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A Brief Exploration of Japanese Poetry

Over the course of this module we will read and explore the work of a few major pre-modern Japanese poets in translation, putting them in their historical, cultural, and religious contexts along the way, but always focusing on the poetry itself. Group discussion is strongly encouraged. Poetry and poets covered will include that of the Manyōshū, Saigyō, Princess Shikishi, and Bashō. Time permitting, we can add to the list.
Precepted by Robert Steed and Pilar Barrera.

A Casual Look at Etymology in Paleontology

Have you ever wondered what Tyrannosaurus Rex means? How about Basilosaurus? Deinosuchus? Gigantopithacus? Argentavis? Okay you have to know Megalodon, right? Well, if you are interested in learning about the meaning behind some of your favorite prehistoric animal names, then join me for this sit down discussion. No prior knowledge of a secondary language (namely Greek and Latin) is required. This module is intended to be a fun chat to help you better identify certain creatures the next time you head to a natural history museum -- or the next time the topic shows up on Jeopardy!
Precepted by Joshua Sosa.

A Cultural History of Anime

In this module we will look at the historical development of anime, with special attention to its uses in re-imagining post-war Japanese culture and society. From Momotaro’s Divine Sea Warriors to mushroom-cloud explosions and kawaii aesthetic, come explore how anime shapes Japanese (and others’) perceptions of Japanese history and culture.
Precepted by Robert Steed.

Advanced Greek Readings: Gospel of John

Find yourself in need of a refresher for your Greek skills? Come join us for reading the Gospel of John in the original Greek! This module will review grammar where needed, discuss the latest lexical tools, touch on textual issues, but mostly work through this text at a relaxed pace.
Precepted by Larry Swain.

Advanced Greek Readings: Gospel of John Series

Come join us as we continue reading the Gospel of John in the original Greek! This module will review grammar where needed, discuss the latest lexical tools, touch on textual issues, but mostly work through this text at a relaxed pace.
Precepted by Larry Swain.

Advanced Greek Readings: Gospel of Matthew

Find yourself in need of a refresher for your Greek skills? Come join us for reading the Gospel of Matthew in the original Greek! This module will review grammar where needed, discuss the latest lexical tools, touch on textual issues, but mostly work through this text at a relaxed pace.
Precepted by Larry Swain.

Advanced Greek Readings: Paul's Letter to the Galatians

Find yourself in need of a refresher for your Greek skills? Come join us for reading the Paul's Letter to the Galatians in the original Greek! This module will review grammar where needed, discuss the latest lexical tools, touch on textual issues, but mostly work through this text at a relaxed pace.
Precepted by Larry Swain.

Advanced Latin: Aesop's Fables

Aesop’s Fables are an odd collection of stories of multiple genres, some by Aesop, others attributed to him over the centuries. According to Herodotus, Aesop lived in the sixth century BCE, indicating that some form of the fables were already traditional and hoary when Herodotus was writing in the early fifth century BCE. In the Middle Ages, Latin versions of the fables were used as intermediate texts for students learning Latin. This module picks up with that tradition for the 21st century!
Precepted by Larry Swain.

Advanced Latin: Hobbitus Ille

Latin is such a great language that many wonderful modern texts have been translated into the language: Dr. Seuss, Alice in Wonderful, Asterix and Obelix, Harry Potter…..and Tolkien’s The Hobbit. Join this module to read this beloved story in Latin!
Precepted by Larry Swain.

Advanced Latin Readings: Cicero's Pro Archia Oration

Cicero is perhaps the preeminent Latin prose stylist. He made his fame in Rome as a barrister and senator opposed to Caesar. In this trial of the poet Archius, Cicero defends the humanities as a vital area of study earning Archius Roman citizenship rather than deportation.
Precepted by Larry Swain.

Advanced Old English: Ælfric's Letter to Sigeweard

For this month, we turn again to Aelfric of Eynsham, the most prolific writer in Old English. In this letter, he addresses a nobleman and tries to teach him what Aelfric considers to be the important things of the Christian faith. It is a fascinating text to read and has a little something for everyone interested in the language, literature, and culture of Early Medieval England.
Precepted by Larry Swain.

Advanced Old English: Ælfric's Lives of the Saints

Saints’ Lives were a major and important genre of literature and were composed in prose and poetry. In this module we will look at three prose lives written in the 990s by Aelfric of Eynsham, from whose quill more Old English survives than even the prolific Anonymous! Those three are English figures: Kings who became saints Oswin and Edmund and the capital city saint Swithun. Then we will begin Guthlac A, one of the poetic treatments of a St Guthlac of East Anglia.
Precepted by Larry Swain.

Advanced Old English: Apollonius of Tyre

This is one of the most popular tales of the Ancient and Medieval worlds! Originally a Hellenistic Greek tale, translated into Latin, and then many Latin and vernacular versions thereafter. The earliest vernacular is the Old English translation by the ubiquitous Anonymous. The tale has incest, murder, unjust punishments, hidden identities, and resolutions. Apollonius of Tyre is a corker of a tale and fun in any language!
Precepted by Larry Swain.

Advanced Old English: Cynewulf's Christ II

Cynewulf is one of the few poets whose name we know from the Old English period. He composed 4 narrative poems casting saints' lives into Old English poetry. "Christ II" is so named because it is one of three poems dealing with key moments in Christ's life: the "Advent" and Incarnation, the Ascension, and the Harrowing of Hell. This middle poem is the one we know as certainly as we can that it was composed by Cynewulf and has a number of very interesting features.
Precepted by Larry Swain.

Advanced Old English: Genesis A 1

The long poem that scholars have named Genesis A is a retelling and adaptation of the first 22 chapters of Genesis into a Germanic heroic poem! Among the many points of interest is that this poem contains the FIRST time in intellectual history that the NARRATIVE of the Fall of the Angels is told and made a part of the Creation Story. The poem is almost as long as Beowulf, so this module will start at the beginning and get as far as we get, with plans to return to it in future modules.
Precepted by Larry Swain.

Advanced Old English: Genesis A 2

This is a continuation from where we left off in Genesis A 1... The long poem that scholars have named Genesis A is a retelling and adaptation of the first 22 chapters of Genesis into a Germanic heroic poem! Among the many points of interest is that this poem contains the FIRST time in intellectual history that the NARRATIVE of the Fall of the Angels is told and made a part of the Creation Story. The poem is almost as long as Beowulf, so this module began at the beginning of the poem and now we shall continue where we left off!
Precepted by Larry Swain.

Advanced Old English: Heroic Elegies

J. R. R. Tolkien suggested in his seminal Monsters and the Critics that Beowulf is a heroic elegy. In this module, we will translate some of the Old English Heroic Elegies such as Deor, Wife’s Lament, Husband’s Message, The Ruin, and if time others. Not only translating, the question is how these “elegies” relate to Beowulf, or Tolkien’s own work. The module emphasizes translation and working in Old English, but also how that applies to other literature (i. e. this stuff isn’t in a vacuum!)
Precepted by Larry Swain.

Advanced Old English Readings in Poetry: Judith and Exodus

The Early English adapted Biblical material into heroic poetry. In this module two of those poems will be translated and discussed, each only a few hundred lines.
Precepted by Larry Swain.

Advanced Old English Readings in Prose: the Old English Boethius

Alfred the Great had Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy translated into Old English. This module will translate and comment on this translation and how it adapts the late Roman text to the early medieval context.
Precepted by Larry Swain.

Advanced Old English: Riddles

This module will read as many of the Riddles in Old English as possible. The Riddles cover a wide range of subjects from the bawdy to sublime, aimed at both lower class and learned classes. In short, they are fun!
Precepted by Larry Swain.

Advanced Old Norse: Volsunga Saga 1

Vǫlsunga saga (“The Saga of the Vǫlsungs”) is a medieval Icelandic retelling of one of the best-known legendary cycles of the pre-modern Germanic-speaking world – stories that influenced the operas of Richard Wagner, the fantasies of J. R. R. Tolkien, and many other modern creative artists. In this module, you will begin to translate Vǫlsunga saga and discuss both the language and how the saga’s version of the legends relate to other versions known from the medieval world.
Precepted by Carl Anderson.

Advanced Old Norse: Volsunga Saga Series

Vǫlsunga saga (“The Saga of the Vǫlsungs”) is a medieval Icelandic retelling of one of the best-known legendary cycles of the pre-modern Germanic-speaking world – stories that influenced the operas of Richard Wagner, the fantasies of J. R. R. Tolkien, and many other modern creative artists. In this module, we will continue to translate the Vǫlsunga saga and discuss both the language and how the saga’s version of the legends relate to other versions known from the medieval world.

Note: This module can be joined in any month.
Precepted by Carl Anderson.

Ancient Egyptian Mages

An examination of who used magic in Egypt, with an emphasis on characters within literary genres and known professions. This includes the story of Khufu, the Nubian sorcerers, the use of Shabtis, and later stories, including Lucian and the inspiration for Fantasia. This also includes priests, healers, and professional magic users. What do we know about fictional and nonfictional magic users? How and why did they practice? What areas did they work in?
Precepted by Shawn Gaffney.

Ancient Greek Morphology

Designed for intermediate students of Classical or Biblical Greek with roughly a year under their belts, this course will provide a detailed look at the inflectional system of Ancient Greek, moving past the memorization of paradigms to provide a rich linguistic explanation for why Ancient Greek word forms work the way they do.
Precepted by James Tauber.

An Intensive Reading of the Tao Te Ching (Daode jing)

"The Way that can be talked about is not the lasting Way": so begins this classic text of world literature and Chinese philosophical and religious thought. The Tao Te Ching has been read, interpreted, and applied in a variety of ways throughout Chinese and world history. We'll do a close reading as well as explore the larger commentarial tradition surrounding it, using it as a gateway to explore further dimensions of East Asian culture and to spark conversations within the class.
Precepted by Robert Steed.

Are You Tolkien To Me?

Why are the works of J.R.R. Tolkien still so relevant to us in the 21st century? In this course, we will look at some of the central themes of his novels, including Family, Home, Good vs. Evil, and Loss, exploring how Tolkien is still speaking to us almost fifty years after his death.
Precepted by Sara Brown.

