Skip Navigation

Quest Program

Check back in early spring for Quest 2018 topics.

Quest meets for four consecutive days each summer to study a topic in-depth. New topics are discussed each year through presentations, discussions and field trips. All adults are welcome!

Quest topics for Summer 2017 are The Election: Looking Back, Going Forward (June 19-22) and The '60s, '70s, '80s and '90s (July 17-20).
quest_election

June 19-22: The Election: Looking Back, Going Forward

We will look at the 2016 Presidential Election.

Cost: $189

Monday

Morning Session –
America's Foreign Policy: 2017-2021

Instructor: Gary Midkiff

Our basic foreign policy objectives have remained the same since the end of World War II. Various administrations have seen challenges somewhat differently – e.g. President Dwight Eisenhower saw the greatest threat based in the Soviet Union, President George W. Bush saw the greatest threat based in the Middle East. The new administration has outlined a set of objectives that seem to veer from accepted orthodoxy. Is this a dangerous tangent or an overdue strategic reassessment?

Afternoon Session –
Journalism in a Time of President Trump

Instructor: John Kupetz

George Orwell said, "The further society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it." Proving Orwell’s point, the president of the United States has called the news media "the enemy of the American people." This session is moderated by a journalism teacher who believes press has never been more important than it is now. Participants should come ready to discuss their view of the press.

Tuesday

Morning Session –
America's Economy and Trade Policy: 2017-2021

Instructor: Gary Midkiff

The new administration inherited an expanding economy, steady job growth, and robust levels of international trade. Yet in part, the 2016 campaign was based on assertions that we were being taken advantage of in trade and we needed an America-first policy to bring back lost jobs. This session will delve into this topic and attempt to uncover reality.

Afternoon Session –
Telling Jokes to Power – America’s Great Political Satirists

Instructor: Barry Bradford

"I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts." Will Rogers. From Mark Twain to Bill Maher, from Will Rogers to Jon Stewart, America has a hilarious history of political satire. In this unique, funny and thought-provoking multimedia presentation, cultural historian, former stand-up comic and political enthusiast Barry Bradford offers an insightful look into the lives and times of the men and women who help us laugh at our government.

Wednesday

Morning Session –
From Fiction to Fact: The Dead Zone

Instructor: John Kupetz

In 1979 Stephen King envisioned a populist, platitude-pronouncing candidate running for the U.S. Senate as the antagonist in a novel that David Cronenberg adapted into a 1983 supernatural thriller.The Dead Zone stars Christopher Walken as an English teacher who wakes from a coma and through touch can see the future. He shakes hands with the candidate, played by Martin Sheen, and sees he should not be president. Participants will screen and discuss the film in relation to the current political climate.

Afternoon Session –
Reflections on 250 years of German-American Relations

Instructor: Anette Isaacs

When the leaders of the world’s principal industrial nations meet at the G20 summit in Hamburg this July, U.S. President Trump will be introduced to the international political stage. This seminal event presents us with a perfect opportunity to take a closer look at the history of German-American relations. Join German historian Anette Isaacs, M.A. for a fascinating discussion of the achievements - and also challenges - of this remarkable affiliation.

Thursday

Morning Session –
Voter Fraud and Voter Suppression: The Fight Over Voting Rights

Instructor: Julie Strauss, Ph.D

Voting laws are changing in many states. Many of these changes stem from the 2013 Supreme Court decision on the 1965 Voting Rights Act. This class will explore how this decision has sparked voting law changes in several states. We will also look at efforts by other states to expand and retract access to the polls. In the wake of the 2016 election, voting rights continue to be an issue. Don’t miss this session about a crucial aspect of our electoral process.

Afternoon Session –
Democrat Response to the 2016 Election

Instructor: Julie Strauss, Ph.D

We will cover the mechanics of how President Donald Trump won the presidency, including how he won the Electoral College. Then we will discuss the Democrat Party’s response to Republican control of both Congress and the White House. We will examine the policies that both parties are able to support and those on which there is disagreement. We will also examine how the filibuster is being used and how the Congressional leaders are working with the current administration.


quest_decades

July 17-20: The '60s, '70s, '80s and '90s

We will take a look back across the decades.

Cost: $189

Monday

Morning Session –
Chicago '68

Instructor: Dave Groeninger

In 1968 the world seemed to turn upside down. Nowhere was this more manifest than in Chicago when the Democrat Party met to nominate their presidential candidate. In this session we will revisit the figures and forces that violently collided on the streets of the city that summer, creating shock waves that continue to reverberate today.

Afternoon Session –
Who Killed JFK?

Instructor: Barry Bradford

The murder of JFK has been one of the most debated, discussed, dissected and controversial events in history. Even before the Warren Commission issued their report finding that Lee Harvey Oswald was the only killer, the public was skeptical. How could a man like Oswald pull off such a dastardly crime? And what about all those secret files? And all the conspiracy theories? And the movies, books, articles and documentaries? In this fast-paced, highly informative multimedia presentation, historian Barry Bradford will do his best to answer as many of these questions as possible.

Tuesday

Morning Session –
Watergate

Instructor: Barry Bradford

Watergate was a major political scandal that occurred in the 1970s. In this fast-moving multimedia presentation, we will look at the roots of the crime and the desperate attempts of the Nixon Administration to cover it up, all of which were unraveled by journalists, a judge and Congress.

Afternoon Session –
All the President’s Men

Instructor: John Kupetz

Participants will view and discuss one of the great films of the 1970s and journalism as it should be practiced as a check on the excesses of power. All the Presidents Men is based on the book by the reporters whose dogged journalism held the light of truth against the darkness of the Nixon Administration. The 1976 film directed by Alan Pakula, shows that good journalism takes the Wizard of Oz virtues of courage, heart and brains – and the help of the most celebrated anonymous source in the history of journalism. The cinematography by the great Gordon Willis and a screenplay by William Goldman combine to remind us that speaking truth to power is always good for democracy.

Wednesday

Field Trip:  9 a.m. to 3 p.m. –
Field Trip to Naperville

Tour Leader: Dave Groeninger

Ranked today among the "best places to live" and "top earning towns" in the nation, Naperville’s origins (like its neighbor to the east, Chicago) date to the 1830s. Join us for a tour of Naperville’s past and present, as we attempt to locate the keys to the city’s remarkable recent growth and success in the context of its long association and competition with Chicago.

Thursday

Morning Session –
The Pendulum Swings to the Left

Instructor: Gary Midkiff

The political mainstream changed course many times over the past 40 years with President Ronald Reagan's two administrations, the main example of the political right trying to create a new path for the country to follow. But as we identify the most important legislation of this period, we find President Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society" and NAFTA (initiated by President G.H.W. Bush and signed by President Clinton) - liberal additions to our nation's fabric that still have impact on us today.

Afternoon Session –
Amy Tan

Instructor: Sara Stephens

One of the most popular writers of the 1980s was Amy Tan and that standing still holds today. In the early 1980s, she wrote The Kitchen God's Wife. Prior to that was her first novel, The Joy Luck Club, that became an instant bestseller and feature film. She has continued a steady stream of celebrated tales, despite some major life setbacks. Find out what they were and be inspired.