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Previous Seminars
by Russ Gifford






Bob Dylan changed the landscape of Rock n' Roll, and America






Along with my weekly classes on technology and mathematics, I also get the chance to do some fun things. These are previous seminars I've moderated, and some of the materials I've used in the classes.

Rock Music Legends


Week 1: The Life and Times of Bob Dylan:
(See the PowerPoint Overview!)
With hits spanning 5 decades, Dylan's poetry first enlightened, then ignited and sometimes enraged listeners. His life and times both defined and defied American culture.

Week 2: The Rise of the Concept Album:
"Listen to Tommy with a candle burning and you'll see your entire future."

In 1967, the rock album changed from a collection of songs to a 45-minute sonic canvas that captured moments of history, mystery and imagination.

Week 3: Jimi, Janis and Jim
: "This is the end"

As the Sixties became the Seventies, three key actors left the stage. In retrospect, did their passing mean so much, or is it all post-pop PR?

bulletArticle in Sioux City Journal
bulletDylan Preview Presentation
bulletComing soon - a CD-Rom version of these Seminars!

Adventures in Espionage, 1945 - 2005:

 Four sessions looking at spies from 1945 to 2005. These sessions return participants to the dawn of the Cold War, to the brinkmanship days of the Kennedy era, to the battles with the Sandinistas and the post cold war blues. We'll look at famous and not so famous spies, and examine the impact by examining factual and fictional accounts of spying.

bullet(Series Overview)
bullet(Preview a session)

Science Fiction: from Pulps to Cyberpunk

A three session survey of Science Fiction focused on the fun and the facts. 

Week 1: In the Beginning: pre 1940
Authors: Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Gernsback.

Week 2: The Grandmasters of SF: 1935 to 1975
Authors: Heinlein, Asimov, Bradbury, Clark, Tenn, Vonnegut, Herbert, and Niven.
Movies: Forbidden Planet, and the B movies of the 50s.

Week 3: From Space Opera to Cyberpunk : 1976 to 2001
Authors: Ellison,  Zelazny, Cherryh, Delany, Robinson, Foster, and many more.
Movies: Star Wars, Star Trek and The Matrix

bullet(Series Overview)
bullet(Second session PowerPoint)

Spin Cycle - Mass Media & Big Government

A look at the growth of in power of the two largest forces in America today, and how they shape the news we hear. We'll talk about the changes in news coverage from 1950 to today, and see actual news casts, articles and items from four major events in the last 50 years.

Week 1: The Red Scare: The Media, Murrow and McCarthyism

Week 2: The Kennedy Era: Media Hype, or the Right Stuff?

Week 3: The Enemies List: Watergate and Nixon vs. the Media

Week 4: The 1980's: Reversing the Spin Cycle with Poindexter, Fran and Oli.

bullet (Series overview)
bullet(First Session PowerPoint)

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