Seminar Listing by Date

The 2020 Verdict

For four years, American politics have been in turmoil. Protests, scandals, a constant media frenzy,
an impulsive president who is breaking norms, reshaping domestic and international policies and
dominating the headlines—it’s exhausting. And it’s a pivotal moment. This presidential election
poses profound questions for American voters. What kind of country are we? What does it mean
to be an American in the Age of Trump? How is our democracy functioning in such a polarized

Watercolor: A Fresh Start

This watercolor seminar is designed for absolute beginners as well as for those who have had some
experience painting with watercolor but need a refresher to gain the confidence to start again.
Explore the fall at Björklunden while enjoying this opportunity to learn or re-learn watercolor from
an artist passionate about the medium in a supportive and friendly learning environment. Seminar
participants will explore basic traditional approaches to watercolor painting as well as fresh and

A Brief History of Creatures that Rule the Earth (Hint: They’re not humans)

Some of the topics will include:
• the insect responsible for the Louisiana Purchase and the Panama Canal
• the typhus vaccine that saved 8,000 Poles from Nazi concentration camps
• milkmaids that cured smallpox and began the vaccine revolution
• Christopher Columbus’s true legacy: trading smallpox/measles for syphilis
• how Dr. Snow solved the cholera epidemic in London before the germ theory
• the plumber’s union that kept Chicago free from Legionnaire’s disease

World Religions in the Contemporary World

This seminar focuses on the basic teachings several of the world’s major religions—
Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Basic texts of these religions
will be analyzed as well as the theological and ethical beliefs in their respective scriptures.
We will also examine how these religions today are addressing some contemporary
global issues, such as the deteriorating environment, justice for the poor, gender equality,
violence and respect for members of the LGBTQ community.

The Original Book Club: Literary Legacies of Medieval Women

Women living in medieval Europe (c. 450–1450) were not only avid readers, they also were the
patrons, authors, scribes, artists and authorizers of an array of textual genres. This class will consider
some of these learned women as we read, in translation, their autobiographical, historical, religious,
poetic, romantic, scientific and even medical writings. From a concerned mother living in the ninth
century, to a famous lover-turned-abbess in the twelfth century, to a fourteenth-century visionary

Family Ties - The Case of King David

The heroic Biblical story of David in the books of Samuel and Kings contains fascinating episodes
concerning his family connections. This seminar will highlight David’s ties to his father and
brothers, to King Saul and his children Michal (David’s wife) and Jonathan (David’s loyal friend),
and to several of David’s other wives (including Abigail and Bathsheba) and children (especially
Solomon, Adonijah, Tamar, Amnon and Absalom). Family rivalries, intrigue, deception, adultery,

Anatomy of a Murder Trial

From the initial investigation and charging decision through the presentation of the case to the
jury and sentencing, explore with veteran state criminal prosecutor Steven Licata how homicide
cases are prosecuted in the criminal justice system. How is the evidence evaluated and what factors
guide the prosecutor’s charging decision? How is the case presented to the jury? What exactly
is the “insanity” defense to a homicide charge? How are homicide cases handled in Wisconsin’s

Tritone Jazz Fantasy Camp

Enjoy a high-quality, fun, engaging experience for adult jazz musicians and singers of all levels, from beginner to semi-pro. The week’s musical activities include playing and performance opportunities in combos and large ensembles, jazz master classes, jazz improvisation/theory classes, special-topics sessions, jam sessions and performances with professional jazz artists. Summer 2020 will be Tritone’s 22nd consecutive year at Björklunden.

Stitches in Time: The Genius of Medieval Embroideries and Tapestries

Among the marvelous treasures that have survived from the medieval world are the stunning
tapestries and embroideries of the period. As important symbols of wealth, status and power, these
magnificent works were essential to the aristocracy, royalty and the medieval church. Embroideries
and tapestries adorned the walls of castles and cathedrals—depicting famous battles and courtly
and mythical scenes, as well as biblical stories and saints’ lives. In their official ceremonial roles,

African America in Slavery and Freedom: How our Racial Past Informs our Present

This course will trace the African American journey through a 400-year struggle for survival and
dignity, exploring slavery, emancipation, segregation, migration and the civil rights and post-civil
rights movements. We will examine the ways in which African Americans, beginning with the
racialization of slavery at Jamestown, Va., in 1619, adopted strategies to survive in, cope with,
adjust to and struggle against systems of oppression throughout our nation’s history, working both

Give My Regards to Broadway - The American Musical

After two decades of classes devoted to opera and art song, Dale Duesing now leads a class about the American Musical. Although best known for his opera roles which include many world premieres, Dale has performed in musicals since his earliest years as a Lawrence post-grad in Europe. His experiences confirm the generally accepted opinion that the musical is the most distinctly American art form.