"Arrival" and Adaptation

The 2016 film ""Arrival"" and the novella on which it is based (Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang, 1998) are wildly different from one another. In this course, half of us will read the story first, then watch the film, while the other half of the class will watch the movie first, then read the story. We will compare our reactions and discuss how the genre/medium affect adaptation choices. We will also talk about each work on its own merits, including a day with one of Signum's fine linguists on the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis.
Precepted by Sørina Higgins.

Babylon 5: Who Are You?

The first of the two essential questions raised in Babylon 5, “Who are you” demands that listeners and respondents consider the nature of their own mortality and personhood, delving deeply into their multifaceted identities. This four-week seminar explores the responses to this question as given by six core members of the Babylon 5 universe and considers its presentation as a core Vorlon question, examining the world of Babylon 5 as a space of introspection and self-discovery.
Precepted by Faith Acker.

Beginning Greek 1

Want to read the NT in the original Greek? The Greek translation of the Old Testament? This module’s for you! The first module seeks to introduce learners to the basics of ancient Greek: the alphabet, introduction to the verb system (tenses and moods) and the noun system (the very helpful article, first and second declension). Over several modules, the students will learn the foundations of the language and then students will be able to read texts.
Precepted by James Tauber.

Beginning Greek Series

Want to read the NT in the original Greek? The Greek translation of the Old Testament? This module’s for you! The first module seeks to introduce learners to the basics of ancient Greek: the alphabet, introduction to the verb system (tenses and moods) and the noun system (the very helpful article, first and second declension). Over several modules, the students will learn the foundations of the language and then students will be able to read texts.
Precepted by James Tauber and Larry Swain.

Beginning Japanese 1

Come join us as we begin to learn basic Japanese, focusing on the four areas of reading, writing, speaking, and listening comprehension. Over the course of this module we will learn: the characteristics of the three scripts (hiragana, katakana, and kanji); how to read and write hiragana; to be able to say and understand set phrases (social interaction-related); how to formulate a simple declarative sentence (AはBです structure); how to formulate a simple interrogative sentence; how to read orally; and vocabulary relevant to dialogues in the textbook. 一緒に日本語を勉強しましょうか! (Shall we study Japanese together?!)
Precepted by Robert Steed.
Backup preceptor: Pilar Barrera.

Beginning Japanese 2

Building on the material covered in Beginning Japanese 1, we will cover lessons three and part of four in the Genki textbook, including: introduction to and learning to use katakana; solidifying usage of hiragana; introduction to kanji (around 10-20); developing communication abilities beyond stative sentences, focusing on the introduction of non-stative verbs; new vocabulary; continuing the development of fluency in the four aspects of language mastery.
Precepted by Robert Steed.
Backup preceptor: Pilar Barrera.

Beginning Japanese 3

Focusing on chapters three (depending on how far we got in Beginning Japanese 2), four, and five in the textbook, we plan to improve our understanding of particles, verb categories and conjugations, describing where things are, forming the past tense of verbs, and increasing our abilities to use and "conjugate" adjectives----which do have tense in Japanese. As always, we will also be increasing our vocabulary and kanji knowledge. This module should be especially exciting because after laying various foundations in the first two units, we now begin to be able to actually have short conversations and form everyday useful sentences.
Precepted by Robert Steed.

Beginning Scottish Gaelic 1

Beginning Scottish Gaelic 1 introduces language and grammar in line with European fluency standard A1. Covering basic conversation, vocabulary building, introducing case structure, irregular verbs, and prepositional pronouns, this module will be using the A1 Inntrigeadh resources from SpeakGaelic.scot.
Module Class Delivery
Class 1 and 2 will cover Topic 1: New Friends
Class 3 and 4 will cover Topic 2: Places
Class 5 and 6 will cover Topic 3: Weather
Class 7 and 8 will cover Topic 4: Family

Beginning Scottish Gaelic 2

Beginning Scottish Gaelic 2 continues our language and grammar study in line with European fluency standard A1. This module continues where we left off, using the A1 Inntrigeadh resources from SpeakGaelic.scot.
Module Class Delivery
Class 1 and 2 will cover Topic 5: Home
Class 3 and 4 will cover Topic 6: Time
Class 5 and 6 will cover Topic 7: Work
Class 7 and 8 will cover Topic 8: Time Off

Beginning Scottish Gaelic 3

Beginning Scottish Gaelic 3 continues our language and grammar study in line with European fluency standard A1. This module continues where we left off, using the A1 Inntrigeadh resources from SpeakGaelic.scot.
Module Class Delivery
Class 1 and 2 will cover Topic 9: Food & Drink
Class 3 and 4 will cover Topic 10: Shopping
Class 5 and 6 will cover Topic 11: Day-to-day
Class 7 and 8 will cover Topic 12: Describing People

Beginning Spanish 1

The first module of an 8-module series, designed for beginners of Spanish who have had very little or no previous contact with the language. The purpose of the course is to build up communication skills through interactive and dynamic sessions. The modules overview essential vocabulary, expressions, and grammar. This is a progressive course, so each module builds on the concepts studied in the previous one, so that, as the modules progress, other students with prior knowledge may join. Vamos a aprender español!
Precepted by Pilar Barrera.

Beginning Spanish Series

This 8-module series is designed for beginners of Spanish who have had very little or no previous contact with the language. The purpose of the course is to build up communication skills through interactive and dynamic sessions. The modules overview essential vocabulary, expressions, and grammar. This is a progressive course, so each module builds on the concepts studied in the previous one, so that, as the modules progress, other students with prior knowledge may join. Vamos a aprender español!
Precepted by Pilar Barrera.

Biological Concepts in Fantasy and Science Fiction

From the nesting habits of dragons to the process of zombification, science has become an increasingly important component of speculative fiction (fantasy, sci-fi, and horror). This module will explore the ways in which various works have incorporated biological principles to enhance their worlds, creatures, and characters and to draw in audiences of increasingly scientifically aware readers and viewers.
Precepted by Ryan Kimbell.

Bridge to the Silmarillion

This course is intended for people who have read Lord of the Rings and are beginners to the Silmarillion. We will re-read various passages from Lord of the Rings that make reference to First Age people, places, and events: the mighty Elf-friends of old, the Exile of the Elves; the Tale of Tinúviel; the story of Eärendil and more. We will whet our appetites and gather some motivating questions that will make a future journey into the Silmarillion easier and more enjoyable.

Buddhism 1: Introduction to Early Buddhism

In this module we will explore the formation and development of early Buddhist traditions, focusing on the life of the historical Buddha, the Deer Park Dharma Discourse, the formation of the Sangha (Buddhist monastic community), and the foundational teachings of the Four Noble Truths, the Three Marks of Existence, and the Chain of Dependent Origination.
Precepted by Robert Steed.

Buddhism 2: Introduction to Mahayana Buddhism

Building on the "Introduction to Early Buddhism" module, we will explore the development of Mahayana Buddhist traditions, focusing especially on Madhyamika and Yogacara trends, the Zen and Pure Land Schools, the Heart Sutra, the Lotus Sutra, and interactions with Chinese religio-philosophical systems, especially Daoism, and the fascinating culture of the Dunhuang caves.
Precepted by Robert Steed.

Buddhism 3: Introduction to Vajrayana Buddhism

Building on the previous two Intro to Buddhism modules in this sequence, we will explore the colorful and varied forms of Vajrayana Buddhism, focusing especially on developments in Tibet, but not ignoring the larger world of esoteric Buddhism. The various sects, arts such as the creation of sand mandalas, ritual practices, and various forms of teaching will all be explored.
Precepted by Robert Steed.

Chaucer in Middle English: The Canterbury Tales

Read what Chaucer wrote in his own language! The famed Canterbury Tales are a wonderful read in Middle English and this module will focus on The Miller’s Tale.
Precepted by Larry Swain.

Classical Chinese 1

This is the textual language of the early classical Chinese philosophical and literary tradition, bearing a relationship to modern forms of Chinese like that of classical Latin to a modern Romance language. Just as one does not need to know Italian to study Latin, no prior knowledge of modern forms of Chinese is needed to study the classical language. This language served as a kind of "lingua franca" throughout East Asia for much of history, much like the role Church Latin served in medieval Europe. In this module we will begin building the grammar, syntax, and vocabulary to eventually be able to engage with the texts associated with Chinese thinkers such as Confucius, Laozi, Zhuangzi, and Mozi. If a cohort forms, we can continue this study within a continuing sequence. We will focus exclusively on developing the ability to read it as a literary language.
Precepted by Robert Steed.

Constructed and Fictional Languages in Science Fiction

The use of fictional languages in science fiction from the good to the bad. This includes fully constructed languages, references to constructed and foreign languages, as well as misuse or misunderstandings of language change. How these subtle points contribute to or detract from world building. This will expand on the work of Ria Cheyne through examples and delving deeper linguistically.
Precepted by Shawn Gaffney.

Conversational French

Learn French like you learned your first language – through stories, questions, and answers.
Precepted by Sarah Tripp.

Conversational German 1 of 2

This 8-session introduction to German is intended to give the students a basic acquaintanceship with the German language and enough information for further study. Beginning German 1 covers the alphabet, basic verb conjugation, important verbs like Haben and Sein, pronouns, grammatical gender, nominative vs. accusative cases, forming questions, and giving dates and times. Some specific vocabulary content is given in the session breakdown, but the individual entries are not meant to be either restrictive or exhaustive.

Session Breakdown:
- Session 1: The alphabet and sounds; the present tense of regular verbs; colors and numbers
- Session 2: Haben und Sein; nominative pronouns; noun gender; Was studieren Sie (what do you study?) and Wo wohnen Sie (where do you live?);
- Session 3: Fragewörter (question words) and forming questions; yes/no questions; “Interview” game
- Session 4: coordinating conjunctions; describing your field of study; the verb mögen (to like)
- Session 5: Die Wochentage (days of the week); Die Uhrzeiten (time); Der Wochenplan (weekly schedule)
- Session 6: Planning a meeting with a friend (combination of Der Wochenplan and the “Questions” from Session 3); negation (Nicht and Kein)
- Session 7: The accusative case; description of rooms (Ich habe/Es gibt); accusative pronouns
- Session 8: Accusative prepositions; general review
Precepted by Isaac Schendel.

