, all within a fifty-mile radius.

Week 5: 7/20/17 Emergence of the Modern Civil Rights Movement
The intense caldron that was, and in some ways still is, the Mississippi Delta created the grassroots cry for relief beginning with the murder of Emmett Till.

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