Richard M. Nixon: The Triumph and Tragedy of an American Politician

Richard Nixon was one of the best known politicians in 20th Century American history.
A native of California, Nixon was born to a poor family in Yorba Linda. He graduated from
Whittier College and received a full scholarship to law school at Duke University. However, his
real interest was politics. A fast riser in the Republican Party, Richard Nixon was elected to the
House of Representatives in 1946, and the U.S. Senate in 1950. He became nationally known as a
staunch anti-communist and an influential member of HUAC (House of Un-American Activities

Wildlife Photography: Turning Passion into Productivity

This seminar is designed to increase knowledge and skills in wildlife photography, from field tactics and strategies to aesthetics and image composition. Participants will discover how to use blinds and concealments to get closer to wildlife as well as learn the criteria for a strong photo and tips to make pictures stand out in a sea of “me too” digital images. Van Den Brandt also discusses his favorite and most productive national and international wildlife photography destinations. Class time will be split between lectures and dawn field sessions at local natural areas.

Writing Poetry in Forms

“The joy of working in form is, for me, the paradoxical freedom form bestows to saying the hard
truths,” stated the widely-acclaimed former United States Poet Laureate, Maxine Kumin. Could
it do the same for you? In this poetry workshop, we’ll be experimenting with a variety of poetic
forms, from the traditional sonnet to the French rondeau to the contemporary Golden Shovel—
equipping you with a number of new stylistic techniques for your poet’s-bag-of-tricks. (Working

SPQR: The Senate and the Roman People

Mary Beard is arguably the most well-known contemporary historian of ancient Rome’s vibrant
culture and certainly its most eloquent spokesperson. Cambridge professor, salty blogger,
television personality, and best-selling authoress of riveting and dramatic prose, Beard teases new
interpretations out of ancient literary and historical texts, archaic Latin inscriptions on stone
and papyrus, and senatorial laws and imperial decrees. What is most exciting, however, is that

The 2020 Elections: What Next for American Foreign Policy?

President Donald Trump has swept away many pillars of postwar U.S. foreign policy. His
transactional approach to diplomacy is a sharp break from traditional American support for the
liberal world order. From trade strategy to the Middle East, President Trump has radically changed
U.S. behavior on the world stage. Few would say that these changes have been a success. Some
would say, however, that Trump initiatives, such as a tough line on trade with China, have been long

The American Civil War in Historical Perspective

The death toll was by far the highest in U.S. history—yet there is a new and hot debate about
how many died. The political friction leading to the war has been deemed our worst—unless you
count 1775, 1916, and 2016? 2020? Lincoln is now a hero—though his failures at the time were
unprecedented. Reconstruction after the war was a success—or so most people thought until
the 1960s. The soldiers were the cream of American youth—until you look into the problems of
desertion and crime. But more than those problems: How did ‘the American Tragedy’ compare to

Two Irishmen, Two Novels, Two Portraits

In a lively, collaborative seminar, we will read and discuss Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, and follow it with James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Both novels tell the story of a young man’s painful development and the influences that aid or thwart him; and both works fit intriguingly but uncomfortably within the tradition of the Bildungsroman (the novel of growth). These authors were rebellious Irishmen who wanted to break from literary, social, and sexual conventions, and their novels were accused of indecency and irreverence.

Hollywood Votes: Images from the World of Politics in Films of the Classic Era

Depictions of political contests, government intrigues and the challenges faced by elected officials
all made for several excellent movies during the Classic Era. Many talented screenwriters and
directors explored the political arena with wit, solid characterizations, good-natured humor and
a few genuine insights into the lives of historical figures such as Abe Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson,
Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, Andrew Jackson, Mayor Jimmie Walker of New York and many

Wildflowers, Birds, and Mushrooms

These three most popular nature subjects will be the object of our explorations in Door County’s most beautiful preserves. The early tinges of nature’s fall color palette with make the scenes most picturesque. We will venture out to Washington Island in search of the rarer species that inhabit this isolated island. You must be able to walk on unpaved trails for distances of two miles over a period of 2 ½ hours.
There is a $25 materials fee for this course added upon registration.

Which Way to the White House? Presidential Campaign Parades from 1896 to 2020

March in America’s quadrennial parade of presidential history. Feel the fun of campaign culture—
buttons and banners, cartoons and slogans, conventions, debates and stump speeches. With
magnification from the lens of history, see both the shining and soiled sides of candidates and their
strategies. Consider how campaigns have evolved to influence the 2020 election.
Wrestle with this year’s issues—from foreign interference to voter suppression, from climate change

What Happens Next?: The Importance of the Strong Storyline in Classic Hollywood Films

A generally-acknowledged asset of films of the Classic Era is their dependence on the strength of
the storyline and the development of that certain quality which keeps the audience involved and
entertained. This seminar will focus on several excellent examples of cinematic stories that seize
the interest of the audience in the opening moments and hold the filmgoer’s attention until the last
frame. These compelling storylines may occur in any given genre, and examples will be offered from