Conversational German 2 of 2

This course continues along the track established by Conversational German 1. This month, the topics are a bit more “fun,” focusing a great deal on “free time” activities and the students’ subjects of interests. Grammar is a bit more limited, but the biggest grammatical subject – modal verbs – are complicated enough to merit intense study. A final grammatical case, the dative, is introduced in the final two sessions. Because this module builds on the previous one, there is slightly more repetition in the sessions listed below.

Session Breakdown:
- Session 1: Introduction and review; nominative and accusative case; conjugation of regular conjugations
- Session 2: Der Alltag (the normal day); Irregular and Stem-changing verbs in the present; the German breakfast;
- Session 3: More practice with “irregular” verbs; Einkaufen gehen (going shopping); repetition of modal verbs; gern; Obst und Gemüse
- Session 4: Freizeit; modal verbs; review of Wochenplan vocabulary (date and time); repetition of coordinating conjunctions
- Session 5: Kleider (clothing); Musik hören (listening to music);
- Session 6: Sport treiben (exercise); evaluating hobbies (adjectives like entspannend “relaxing” or interessant “interesting”); Restaurant vocabulary
- Session 7: general review of cases; indirect objects and the dative case for nouns.
- Session 8: The dative case for pronouns; dative prepositions.
Precepted by Isaac Schendel.

Conversational Spanish

In this module, we will speak about art, hobbies, memories, and many other topics in Spanish. We will examine specific vocabulary and expressions in an interactive way.
Precepted by Pilar Barrera.

Creative Writing: Long Project Preparation

Well-prepared writers enjoy more completion success! We will build worlds, plan character arcs, and try to define the bones of our stories during a month of glorious sub-creation! When you declare your intentions to the group, that act of bravery alone adds momentum to your writing efforts after the month is over. (This Module is great preparation before National Novel Writing Month)
Precepted by Sparrow Alden.

Creative Writing: One Month Story

We will walk through a complete project from pre-writing through writing, revising, editing, (revising, revising, revising), proofreading, and talking about publication options. Are you interested in finally getting down that memoir of your childhood? making a storybook for your grands? turning that daydream into a novelette? This adventure is for you! Whether your story is a draft, an outline, or a daydream, your project is welcome here in a place where we are aiming to finish it!
Precepted by Sparrow Alden.

Creative Writing: Poetry in Forms

This class introduces students to some of the classic forms of European poetry, including sonnets, villanelles, sestinas, ballads, odes, and more. We’ll look at some noteworthy examples, then compose our own poetry following those structures, which we’ll then workshop together.
Precepted by Sørina Higgins.

Creative Writing: Poetry in Forms: "Free Verse"

This class takes creative writers deeper into one of the most important approaches to English-language poetry: so-called "Free Verse." We’ll look at some noteworthy examples, discuss to what extent the verse is free (and from what), then compose our own poems responding to those ideas, which we will then workshop together. While this course belongs to a cycle of modules on Poetry in Forms, there are no prerequisites, and students can take one or many in any order they prefer. This module would have the greatest impact on poets who have spent a long time writing in meter, and will work best for those who are adept at scansion, but can be attempted by beginners, as well.
Precepted by Sørina Higgins.

Creative Writing: Poetry in Forms Series

This is the Landing Page for Prof. Higgins' Poetry in Forms Series. After her introductory class, Creative Writing: Poetry in Forms, Prof. Higgins will survey the class to see which course the Class would like to take next in the Series.

This page will be updated to reflect which module in the series is being offered once the class decides.
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Creative Writing: Poetry in Forms Series:
• Creative Writing: Poetry in Forms: The Ballad > Link
• Creative Writing: Poetry in Forms: The Villanelle > Link
• Creative Writing: Poetry in Forms: The Sonnet > Link
• Creative Writing: Poetry in Forms: The Pantoum > Link
• Creative Writing: Poetry in Forms: The Sestina > Link
• Creative Writing: Poetry in Forms: The Ode > Link
• Creative Writing: Poetry in Forms: "Free Verse" > Link
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NOTE: Students can jump in at any month/part of the Series. There are no prerequisites.

Precepted by Sørina Higgins.

Creative Writing: Poetry in Forms: The Ballad

This class takes creative writers deeper into one of the classic forms of European poetry: The Ballad. We’ll look at some noteworthy examples, learn the metrical and rhymes schemes, then compose our own ballads following those structures, which we will then workshop together. While this course belongs to a cycle of modules on Poetry in Forms, there are no prerequisites, and students can take one or many in any order they prefer.
Precepted by Sørina Higgins.

Creative Writing: Poetry in Forms: The Ode

This class takes creative writers deeper into one of the classic forms of European poetry: The Ode. We’ll look at some noteworthy examples, learn their rhetorical techniques, then compose our own odes following those models, which we will then workshop together. While this course belongs to a cycle of modules on Poetry in Forms, there are no prerequisites, and students can take one or many in any order they prefer.
Precepted by Sørina Higgins.

Creative Writing: Poetry in Forms: The Pantoum

This class takes creative writers deeper into one of the classic forms of European poetry: The Pantoum. We’ll look at some noteworthy examples, learn the metrical and rhyme schemes, then compose our own pantoums following those structures, which we will then workshop together. While this course belongs to a cycle of modules on Poetry in Forms, there are no prerequisites, and students can take one or many in any order they prefer.
Precepted by Sørina Higgins.

Creative Writing: Poetry in Forms: The Sestina

This class takes creative writers deeper into one of the classic forms of European poetry: The Sestina. We’ll look at some noteworthy examples, learn the metrical and rhyme schemes, then compose our own sestinas following those structures, which we will then workshop together. While this course belongs to a cycle of modules on Poetry in Forms, there are no prerequisites, and students can take one or many in any order they prefer.
Precepted by Sørina Higgins.

Creative Writing: Poetry in Forms: The Sonnet

This class takes creative writers deeper into one of the greatest and most enduring classic forms of European poetry: The Sonnet. We’ll look at some noteworthy examples, learn the metrical and rhyme schemes, then compose our own sonnets following those structures, which we will then workshop together. While this course belongs to a cycle of modules on Poetry in Forms, there are no prerequisites, and students can take one or many in any order they prefer.
Precepted by Sørina Higgins.

Creative Writing: Poetry in Forms: The Villanelle

This class takes creative writers deeper into one of the classic forms of European poetry: The Villanelle. We’ll look at some noteworthy examples, learn the metrical and rhymes schemes, then compose our own villanelles following those structures, which we will then workshop together. While this course belongs to a cycle of modules on Poetry in Forms, there are no prerequisites, and students can take one or many in any order they prefer.
Precepted by Sørina Higgins.

Creative Writing: Science Fiction Workshop

Tesseract or Wormhole? Generation ship or time-slip? Half of our class meetings are peer-review sessions, half are discussions about the biggest what-ifs of them all. How do we write hard science, soft science, magical tech, and the huge societal changes which accompany galactic mindset? We'll explore flash-fiction, epistolary writing, and other familiar and unfamiliar forms to support great characters on amazing adventures.
Precepted by Sparrow Alden.

Creative Writing: Weekend Intensive

Our goal is to create a completed short work in one weekend! Prompts, planning, focus methods, peer encouragement, machete editing, character crucibles — we’ll do it all. Writers will write between sessions as well as during.
Precepted by Sparrow Alden.

Creative Writing Workshop

We will meet for once a week skill workshops and once a week peer review. Our method includes author inquiry, character interviews, and positive feedback.

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Scholarship: There is a scholarship seat available for any person who identifies with a traditionally marginalized community: just ask us at [email protected]—no forms, no questions asked.
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Precepted by Sparrow Alden.

Creative Writing: Writing the Hero

We need good tales of good people making heroic choices. Whether we write memoir, pure fiction, or a what-if-it-had-ended-well personal speculations, this module is about creating the characters whom we can admire, trust, emulate, and become. Writing these short scenes during difficult times balances our minds and hearts, and can be part of a personal path to hope. This module specifically allows us to write our inner heroes within a place of safety. When believing in heroes is hard, we need to write them anyway. Explore your own traumas, toils, and fears even if your bad situation is right now, and write your own next chapter, your terrified heroic first step.
Precepted by Sparrow Alden.

C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Join Ms. Elise for a cozy and relaxed Book Club as we read and discuss the magic of C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
Precepted by Elise Trudel Cedeño.

Daoism: The School of the Way

In this class we will explore some of the major texts and movements within historical Daoism, especially Laozi, Zhuangzi, and Daoist alchemy and long-life practices. We will also examine how some of these Daoist concepts are incorporated by Ursula K. Le Guin into her speculative fiction.
Precepted by Robert Steed.

Designing an orthography for your language

Too many of today’s languages—natural or constructed—use the Roman writing system. While you listen to the shimmering notes of your con lang flow from your tongue or in your imagination, have you ever dreamed of a completely new way of writing? This course will guide you through factors to consider while designing a writing system for your created language by investigating real-life orthography development for living, unwritten languages.
Precepted by Eve Droma.

Discovering Terry Pratchett's Discworld: Which Witch is Which?

Terry Pratchett's witches - Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg and Magrat Garlick - are more than just a marvelous spoof of those in Shakespeare's 'Macbeth'. In addition to their undoubted comedic value, they are also a voice for some of the major themes of the Discworld novels. Through readings of extracts from the relevant novels, as well as reference to some modern scholarship, we will examine the differences between witch magic and wizard magic; the role of witches in Discworld society; Pratchett's representations of gender; themes of power and authority, and the presentation of the minor witch characters. Access to the listed texts is desirable. Prior knowledge of at least the majority of the listed texts will be assumed.
Precepted by Sara Brown.

Discovering, Understanding, and Loving Haiku

Known as the shortest form of poetry in the world, haiku overwhelm us with their beautiful imagery and evoke incredible emotions. Join preceptors Robert Steed and Pilar Barrera in this module where we’ll explore the historical, religious and cultural background of haiku, read and analyze a variety of haiku by different authors, and play with haiku as you’ll have the opportunity to write your own!
Precepted by Pilar Barrera and Robert Steed.

