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Monday, October 31 , 1:30 pm 3:30 pm

October 24, 27, 31, November 3 (Mondays/Thursdays) 1:30-3:30 p.m.

Attend in person at ISU’s Alumni Center, 1101 N. Main St., Normal (Masks are optional.)


Watch Online via Zoom

*Classes are subject to change based on current CDC and IDPH guidelines, as well as ISU policies and procedures.


$35 for Senior Professional members
$45 for non-members

For in person, pricing is per person.
For ZOOM, one registration per household.

Price includes:
• Four 2-hour sessions (one Academy of Seniors class)
$15 single-session option available for in-person (pay at door).

Register online at seniorprofessionals.illinoisstate.edu or call (309) 438-2160.

Seating is limited for in-person viewing.

Zoom participants will receive a Zoom link a week prior to the class(es) for which they’ve signed up and again on the day of each class session.

Class Description:

October 24Elizabeth Gaskell: An Unjustly Overlooked Victorian Novelist

Elizabeth Gaskell was celebrated as one of the pre-eminent women novelists of Queen Victoria’s reign. Gaskell’s Mary Barton, North and South, and Cranford were popular novels that were praised by Charles Dickens, Thomas Carlyle, and Maria Edgeworth. During the 20th century, Gaskell’s literary reputation declined, but her fiction was rediscovered by contemporary scholars who recognize her accurate representation of the poor and working class during the Industrial Revolution and empathic portrayal of women during the 19th century

Jan Susina, Professor of English, ISU

October 27Native American Autobiography

The first writings by Native Americans, primarily autobiographies and sermons by new converts to Christianity, date to 1768 with a narrative by Samson Occom (Mohegan). Life writings of the Native Americans reveal much about the conquest of North America and the pressures exerted on indigenous cultures. In this lecture, Whitson will examine the historical and literary context of Native autobiography and will take a closer look at several writers including William Apess (Pequot) and Zitkala Sa (Dakota Sioux).

Karen Whitson, Professor Emerita, Eureka College

October 31Mari Sandoz: From the Sand Hills to Chronicler of the Great Plains

Daughter of Swiss immigrants to the Sand Hills of Nebraska and with only an eighth-grade education, Mari Sandoz became a historical novelist of the Plains, championing native peoples and replacing romance of the frontier with gritty realism. In Cheyenne Autumn, Crazy Horse, and other works, Sandoz drew upon personal encounters with the Native Americans and in Old Jules captured the ruthlessness of her father and his vision that made the region habitable.

Mary Ryder, Distinguished Professor Emerita of English, South Dakota State University

November 1Gene Stratton-Porter: Indiana Popular Novelist, Naturalist and Ecofeminist

Between 1895 and 1945, five of Gene Stratton-Porter’s novels sold over a million copies, making her one of the most widely-read novelists of her day. Nine of her novels were also made into films, most notably The Girl of the Limberlost. Best known for works about the 13,000-acre Limberlost swamp in eastern Indiana, she was a photographer, naturalist, and champion of preserving natural lands. Moths of the Limberlost and What I Have Done with Birds served as models for professional photographers

Mary Ryder, Distinguished Professor Emerita of English, South Dakota State University


Monday, October 31
1:30 pm – 3:30 pm
$15 – $45


Senior Professionals
(309) 438-2818
View Organizer Website


1101 N. Main Street
Normal, IL 61761 United States
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(309) 438-4781
View Venue Website