Flirting with Disaster: Turning Personal Obsession into Memoir

Memoirists and personal essayists, by definition, fashion their art from the rubble-field of their
memories and desires, their ghosts and guilts. But turning a life into a story is risky business. Your
secrets may be exposed, your friends and family embarrassed. Or maybe you’ll be accused of “navel
gazing,” mistakenly believing the world is waiting to read your diary. Either way, it seems, it’s a
disaster. This class will focus on how essayists and memoirs navigate these treacherous waters,

Watercolor: The Expressive Medium

This seminar is for novice through experienced artists. Drawing skills are useful but not required. Participants will be a part of a creative community that invites them to experiment with a wide-range of traditional and non-traditional watercolor techniques and learn to create strong individualized artistic statements. Participants from previous summers are welcome to repeat this class and are welcome to focus on independent projects or work with the instructor to figure out next steps.

Creative Photography

Discover how to use your digital and smartphone camera to develop your imagination and creativity
in art. Spend a week in Door County creating images through photography. Students will be given
daily shooting assignments to inspire their personal vision. Participants will be asked to come with
specific camera and editing apps on their phone. Instruction will be given on using those apps
to edit and enhance your photographs. Students will have the opportunity to make professional

The Fall of Rome: From Caesar to King and From Jupiter to Jesus in 500 Years

In the year 300, Rome was still the greatest empire the West had known to that point. By 800, the city
of Rome was a shadow of its former self, Charlemagne had been crowned by the pope as Emperor of
Europe, Irene was the Byzantine Empress, and Harun al-Rashid was Caliph in Baghdad. The world
was a much different place. Within 500 years, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa had changed greatly.
Where once there were citizens, there were now barbarians. Where once there was one empire, there

Is Belief in God Rational?

The problem of God has been more widely discussed than any other in Western philosophy.
Arguments for and against the existence of God abound! But, the “problem of God” is much broader
and deeper than just the question of existence. There are questions about the very nature of God.
What properties can be ascribed to “the being than whom no greater can be conceived”? Is such a
being even possible? Is such a being within the bounds of human understanding? And, ultimately, is

The Stars: Mansions Built by Nature’s Hand

On a clear night, far from the light and the rush of the city, you can see thousands of stars. They tell our
stories, guide our way, and quietly mark time. From a twinkle of light, the stars reveal something much
more: the history of our celestial home, the Universe. From the formation of our planet, to the life of
our Sun, the swirling maelstrom of our galaxy, and the unimaginable deep of Infinity, the lights of the
night sky reveal the vast sweep of the cosmos.

Water Cycle: A Journey Around the Science and Policy of Earth’s Most Precious Resource

Water is Earth’s most important resource: life requires it, communities thrive on it, and economies
depend on it. Yet water crises are becoming more common, from floods and droughts to
contaminated drinking water and microplastics. In our seminar, we will explore the science and
policy of this mighty molecule and how water availability, conservation, policy, and cultural
attitudes vary from place to place. While on the shore of Lake Michigan, we will discuss questions

Poignant, Prosaic, and Possibly Pointless: The Stories of Anton Chekhov

This seminar will explore the medically precise descriptions and farcical humor that shape the
work of Anton Chekhov. We will trace his focus on the minutia of everyday life to Monty Python
skits, “Seinfeld” and “The Office.” We will also follow themes in his writing, such as the nature of
faith or responsibility or love; the hazards of education or art; and the modern economy’s collision
with the family and the environment. Readings will include short stories, parts of novels, plays,

The Great Patriotic War: World War II Through Soviet Eyes

This seminar will explore a variety of materials related to the Great Patriotic War, as the conflict between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany in 1941–1945 is called in the countries of the former Soviet Union. While in the West Victory Day might be seen only as a pretext for the military parade on the Red Square and Putin’s demonstration of Russia’s military might, in fact, the memory of the war is very strong and very personal in Russia.

The Weimar Republic: Grandeur and Disaster

The Weimar Republic, born in 1919 amid the chaos of Germany’s defeat in war and
humiliation at the Versailles Congress, died in 1933 with the Nazis’ ascent to power. Its brief
life included spectacular advances in culture and science as Berlin became the global center
of art, music, film and nuclear physics. It experienced devastating inflation and spectacular
recovery, then the Great Depression. National life—most dramatically Berlin’s streets—was
the stage for the struggle of democracy against revolutionary communism and National

Listen to the Birds

Our goal is to see as many birds as we can find, especially ones you select, in the most beautiful preserves in the county. My goal is to deepen your love and excitement for these amazing creatures and to expose you to a new way of birding where you learn from the birds, not just identify them. You will also learn field identification skills, bird sounds using a variety of sound tools, techniques for understanding the complex behaviors of birds, and fascinating discoveries that science has made about birds.