Egyptian Demons

Introduction to the non-god, non-human, entities in ancient Egypt. Demons were guardians, messengers, and performed other duties, usually as intermediaries between the gods and men. We will consider the category of “demon”, their roles, descriptions, and how they changed over time in the Egyptian worldview. How were demons viewed and why were they necessary? How did they relate to other cultures? What became of Egyptian Demons in later periods?
Precepted by Shawn Gaffney.

Egyptian Execration Texts

These are a special set of Egyptian texts, as well as objects and rituals that accompany them, used to act as either preventative or punitive magic against the enemies of Egypt. They provide a familiar framework from which to start learning about the specifics of Egyptian magic, in that they resemble our notion of “voodoo dolls”. How did they work? Why were they used? How did the object reflect the worldview of the Egyptians?
Precepted by Shawn Gaffney.

Egyptian Hieroglyphs 1

The Hieroglyphics series will present students with a basic understanding of Egyptian hieroglyphs, grammar, and knowledge about how to proceed with further study. In this sequence of courses we will discuss how to translate steles that you are likely to encounter in museums, as well as their cultural significance. As student progress, the class will tackle more complex translation. Each one-month module builds on the previous one, so students ready to learn Hieroglyphics will communicate with our Director and Professor Gaffney to make the right placement for everyone.
Precepted by Shawn Gaffney.

Egyptian Hieroglyphs 2

The Hieroglyphics series will present students with a basic understanding of Egyptian hieroglyphs, grammar, and knowledge about how to proceed with further study. In this sequence of courses we will discuss how to translate steles that you are likely to encounter in museums, as well as their cultural significance. As student progress, the class will tackle more complex translation. Each one-month module builds on the previous one, so students ready to learn Hieroglyphics will communicate with our Director and Professor Gaffney to make the right placement for everyone.
Precepted by Shawn Gaffney.

Egyptian Hieroglyphs 3

The Hieroglyphics series will present students with a basic understanding of Egyptian hieroglyphs, grammar, and knowledge about how to proceed with further study. In this sequence of courses we will discuss how to translate steles that you are likely to encounter in museums, as well as their cultural significance. As student progress, the class will tackle more complex translation. Each one-month module builds on the previous one, so students ready to learn Hieroglyphics will communicate with our Director and Professor Gaffney to make the right placement for everyone.
Precepted by Shawn Gaffney.

Egyptian Hieroglyphs 4

The Hieroglyphics series will present students with a basic understanding of Egyptian hieroglyphs, grammar, and knowledge about how to proceed with further study. In this sequence of courses we will discuss how to translate steles that you are likely to encounter in museums, as well as their cultural significance. As student progress, the class will tackle more complex translation. Each one-month module builds on the previous one, so students ready to learn Hieroglyphics will communicate with our Director and Professor Gaffney to make the right placement for everyone.
Precepted by Shawn Gaffney.

Egyptian Hieroglyphs Series

The Hieroglyphics series will present students with a basic understanding of Egyptian hieroglyphs, grammar, and knowledge about how to proceed with further study. In this sequence of courses we will discuss how to translate steles that you are likely to encounter in museums, as well as their cultural significance. As student progress, the class will tackle more complex translation. Each one-month module builds on the previous one, so students ready to learn Hieroglyphics will communicate with our Director and Professor Gaffney to make the right placement for everyone.
Precepted by Shawn Gaffney.

Egyptian Magical Texts

Another variation of this class looks at the history of magic writing, starting with the Pyramid texts and their evolution into the Books of the Dead, Coffin Texts, and the Greek Magical Texts. We will look closely at the origin and evolution of Egyptian spells and texts, as well as the culture that gave rise to them. How did magic work? How are writing and magic bound to one another? How are writing, magic, and image related? What were the various spells for?
Precepted by Shawn Gaffney.

Electronic Text Markup With XML and TEI

This module will introduce the markup of literary and historical texts electronically. It will begin with a tour of the Extensible Markup Language (XML) and then the guidelines of the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI). There will plenty of hands-on activities to markup your out-of-copyright texts of choice.
Precepted by James Tauber.

English Sonnet Readings

This module will explore a range of English sonnets, some familiar and some more obscure, looking at the wordplay of all and exploring the contexts and reception of these poets or their authors where known. In the second half of the month, we will also explore the versatility of the sonnet form, looking at adaptations, variations, and the effects thereof.
Precepted by Faith Acker.

Eucatastrophe and Tragedy in Tolkien

We will explore Tolkien’s understanding of these two essential aspects of human literary experience, from the horns of the Rohirrim to the Children of Húrin.
Precepted by Tom Hillman.

Exploring Japanese Picturebooks

Japanese picturebooks are visually stunning, are not afraid of presenting distressing themes, and are emotionally profound. In this module taught by preceptors Robert Steed and Pilar Barrera, we will read a variety of Japanese picturebooks, discuss their motifs, imagery, and illustrations. We will relate their themes to different aspects of Japanese culture, and discuss the role of picturebooks in literature.
Precepted by Pilar Barrera and Robert Steed.

Exploring Journey to the West

One of the most beloved of all classical Chinese novels, Journey to the West features Monkey, Pig, Sand-demon, White Horse, and the monk Tripitaka as they make a pilgrimage from Tang-dynasty Chang’an to India to bring back Buddhist scriptures, having outrageous adventures all along the way. Full of humor and wit, this is a major work of East Asian fantastic literature. Come along with Monkey and the gang for a tour through this foundational text!
Precepted by Robert Steed.

Exploring Mary Shelley's Frankenstein 1

Recognized as the first sci-fi book, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is a short novel full of layers and allusions to other works that go beyond the famous monster and his square face from pop culture. This course is divided into two modules. In the first part, we will read, analyze and discuss the first half of the book (Letter 1 to Chapter 11) and, in the subsequent module, we’ll read Chapters 12 to 24. Among the questions we’ll discuss are: what is the scope of science? What is the story really about? What is the role of fate in the narrative?
Precepted by Pilar Barrera.

Exploring Mary Shelley's Frankenstein 2

Recognized as the first sci-fi book, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is a short novel full of layers and allusions to other works that go beyond the famous monster and his square face from pop culture. This course is divided into two modules. In the first part, we will read, analyze and discuss the first half of the book (Letter 1 to Chapter 11) and, in the subsequent module, we’ll read Chapters 12 to 24. Among the questions we’ll discuss are: what is the scope of science? What is the story really about? What is the role of fate in the narrative?
Precepted by Pilar Barrera.

Exploring Smith of Wootton Major and Farmer Giles of Ham

In this relaxed, discussion-oriented module, we will explore these two lesser-known short stories by Tolkien. While Smith of Wootton Major takes us to Fäerie in a story full of beautiful imagery and sorrow, Farmer Giles of Ham transports us to a comical medieval world full of unforgettable adventures and characters such as giants, Garm the talking dog, and the arrogant dragon Chrysophylax.

Exploring The Dark Forest

The second volume in Liu Cixin's The Three-Body Problem series continues the story of Trisolaran alien invasion and the range of human responses to that threat. As with the Three-Body Problem module, we will read and discuss the novel, both for its inherent interest and for the ways it can serve as an accessible gateway to various aspects of Chinese history, culture, and science fiction.
Precepted by Robert Steed.

Exploring The Ghost Bride

Join us as we explore Choo’s delightful debut novel, which has also been made into a Netflix series. The story focuses on Li Lan, a young Chinese woman, who lives in 1890s colonial Malaya with her father, who returns one evening with a proposition — to become the bride, a ghost bride, of the recently deceased heir to the fabulously wealthy Lim family. After a visit to the Lim mansion, Li Lan finds herself haunted by her ghostly would-be suitor, but also by her growing desire for the Lim’s living heir, Tian Bai. She is drawn into the multifold realms of the Chinese afterlife, with their ghost cities, funerary paper offerings, wandering spirits and rigid bureaucracy. Li Lan must navigate her way through this web of complicated relationships both to save her life and meet her destiny.
Precepted by Robert Steed.

Exploring the Themes of Miyazaki Hayao through Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away

For this class we will take the two films of the title as the primary media through which we explore some of Hayao Miyazaki's major themes appearing throughout most of his work. These include themes of regard for nature, tensions between human society and the natural world, the prominence of shōjo (young female protagonists,) and questions of identity, of friendship, and of trust. Time permitting, we can consider even more.
Precepted by Robert Steed.

Exploring The Three Body Problem

First ever Asian winner of the Hugo award for best novel, as well as winning the Chinese Yinhe (“Galaxy”) award for best novel, and nominated for the Nebula award for best novel, The Three-Body Problem is an exploration of both humanistic and technological themes in the context of Chinese history and contemporary society, all set in a narrative of alien invasion. There are few novels better for beginning to explore Chinese science fiction, so please join us as we take a deep dive into this fascinating masterpiece!
Precepted by Robert Steed.

Fairy Tales: From Apples to Bears

In this module, we will answer questions such as: what is a fairy tale? Why do we tell stories? What is the function of fairy tales? What are some recurring themes? Stories to be discussed include Snow White (with and without dwarfs), Little Red Riding-hood, the Little Match Girl, Thumbelina, and East of the Sun and West of the Moon.
Precepted by Pilar Barrera.

Fairy Tales in The Witcher’s World

In this module, we will explore Andrzej Sapkowski’s stories from The Last Wish (the first book in the now famous The Witcher Netflix series) and prequel to the main saga. We will discuss how fairy tales are deeply embedded in the stories and are a fundamental part of the Witcher’s world. We will talk about the abundant allusions to different fairy tales that permeate the narrative, read these fairy tales, and discuss how they are presented and molded in Sapkowski’s book. While we’ll talk about the TV series, particularly, the first episode of the second season, “A Grain of Truth”, we will focus on the book itself and on the fairy tales mentioned in the stories.
Precepted by Pilar Barrera.

Fairy Tales: Rats, Mice, and Birds

In this module, we will continue to explore fairy tales and discuss questions such as: what is the role of nature in fairy tales? What is the role of animals? What are some recurring themes in these tales? Stories to be discussed include “Cinderella”, “The Turnip”, “The Mouse, the Bird and the Sausage”, “The Forest Bride”, “The Daisy”, and “Five out of a Pod”.
Precepted by Pilar Barrera.

