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Augustana participates in annual CommUniversity

January  04, 2016

CommUniversity, a series of Sunday classes taught by area experts, will begin its 37th year in February. The annual non-profit event is coordinated by a board of directors from local colleges, churches, libraries and other community organizations. Five Augustana faculty will teach classes at CommUniversity this year.

CommUniversity classes meet Sunday afternoons in February. This year's classes are offered in Religious Studies, Arts and Humanities, Personal Enrichment, and Regional Studies.

On the first Sunday, Feb. 7,  all participants meet in St. Ambrose University's Rogalski Center in Davenport at 1 p.m. for the annual keynote address and official kick-off. After the keynote, everyone proceeds to the first class session.

Registration for CommUniversity has begun online and by mail.

Augustana faculty and their CommUniversity classes include:

• Dr. Cyrus Zargar, "Jihad in Islam: Past, Present, Future." Description: "Taught by the perspectives of three different instructors, this class will consider the historical and contemporary implications of jihad. By examining scripture (especially the Qur'an), early Islamic history, as well as important political and religious movements in the past two centuries, we will try to answer an important question: Does Islam teach violence?"

• Dr. Pat Shea, "Introduction to Celtic Spirituality." Description: "This course will explore the ancient wisdom of Celtic spirituality and how it can enhance our contemporary spiritual journeys. We will both learn about and experience the richness of the Celtic expressions of spirituality in daily life throughout the turning year."

• Dr. Eric Stewart, "Women and Men in Early Christianity." Description: "Early Christians responded to Greco-Roman gender stereotypes in a wide variety of ways. Such responses shaped the ways that early Christians responded to authorities, allowed and denied women access to participation in Christian practice, and imagined God. This class explores how early Christians adopted, accommodated, and resisted the gendered practices of their neighbors."

• Dr. Karin Youngberg, "Arthurian Mosaic." Description: "This class will focus on the best-known elements of the medieval Arthurian stories (the Sword in the Stone, Merlin, the Round Table, the Grail Quest, Lancelot and Guinevere, the Death of Arthur, and the Isle of Avalon) in order to discover the source of their resilience that has lasted over eight hundred years and whose popularity extends into contemporary fantasy and film."

• Sarah McDowell, "The Living and the Dead: James Joyce's Dubliners." Description: "Explore the streets of Dublin through the work of Ireland's most celebrated writer, James Joyce. This collection of short stories evokes universal and often painful truths of human experience, rendered with Joyce's rare gift for poignant humor. We'll take a virtual tour of the modern city, read a few of the stories, and end by watching the award-winning film adaptation of the last work in the collection, 'The Dead.'"

Katie, Hanson, Augustana assistant professor of English and education, has been the president of the CommUniversity board since 2009. She also is chair of the program committee. The Augustana Department of Education supports CommUniversity with registration services. For more information, contact KatieHanson@augustana.edu, or Julie Oliger, education secretary, 309-794-7259.