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Bucket Course starting January 9

     The winter session of Bucket Courses will start January 9 with a lecture by Jon Andelson, Rosenfield Professor of Social Science (Anthropology) and director of the Center for Prairie Studies at Grinnell College 
     His talk will compare the founding and early years of Grinnell and Amana. The title is “A Tale of Two Cities  (Towns, That Is): Two Utopias Founded on the Iowa Prairie in 1854.”
     The class will be held from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, January 9, at the Drake Community Library. Admission is free and advance registration is not necessary for the class.
     Andelson notes that Grinnell and the Amana Colonies are only 44 miles apart. “By other measures they are worlds apart,” Andelson said. “One is the conservative religious community founded by pious German immigrants, and the other is a progressive entrepreneurial community founded by free-thinking New England abolitionists.” 
     Yet there are surprising similarities between the two. “Some of the similarities are due to both being established on the Iowa prairie in the same year. Other similarities are due to both being inspired by utopian visions of social betterment.”
     In Andelson’s own experience, Grinnell and Amana have a strong link. “The one is the town I came to for college and returned to for a long teaching career.  The other (Amana) is the place that, more than any other, provided the basis for my teaching.”  
     Andelson has taught at Grinnell College since 1974. A native of Chicago, he attended Grinnell College and earned a doctorate in anthropology at the University of Michigan.  His principal field research on the Amana Colonies has resulted in numerous publications.  
     He is married to Karin Stein and has three grown daughters.
     The Bucket Courses will continue on January 16 with the start of a four-session series by Michael Guenther, associate professor of history at Grinnell College. Registration for that class, which is encouraged, will begin January 2. To register, go to

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