Fairy Tales: Tricksters, Fools, and Villains

In this module, we will examine fairy tales about tricksters and villains. We will discuss questions such as: why are tricksters important? What is the role of villains? What are some recurring themes in these tales? Stories to be discussed include “Hansel and Gretel”, “Bluebeard”, “Hans in Luck”, “Momotaro, the Peach Boy”, “The Bremen Musicians”, “The Old Woman and the Tramp”, and “The Tinder Box”.
Precepted by Pilar Barrera.

FanFiction: Middle-earth

Do you imagine other tales set in Tolkien's beautiful Middle-earth? First person? FRP campaign design? Screen plays? Other minds and hands will come together to create and discuss "what if" for our own fanfiction. We will use a little peer-reading and a lot of focused discussion to move each writer deeper into the story they love. Expect to end the month with a folder full of story seeds or big progress on one big project.
Precepted by Sparrow Alden.

FanFiction: The Vorkosigan Saga

Have you toured Vorbar Sultana in your imagination? Mapped out intrigue worthy of high Vor society? Juxtaposed the feudalism of the Time of Isolation with the snappy FTL lifestyle of a research Profesora? We're going to write in the wonderful Galaxy created by Lois McMaster Bujold and explore the endless possibilities. Codes of honor. Gene-scrubbing. Ma Kosti's recipes. We'll use a little peer-reader-review and a lot of discussion. Our goal is progress on your big project, or a folder full of story-seeds by the end of the month.
Precepted by Sparrow Alden.

Frankenstein: A Masterpiece of Modern Science Fiction

In this book-club-style class, we will discuss Mary Shelley's ground-breaking novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. We’ll track the book's major themes, talk about its interesting narrative structure, discuss its historical context and contemporary applicability, and perhaps cheerfully debate some of its philosophical implications. We might talk a little bit about adaptations of the novel to stage or screen, the revision process between the 1818 and 1831 versions, and maybe some points scholars have made to help us understand this important work more deeply.
Precepted by Sørina Higgins.

Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood: Redemption

Join us for the second of two modules dedicated to exploring Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood. In this second module we’ll cover episodes 33-64 and the development and placement of its major themes including Truth, Science, Religion, Oppression, and Loss amongst others. Attending the next module in this series is not required, but for full enjoyment it’s definitely recommended.
Precepted by Keli Fancher.

Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood: Sin

Join us for the first of two modules dedicated to exploring the Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood anime series. In this first module we’ll cover episodes 1-32 and the development and placement of its major themes including Truth, Science, Religion, Oppression, and Loss amongst others. Attending the next module in this series is not required, but for full enjoyment it’s definitely recommended.
Precepted by Keli Fancher.

Gaelic Foundations

Continuing from Beginning Gaelic, This is the A2 European fluency standard materials for Scottish Gaelic. Covering more in-depth grammar and idioms for conversation.

Geology of Fictional Worlds

This course introduces the student to the various aspects of geology and how they can relate to worldbuilding and mapmaking. This includes continents, plate tectonics, mountains, water, glaciers, planetary patterns, the distribution of rock types and natural resources, natural disasters and weather patterns. This background would allow students to better evaluate fictional maps as well as create them. Examples will be drawn from Middle-earth, Earth-sea, Westeros, Dungeons and Dragons, and suggestions from students.
Precepted by Shawn Gaffney.

Gojira, Then and Now

In this module, we will discuss two films of the Godzilla franchise -- the original 1954 Gojira and 2016's Shin Godzilla. After a quick overview of the franchise -- its numerous films and eras -- we'll look at the historical events that influenced each films' creation, as well as the central themes and motifs.
Precepted by Joshua Sosa.

Here Be Dragons

You wouldn't want to end up like Eustace Clarence Scrubb, would you: strong on imports and exports, but weak on dragons? To avoid that fate, come and talk about dragons old and new, wicked and glorious, beloved and feared in many a tale. Python, Hydra, Draco, Leviathan and the Colchian dragon threatened Classical heroes. Germanic gods and warriors contended with Níðhöggr, Jörmungandr, Starkheart, and Fafnir. There are dragons in Arthuriana and medieval folklore. And of course, dragons proliferate in more recent fantasy, including those by Lewis Carroll, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Ursula K. LeGuin, J.K. Rowling, George R.R. Martin, Anne McCaffrey, Christopher Paolini, and more. We'll read short excerpts from a wide range of European and American literature, looking at the evolution of the dragon, and attendees will be encouraged to bring in additional texts for discussion. You'll be well prepared for sleeping on a dragon's hoard after this!
Precepted by Sørina Higgins.

History of the Book Arts

This module gives an overview of writing and alphabets, literary and other works written on stone, papyrus, wax, and parchment.
Precepted by Larry Swain.

How To Catch a Bandersnatch

Diana Glyer's marvelous book "Bandersnatch: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the Creative Collaboration of the Inklings" is part literary biography, part how-to guide for setting up your own writing group. We'll read her book and talk through both aspects. We'll unpack what it reveals about Tolkien's & Lewis's creative writing methods, and we'll brainstorm how we might apply those to our own writing, whether individually or in groups. You're totally welcome to attend if your interest is in the scholarly aspect (the Inklings as writers in their time), the creative aspect (how collaborative writing groups work), both, or something else altogether! Either way, I'm sure you'll be inspired and encouraged by the example of these great--but very human--writers.
Precepted by Sørina Higgins.

How To Read a Poem

This short course will teach close-reading and interpretation skills for understanding and enjoying great works of lyric poetry from various time periods and cultures. Through paraphrase, commentary, close analysis, and conversation, we will learn to love these literary jewels more than ever before.
Precepted by Sørina Higgins.

How to write a grammar

This course will introduce you to some of the basic laws of universal grammar and guide you through the process of writing an analysis of any language.
Precepted by Eve Droma.

Intermediate Egyptian Magic

A continuation of the themes from Introduction to Egyptian Magic. We will add to our repertoire of spell and magical categories, including a variety of specific spells from texts and objects, including magic-medical spells, wands, execration materials, and amulets. This class will also review some of the magic associated with religious rituals and the afterlife. What constituted a magic object and how were they used? What magic was useful for the afterlife?
Precepted by Shawn Gaffney.

Intermediate Latin Reading: Catullus

This course is for those who have had beginning Latin and are ready to move on into reading and translating classical Latin authors.
Precepted by Larry Swain.

Introduction to Ancient Magic 1

An introduction to magic in the ancient world provides a short survey of the earliest known magical texts and objects, including the Pyramid texts, Sumerian exorcism spells, and objects used in different apotropaic rituals. Divination and other forms of magic will be included as well. What was the earliest magic? What did it do and how did it work? Who practiced magic? How was magic related to religion?
Precepted by Shawn Gaffney.

Introduction to Ancient Magic 2

This class continues into module two where we look specifically the Greco-Roman world, magic in myth and literature, and specific spells and objects in use throughout the classical world, including their relations to Mesopotamia and Egypt. This includes the Greek magical texts. What types of magic did they use? Who practiced them and why?
Precepted by Shawn Gaffney.

Introduction to Ancient Magic 3

Last in the sequence of Ancient Magic is the use of magic in the early Christian world, its relationship with contemporary magic, and related texts. We will explore the origins of this magic, how it was used, and how it evolved over time. We will look at both religious and non-religious magic through a number of examples, both verbal spells and magical items, such as Aramaic incantation bowls.
Precepted by Shawn Gaffney.

Introduction to Ancient Magic Series

This is the Landing Page for Prof. Shawn Gaffney's series exploring Ancient Magic.

This page will be updated to reflect which module in the series is being explored in a given month.
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Introduction to Ancient Magic Series:
• Module 1: Introduction to Ancient Magic 1 > Link
• Module 2: Introduction to Ancient Magic 2 > Link
• Module 3: Introduction to Ancient Magic 3 > Link
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NOTE: Students can jump in at any month/part of the Series. There are no prerequisites.

Precepted by Shawn Gaffney.

Introduction to Egyptian Magic

Introduction to the basic magic of Egypt, including medical, religious, and daily magic used by both specialists and ordinary Egyptians. Where was magic used and by whom? How did one practice magic? Examples will be drawn specifically from Egyptian sources. We will also discuss magic as it is explained in theoretical literature, how we can view magic through these theoretical frameworks, and how they might be applied elsewhere.
Precepted by Shawn Gaffney.

Introduction to Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales

In this module, we will read and discuss some of Andersen’s fairy tales. We will talk about their plot, characters, and specific imagery. We will also discuss Andersen’s influence on subsequent authors and expressions in different media.
Precepted by Pilar Barrera.

Introduction to Linguistics

This course is a basic introduction to the scientific study of the mechanics of language, with a bit of an extra focus on considerations relevant to studying literature.
Precepted by Aidan Aannestad.

Introduction to Oscar Wilde's Fairy Tales

In this module, we will read and discuss some of Oscar Wilde’s fairy tales. We will talk about the plot, characters, specific nuances of the language, use of irony, and general meaning, as well as Wilde’s influence on other media.
Precepted by Pilar Barrera.

Intro to Classical Mythology

As classical mythology is often the gateway into mythological studies, so too will this course be your gateway into classical mythology. We will explore the mythology of the Greco-Roman world in broad strokes, familiarizing ourselves with gods and heroes, before ending the module by dabbling in a bit of comparative mythological study. In doing so, we'll look at excerpts from a few classical authors (in translation), as well as some artifacts and possibly even some historical sites.
Precepted by Joshua Sosa.

Inventing King Arthur: Geoffrey of Monmouth’s History of the Kings of Britain

This course offers an in-depth look at the first complete “historical” narrative of the reign of King Arthur, Geoffrey’s Historia Regum Britania – as well as the centuries-long controversy this book generated. Comprising almost a quarter of Geoffrey’s History (Books 4 – 11), this crucial first account of the king includes the arrival of the Saxons in England, a battle of dragons, the boy Merlin’s prophetic visions, Arthur’s magically-contrived conception, his conquest of Rome, and his overthrown and death at the hands of his nephew Mordred. This course will also look at the battle of books that ensued following the appearance of Geoffrey’s work, with some contemporary chroniclers alleging that Geoffrey had simply made the whole thing up, and others rallying to Geoffrey’s (and Arthur’s) defense.
Precepted by Liam Daley.

