2021 Fall

Classes are now free of charge with your UMASC Membership.


The Price of Progress and Should We Care?

Instructor: Chuck Acker

Thursdays • 8 classes – 9/23-11/18 (No class 11/11) • 10:15 AM-12:15 PM

Class size 7-25 students
15 seats remaining
Location: Zoom

This course is about the clash of class, the loss of industrial progress to pollution and disease, and the search for empathy in a nation divided.

It is the story of the working class, illustrated by the history of Mexico, Maine. The mill town promised well-being for everyone willing to work for it. Instead, these folks are now living not only with hopes diminished but also, sadly, with the scorn of many of us who carry the means of achieving wealth in our heads. We will refer to this latter class as the “aspirational class,” a term coined by Elizabeth Currid-Halkett. Its members are characterized by the skills, information, and power attained through education beyond high school.

We will look at how the differing orientations and preoccupations of the knowledge and working classes contribute to our great national divide. Finally, we will seek ways to minimize that divide.

Textbooks: In lieu of tuition please purchase (or beg or borrow) the Arsenault book,  Mill Town: Reckoning with What Remains.  In addition, excerpts and summaries will be offered in the lecture part of the course from The Sum of Small Things: A Theory of the Aspirational Class  by Currid-Halkett.


  SYLLABUS: Course guide by units

Charles Acker holds a PhD in clinical and physiological psychology from UCLA to help him understand belief systems and mind-body relationships. In the distant past, he worked with community leaders, interested older citizens, Senior College Network promoters and key UMA personnel to help bring Senior College to Augusta.