Japanese Fairy Tales and Children's Literature

In this module we will talk about Japanese children’s literature and fairy tales and their connection to specific Japanese cultural aspects and values such as the acceptance of death and the imperfection of the world.
Precepted by Pilar Barrera.

J.R.R. Tolkien's Letters from Father Christmas

Join Ms. Elise for a cozy, relaxed Book Club setting and discuss the joy of Tolkien’s beloved Christmas tale.
Precepted by Elise Trudel Cedeño.

J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring

In Book Club, YOU decide how our sessions go! Come to Book Club with all of your questions, ideas, and experiences and share the joy of Tolkien’s legendarium. What will you discover this time around? It’s up to you!
Precepted by Elise Trudel Cedeño.

J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit

Join Ms. Elise for a cozy and relaxed Book Club as we read and discuss J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic, The Hobbit.
Precepted by Elise Trudel Cedeño.

J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Return of the King

In Book Club, YOU decide how our sessions go! Come to Book Club with all of your questions, ideas, and experiences and share the joy of Tolkien’s legendarium. What will you discover?
Precepted by Elise Trudel Cedeño.

J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Two Towers

In Book Club, YOU decide how our sessions go! Come to Book Club with all of your questions, ideas, and experiences and share the joy of Tolkien’s legendarium. What will you discover?
Precepted by Elise Trudel Cedeño.

Klingon 1

ghojlu’meH QaQ jajvam! (“Today is a good day to learn!”) Klingons: the bumpy-headed warrior race from Star Trek that is obsessed with honor and glory. You’ve heard about people who learn to speak Klingon, and now you can join their ranks. This course will teach students how to read and speak the Warrior’s Tongue. Start with basic grammar and work up to complex sentences. Learn Klingon’s complex inventory of prefixes and suffixes. By the end of this course, you will be able to read and converse in basic Klingon. Qapla’! (“Success!”)
Precepted by David Trimboli.

Klingon 2

So you've learned to speak basic Klingon. But, do you know the correct response when a Klingon tells you a secret? What does it mean if a Klingon says you're using a big scoop? Why do Klingons mix up their words when making toasts? How do you address your loved ones in private and in public? Why are some Klingons mispronouncing certain words? This course, which assumes you have completed Klingon 1, will teach you about the cultural nuances of the Klingon language, including its slang, idioms, dialects, argot, forms of address, familial terms, ritualized speech, measurements, and mathematics.
Precepted by David Trimboli.

Latin in a Year 1

In this month-long introduction to the formal study of Latin, students will learn the basic principles of Latin translation, learn to conjugate Latin verbs in the present tense and decline Latin nouns in the 1st and 2nd declensions, and practice translating sentences and short Latin passages. The first step in Signum SPACE's Latin in a Year sequence, this module covers chapters 1-4 of Wheelock's Latin.
Precepted by Faith Acker.

Latin in a Year 2

Students taking this module will learn to decline Latin nouns in the 3rd declension and conjugate Latin verbs (including sum/esse) in the imperfect and future tenses, applying these new skills to sentences and short Latin passages. The second part of Signum SPACE's Latin in a Year sequence, this module covers chapters 5-7 of Wheelock's Latin.
Precepted by Faith Acker.

Latin in a Year 3

Having experienced first- and second-conjugation verbs in the previous two months, students will spend much of this month learning the forms for third- and fourth-conjugation verbs, interspersed with demonstrative and personal pronouns and some irregular adjectives. The third segment of Signum SPACE's Latin in a Year sequence, this module covers chapters 8-11 of Wheelock's Latin.
Precepted by Faith Acker.

Latin in a Year 4

This fourth unit of Signum SPACE's Latin in a Year sequence expects students to be familiar with present, imperfect, and future forms of all regular verbs (and sum/esse); nouns and adjectives in the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd declensions; and demonstrative and personal pronouns, using these new forms to translate sentences and short Latin passages. Building on these skills, students will learn the perfect active system of verbs (including pluperfect and future perfect), reflexive pronouns and possessives, several ablative forms, and numerals. As ever, students will translate sentences and short Latin passages as they apply and learn these and previous grammatical techniques. This module covers chapters 12-15 of Wheelock's Latin.
Precepted by Faith Acker.

Latin in a Year 5

This fifth unit of Signum SPACE’s Latin in a Year sequence expects students to be familiar with active verb conjugations in all six tenses; nouns and adjectives in the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd declensions; and personal, reflexive, and demonstrative pronouns. During this fifth month, students will work through five chapters of Wheelock’s Latin, completing the grammar and material in the first half of the textbook (through Chapter 20) in the process. This segment covers relative pronouns, all passive indicative verb forms, and fourth declension noun endings. This unit also provides a sound review and a good starting point for students who completed the Latin I MA class at Signum University and wish to continue the study of Latin at a comparatively gentler pace.
Precepted by Faith Acker.

Latin in a Year 6

This sixth unit of Signum SPACE’s Latin in a Year sequence expects enrolling students to be familiar with all grammar and vocabulary from the first half of the Wheelock’s Latin textbook (see list below). Students will gain additional familiarity with passive verb forms, learn fifth declension noun endings, and begin the study of participles.

This module covers chapters 21-23 of Wheelock’s Latin:
- 21: Third and Fourth Conjugations: Passive Voice of the Present System
- 22: Fifth Declension; Ablative of Place Where; Summary of Ablative Uses
- 23: Participles

Latin grammar assumed:
- Understanding of stems, endings, cases, agreement, and parts of speech
- Knowledge of 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th declension endings for nouns and adjectives
- Knowledge of regular Latin verb conjugations in all indicative tenses (present, imperfect, future, perfect, pluperfect, future perfect), both active and passive, and the imperative forms
- Ability to recognize conjugations of of “sum” and “possum”
- Familiarity with ego, tu, is, hic, ille, iste, idem, qui, and reflexives
- Awareness of Latin numerals
- Acquaintance with ablatives of means, accompaniment, manner, time, agent, separation, and place from which, as well as genitive of the whole and use of genitive and ablative with cardinal numerals
Precepted by Faith Acker.

Latin in a Year 7

This seventh unit of Signum SPACE’s Latin in a Year sequence expects students to be familiar with active and passive verb conjugations in all six tenses, nouns and adjectives in all declensions, major pronoun systems, and participles. In Month 7, students will work through four chapters of Wheelock’s Latin, learning new forms of known adjectives, discovering new ways to translate dative and ablative nouns and selected passive verbs, and studying new uses for the infinitive.

This module covers chapters 24-27 of Wheelock’s Latin:
- 24: Ablative Absolute; Passive Periphrastic; Dative of Agent
- 25: Infinitives; Indirect Statement
- 26: Comparison of Adjectives; Declension of Comparatives; Ablative of Comparison
- 27: Special and Irregular Comparison of Adjectives
Precepted by Faith Acker.

Latin In A Year Series

Designed for absolute beginners as well as past Latin scholars who want to review at relative leisure, Signum’s 12-module Latin in a Year series surveys core Latin grammar and basic classical vocabulary. Each month, students will tackle new grammatical concepts and paradigms, learn new vocabulary, and practice translating short sentences and longer passages. Optional homework is available for the overzealous. Each one-month module builds on the previous one, so students with prior experience are encouraged to communicate with our Director and Professor Acker to find the right entry point.
Precepted by Faith Acker.

Latin Readings for Advanced Beginners

This module offers a series of Latin readings that review material covered in many traditional Latin I courses (including Signum's own Latin I graduate course and the first five Latin in a Year SPACE modules). Students will read selections from selected textbooks and Latin readers and attempt two short literary passages. All readings will be provided, though access to a Latin grammar book and a basic Latin dictionary may be beneficial.
Latin grammar assumed:
- Understanding of stems, endings, cases, agreement, and parts of speech
- Knowledge of 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th declension endings for nouns and adjectives
- Knowledge of regular Latin verb conjugations in all indicative tenses (present, imperfect, future, perfect, pluperfect, future perfect), both active and passive, and the imperative forms
- Ability to recognize conjugations of of “sum” and “possum”
- Familiarity with ego, tu, is, hic, ille, iste, idem, qui, and reflexives
- Awareness of Latin numerals
- Acquaintance with ablatives of means, accompaniment, manner, time, agent, separation, and place from which, as well as genitive of the whole and use of genitive and ablative with cardinal numerals
Precepted by Faith Acker.

Learn any language like a baby

Perhaps you studied Spanish or French in high school, yet--frustratingly--can’t give your order for chilaquiles or soupe à l'oignon today. This course will provide you with a method for learning any language in the world by meeting with someone who has no experience in teaching their language--and learn in a way that will make the language stick! This “Growing Participator’s Approach” uses methods based on how children learn language. You will learn how you can grow into the language (and the culture) rather than just memorize vocab and rules.
Precepted by Eve Droma.

Learn the IPA

No, not India Pale Ale! Learn exactly how to pronounce the particular sounds represented by the little squiggles and upside-down characters you find in some dictionaries. Ever wanted to be a Prof. Henry (not Sorina) Higgins and copy down an accent with perfect accuracy? The International Phonetic Alphabet is your key! This course will allow you to start to learn each of the symbols of the IPA, which will introduce you to each and every sound used meaningfully in the world’s languages, living, dead, or imaginary.
Precepted by Eve Droma.

Le Guin's Earthsea Series

Ursula K. Le Guin explores themes of power, love, nature, gender, art, politics, and more through her richly-developed world of Earthsea, drawing upon literary, philosophical, religious, and anthropological interests in doing so. We will walk on the islands of Earthsea and dive into its waters as we discover beloved, and maybe hidden or controversial, aspects of Le Guin’s masterpiece.

This present module is for Cycle 1 of the Earthsea Series, exploring A Wizard of Earthsea and The Tombs of Atuan.

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The Earthsea Series consists of 3 modules exploring a different Cycle of Le Guin's expansive work:
• Cycle 1 explores A Wizard of Earthsea and The Tombs of Atuan,
• Cycle 2 explores The Farthest Shore and Tehanu, and
• Cycle 3 explores The Other Wind and Tales from Earthsea
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NOTE: Students can jump in at any month/part of the Series.

Precepted by Robert Steed.

Life in the Middle Ages

This module will look at what life in the Middle Ages was like. What did they eat? What about entertainment? What work? What was literature like? People will encounter texts, artifacts, and art to help gain a better understanding of life in the Middle Ages.
Precepted by Larry Swain.

Literature and Mental Health

Throughout human history, people have recorded their mental and emotional experiences through writing, whether directly in autobiographical accounts, or indirectly through characters in fiction. In this module, we'll look at some selections from writings across the ages that express psychological distress of one kind or another and some that show how sufferers from mental disorders have found relief. We'll learn from these how to talk to someone who is struggling in that way, what to say and not to say, and some strategies for managing our own mental health.
Precepted by Sørina Higgins.

Medieval Drama: Staging the English Bible

Stating the history of the world from Creation to Doomsday, the biblical play cycles of fourteenth and fifteenth century England provided a vernacular version of scripture. Part of the days-long civic festivals surrounding key liturgical holidays, these cycles presented a mixture of theatrical spectacle, theological instruction, social commentary, and civic pageantry to residents of York, Chester, Coventry, and other populous cities. Beginning with an overview of medieval staging practices, this course will examine a sample of medieval biblical plays from various cycles including The Creation and Fall of Lucifer, Noah’s Flood, Abraham and Isaac, The Second Shepherd’s Play, Herod’s Slaughter of the Innocents, The Crucifixion, The Harrowing of Hell, and The Last Judgement. The plays will be read in a beginner-friendly modernized-spelling Middle English edition edited by A. C. Cawley, so that familiarity with Middle English is not a requirement. However, scholarly online Middle English editions will also be made available for students wishing to practice their skills in that area.
Precepted by Liam Daley.

Mesopotamian Demons

Demons have played a significant role in ancient cultures beyond just Egypt. Mesopotamia has its own set of liminal entities that reside somewhere between gods and man, with their own responsibilities and roles. This class will explore the features of these beings, including where they are first seen in literature, what roles they play, and what we know about them. Think Pazuzu from the Exorcist.
Precepted by Shawn Gaffney.

Middle High German 1: An Epic Introduction

"Middle High German (MHG) is the umbrella term for the German dialects used in the Holy Roman Empire from about 1050 to 1350. Its written form was the language of the court, and most MHG poetry embraces chivalric intellectual interests – adventure, romances, and courtly love! In our epic introduction to the language, we begin with a poem on subject matter that Old English and Old Norse students will immediately recognize: Das Nibelungenlied, the story of Siegfried (Sigurd) the dragon slayer, who we all know from the Völsunga Saga, the Poetic Edda, and (as his father Sigmund) Beowulf.
This module requires absolutely no modern German, but you may find that the course awakens that bit of “school German” you remember from high school. We will read our text – the 14th “Adventure” of The Nibelungenlied – slowly, as a small reading group. The benefit of the Nibelungenlied’s style is that enjambment is rare and each line can be treated as a single sentence."
Precepted by Isaac Schendel.

Miyazaki: Recovery of Innocence

One of the principal thematic elements found in the works of Hayao Miyazaki is the restorative power of childhood. Through his works, childhood itself becomes a utopian site. It is through this emphasis that we recover its best aspects: innocence, curiosity, and wonder. In this module we will watch and discuss four of Miyazaki’s works which best represent childhood and his usage of it to facilitate recovery.
Precepted by Keli Fancher.

Miyazaki: The Beginning

Come join us as we examine Hayao Miyazaki’s early years as a director and the films which set the groundwork for his career. This module covers Miyazaki’s directorial debut film Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro through the rest of the films in the 1980s: Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Castle in the Sky, My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service.
Precepted by Keli Fancher.

Miyazaki: The Continuation

Come join us as we consider the follow-up to Hayao Miyazaki’s breakout success of the late 90s and early 2000s. In this module we’ll cover the last three of Miyazaki’s directorial releases (Howl’s Moving Castle, Ponyo, The Wind Rises) as well as two feature films that he’s credited as co-screenwriter on during the same time period (Arrietty and From Up on Poppy Hill).
Precepted by Keli Fancher.

Miyazaki: The Fame

Come join us as we look at the decade which propelled Hayao Miyazaki into international fame. We’ll begin by covering talking about flying pigs (Porco Rosso) and talking cats (Whisper of the Heart, screenplay) before progressing to the two international breakout hits which really made this time period a turning point in his career: Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away.
Precepted by Keli Fancher.

Modern British Poetry

In this module we will read and discuss a collection of some of the best British poetry of the 21st century, considering the ways in which each poet addresses the anxieties of our time.
Precepted by Sara Brown.

Music Theory for the Mathematically-Inclined

Music is often described as mathematical but music theory is rarely taught from this perspective. This course will cover traditional basic music theory but will explore some of the underlying mathematical reasons why music works the way it does. Nothing beyond high school math is required.
Precepted by James Tauber.

Narnia and the Natural World

Join me for a re-read of The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis as we pay close attention to descriptions of the non-human environment. What do these books have to say about trees, plants, animals, soil, weather, the planet, atmosphere, stars, and more? Do they suggest right ways of flourishing in relation to the natural world? How do talking animals, walking trees, humanoid stars, magical waters, and mythical beasts teach us to love the creatures and creations of this primary world better? Let's rejoice in Lewis's loving descriptions of flora and fauna and revel in the wonder his magical world brings to our own.

(Note: This module is designed with Narnia fans in mind. First-time readers of the Chronicles are certainly welcome, but newcomers might prefer starting with Elise Trudel Cedeño's module on The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe or with Sørina Higgins's Narnia for Newbies.)
Precepted by Sørina Higgins.

Narnia for Newbies Series

This is the Landing Page for Prof. Higgins' Narnia for Newbies Series exploring CS Lewis's beloved Narnia series, consisting of 7 modules (one module for each book in the Series).

Did you miss out on entering the magical land of Narnia as a kid? Come back to childhood with me as we open the wardrobe door and enter this wondrous land together. Travel with Lucy through the snowy, enchanted Lantern Waste, where is it always winter but never Christmas. Fight alongside dryads against an evil usurper. Sail with Eustace across the seas to mysterious islands full of invisible beings, dragons, and dreams. Ride a talking horse across the desert to save Narnia from invasion. Rescue a prince from the underworld. Watch creation itself, as Aslan, the great Lion, sings the world into existence. Be there at the end of all things, when the true tale is just beginning. Most of all, experience again the thrill of journeying through an imaginary land where myths are real, good triumphs over evil, and magic brings beauty to life on the page.
Precepted by Sørina Higgins.

Natural or Synthetic?

As we all know, Tolkien drew heavily from Finnish for his languages. Learn more about the universal laws of grammar for natural languages in order to make your created language more appealing, vibrant, and convincing. In this course, we will explore basic facts about phonetics and phonology, general patterns about how natural languages do and do not encode meaning, the range of functions of parts of speech, and syntactical and morphophonemic nuances. We will examine the building blocks of languages which have actually been or are being spoken in everyday life in the primary world so you can enrich languages perhaps only ever expressed by your characters, only ever on the page.
Precepted by Eve Droma.

Nature and Shinto in Anime

Shinto, usually identified as “the indigenous religious tradition” of Japan, heavily influences the aesthetic and worldview of many anime films and series. Join us as we explore aspects of Shinto practice and how they influence and shape the films Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke, as well as the idiosyncratic but popular series Mushi Shi.
Precepted by Robert Steed.

Old English 1

Ready to begin learning Old English? This series of modules introduces students to the vocabulary and structure of the earliest recorded form of the English language. One year of modules prepares the student to read texts from over a thousand years ago! Each one-month module builds on the previous one, so students ready to learn Old English will communicate with our Director and Professor Swain to make the right placement for everyone.
Precepted by Larry Swain.

Old English 2

Ready to begin learning Old English? This series of modules introduces students to the vocabulary and structure of the earliest recorded form of the English language. One year of modules prepares the student to read texts from over a thousand years ago! Each one-month module builds on the previous one, so students ready to learn Old English will communicate with our Director and Professor Swain to make the right placement for everyone.
Precepted by Larry Swain.

Old English 3

Ready to begin learning Old English? This series of modules introduces students to the vocabulary and structure of the earliest recorded form of the English language. One year of modules prepares the student to read texts from over a thousand years ago! Each one-month module builds on the previous one, so students ready to learn Old English will communicate with our Director and Professor Swain to make the right placement for everyone.
Precepted by Larry Swain.

Old English 4

Ready to begin learning Old English? This series of modules introduces students to the vocabulary and structure of the earliest recorded form of the English language. One year of modules prepares the student to read texts from over a thousand years ago! Each one-month module builds on the previous one, so students ready to learn Old English will communicate with our Director and Professor Swain to make the right placement for everyone.
Precepted by Larry Swain.

Old English 5

Ready to begin learning Old English? This series of modules introduces students to the vocabulary and structure of the earliest recorded form of the English language. One year of modules prepares the student to read texts from over a thousand years ago! Each one-month module builds on the previous one, so students ready to learn Old English will communicate with our Director and Professor Swain to make the right placement for everyone.
Precepted by Larry Swain.

Old English 6

Ready to begin learning Old English? This series of modules introduces students to the vocabulary and structure of the earliest recorded form of the English language. One year of modules prepares the student to read texts from over a thousand years ago! Each one-month module builds on the previous one, so students ready to learn Old English will communicate with our Director and Professor Swain to make the right placement for everyone.
Precepted by Larry Swain.

Old English 7

Ready to begin learning Old English? This is the last module in a 7-part series which introduces students to the vocabulary and structure of the earliest recorded form of the English language. Read texts from over a thousand years ago! Each one-month module builds on the previous one, so students ready to learn Old English will be able to communicate with our Director and Professor Swain to make the right placement for everyone.
Precepted by Larry Swain.

Old English Series

Ready to begin learning Old English? This series of modules introduces students to the vocabulary and structure of the earliest recorded form of the English language. One year of modules prepares the student to read texts from over a thousand years ago! Each one-month module builds on the previous one, so students ready to learn Old English will communicate with our Director and Professor Swain to make the right placement for everyone.
Precepted by Larry Swain.

Old Norse 1

This series of modules introduces you to the vocabulary and grammar of Old Norse, preparing you to read medieval sagas, eddic poetry, and even Viking-Age runic inscriptions. Each one-month module builds on the previous one, so students ready to learn Old Norse will communicate with our Director and Professor Anderson to choose the right placement for everyone.
Precepted by Carl Anderson.

Old Norse 2

This series of modules introduces you to the vocabulary and grammar of Old Norse, preparing you to read medieval sagas, eddic poetry, and even Viking-Age runic inscriptions. Each one-month module builds on the previous one, so students ready to learn Old Norse will communicate with our Director and Professor Anderson to choose the right placement for everyone.
Precepted by Carl Anderson.

Old Norse 3

This series of modules introduces you to the vocabulary and grammar of Old Norse, preparing you to read medieval sagas, eddic poetry, and even Viking-Age runic inscriptions. Each one-month module builds on the previous one, so students ready to learn Old Norse will communicate with our Director and Professor Anderson to choose the right placement for everyone.
Precepted by Carl Anderson.

Old Norse Series

This series of modules introduces you to the vocabulary and grammar of Old Norse, preparing you to read medieval sagas, eddic poetry, and even Viking-Age runic inscriptions. Each one-month module builds on the previous one, so students ready to learn Old Norse will communicate with our Director and Professor Anderson to choose the right placement for everyone.
Precepted by Carl Anderson.

Philosophy in a World of Chaos: Voltaire’s Candide, or Optimism

Why do bad things happen to good people? How can we know which is the best philosophy to live by in a world of chaos? This course shows how Voltaire’s raucous comic novella answers those questions. Join the young Candide on a series of misadventures that includes war, shipwreck, earthquake, religious persecution, dismemberment, amorous monkeys, New World discovery, royal dethronement, and the French. Along the way, he experiences love and loss, acquires a group of misfit companions, and encounters a host of competing philosophies – each trying to explain how the world got the way it is and how to make living there bearable. Though primary emphasis will be placed on the novel, we will also look at short excerpts both from Voltaire’s philosophical writing relevant to the novel and from Leonard Bernstein’s musical dramatization of the work.
Precepted by Liam Daley.

Pity in The Lord of the Rings

If ‘the Pity of Bilbo’ does not ‘rule the fate of many’, the malice of Sauron will. Pity is essential, yet offers no defense in the end against the pull of the Ring’s power. So Gandalf paradoxically tells us. In this module we shall discuss passages that shed light on this central conflict in The Lord of the Rings.
Precepted by Tom Hillman.

Plague Literature

Pandemics have swept the globe with disturbing regularity throughout human history, and authors have written literature in response to one they experienced or others they imagined in the future. What do historical and imaginary epidemics and pandemics teach us about our own? How do authors use contagion allegorically and metaphorically as social commentary? Put our current COVID-19 into perspective by reading and discussing novels, short stories, poems, and other works set in a time of plague.
Precepted by Sørina Higgins.

Planet Narnia

Do you believe that the Narnia chronicles have a secret code hidden in their imagery and themes? Would knowledge of medieval astronomy and astrology add depth to our reading of these children's books? We'll read Michael Ward's book Planet Narnia in conjunction with a re-read of the Narnia itself and debate the merits of his planetary interpretation. This course will work best for those who have read Lewis's series before.
Precepted by Sørina Higgins.

Plant-based Entheogens, Shapers of History and Consciousness

In this module we will explore the roles that various plant-based entheogens have played, actively and passively, in shaping human consciousness and history. Tea, coffee, chocolate, nutmeg, cannabis, coca, alcohol, opium, pipe-weed (tobacco), and ayahuasca will all be discussed, both in their historical contexts and for their entheogenic properties. Time permitting, we can cover more.
Precepted by Robert Steed.

Poems with a Story

In this module, we will discuss classic poems using different stylistic and Cognitive Poetics techniques such as the use and connotation of specific words, textual attractors and their effect, the meaning of negative words, etc.
Precepted by Pilar Barrera.

Poetry as Practical Ecology

Through a selection of great poems drawn primarily from the tradition of British, Irish, and American literature, we’ll look at what we can learn from these creative writings about taking care of the planet. We will read and talk about descriptions of nature in these poems, then see what principles of creation care we can extrapolate from the ways they interact with the nonhuman environment, animals, plants, weather, and more.
Precepted by Sørina Higgins.

PST! Trees are beautiful

Do you love diagramming sentences? Are you interested in languages other than English? Phrase Structure Trees are a wonderfully helpful tool for analyzing the grammatical structure of any language: living, historical, or constructed. If you love the thrill of exploration, you will enjoy getting to discover the grammar of a language by drawing trees, rather than by wading through murky grammar textbooks.
Precepted by Eve Droma.

Reader's Theater: The Tempest

In each module of the Reader’s Theatre sequence, we’ll read aloud and discuss in great detail one of Shakespeare’s genre-bending late plays. Participants will take characters, and we’ll read aloud one scene at a time, talking about how to express and interpret the text.
Precepted by Sørina Higgins.

Reading Lewis' Ransom Cycle

This is the Landing Page for Prof. Higgins' series exploring Lewis's Ransom Cycle. In this book-club-style series, we will discuss C.S. Lewis’s novels Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength. We’ll track his major themes, talk about the background he assumes, enjoy his secondary world, and perhaps cheerfully debate some of his theological claims. We’ll bring in a few of his other works briefly to see how they contribute to his subcreated universe, and we’ll touch on some points scholars have made to help us read these works more deeply.

This page will be updated to reflect which book in the Cycle is being explored in a given month.
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Reading Lewis' Ransom Cycle:
• Part 1: Exploring C.S. Lewis’s novel Out of the Silent Planet. (Required Text: C.S. Lewis, Out of the Silent Planet)
• Part 2: Exploring C.S. Lewis’s novel Perelandra. (Required Text: C.S. Lewis, Perelandra)
• Part 3: Exploring C.S. Lewis’s novel That Hideous Strength and a few short related texts. (Required Text: C.S. Lewis, That Hideous Strength)
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NOTE: Students can jump in at any month/part of the Series. There are no prerequisites.

Precepted by Sørina Higgins.

Readings in Middle English before Chaucer: Havelock the Dane

Havelock the Dane is lovely fairy tale type story that sits between heroic epic and developing Romance genres looking into a now distant past, and showing how an unjustly treated child grows to be a great king.
Precepted by Larry Swain.

Religion in the Life and Works of J.R.R. Tolkien

Tolkien drew upon a wide range of religious, philosophical, and metaphysical sources in shaping his legendarium, including Greek, Norse, Germanic, and Celtic paganisms, Catholic Christianities, Eastern Orthodox and Jewish mysticisms, various Neo-Platonisms, and western esoteric traditions among others. Join the discussion as we explore in some depth these sources and how Tolkien weaves them into his web of story-telling and world-building.
Precepted by Robert Steed.

Scottish Gaelic Song

Using Scottish Gaelic songs to gain a deeper understanding of the language and culture. Covering mouth music, religious music, working music, and ballads.

She Watered It With her Tears: Grief, Mourning, and Death in Tolkien's Legendarium

Among the many themes Tolkien contemplates through his legendarium, that of grief and mourning is prominent. In this class, we will unfold the implications of expressions of grief and mourning in his work. For example, why do lamentations matter, and how might they offer healing? Why does Nienna weep? Are there cases of “inappropriate” grief? What roles do grief and mourning play in the creation of wisdom and beauty? Does Elven grief have special characteristics? What about that of Dwarves and Humans? We will explore these topics and more.
Precepted by Robert Steed.

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: Text, Translation, Film

Can Sir Gawain keep his honor without losing his head? This short classic of Middle English chivalric romance follows Gawain on a quest testing his heroism, social etiquette, sexual virtue, and existential sense of self. This course explores: first, the extraordinary history of the single, unique manuscript which preserves this poem (as it “slept” on a library shelf for 400 years, escaped destruction by fire, and was eventually rediscovered in the 19th century); second, the translations which brought this poem to a twentieth century readership – focusing in particular on J.R.R. Tolkien’s; and finally, the 2021 film by David Lowery.
Precepted by Liam Daley.

Supernatural Shockers: "All Hallows' Eve" by Charles Williams

Charles Williams was an occult master, a Christian mentor, and a member of the Inklings with Tolkien and Lewis. He wrote seven startling metaphysical thrillers: bizarre, engaging, wild novels in which the supernatural invades ordinary life. In this course, we'll talk about his last, greatest novel: All Hallows' Eve. Two of the main characters in it are dead, but this does not prevent them from interacting with the living, including a painter with profound spiritual insight, a black magician who makes two copies of himself to rule the world, and a woman who conceives a daughter in order to sacrifice her to her devilish master.

While this course is part of a cycle of seven classes on the various novels, they may be taken in any order without prerequisites.
Precepted by Sørina Higgins.

Supernatural Shockers: "Descent into Hell" by Charles Williams

Charles Williams was an occult master, a Christian mentor, and a member of the Inklings with Tolkien and Lewis. He wrote seven startling metaphysical thrillers: bizarre, engaging, wild novels in which the supernatural invades ordinary life. In this course, we'll talk about Descent into Hell, which expresses his signature ideas perhaps more clearly than any of his other writings. It features a Shakespearean play, a doppelgänger, a succubus, an ancient witch, and several supernatural acts of substitution that transcend time and space.

While this course is part of a cycle of seven classes on the various novels, they may be taken in any order without prerequisites.
Precepted by Sørina Higgins.

Supernatural Shockers: "Many Dimensions" by Charles Williams

Charles Williams was a friend of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, T.S. Eliot, Dorothy Sayers, and other influential writers of the early 20th century. He wrote seven startling metaphysical thrillers: bizarre, engaging, wild novels in which the supernatural invades ordinary life. In this course, we'll talk about Many Dimensions, in which a magical stone engraved with the letters of the Tetragrammaton can transport people through time and space, heal illnesses, grant wealth, and otherwise transcend the laws of nature. It is up to a young secretary to offer herself as a bridge to save the world from destruction. While Many Dimensions is a kind of sequel to War in Heaven, they can be studied on their own, and students need not take that course before this one, although they are welcome to do so.
Precepted by Sørina Higgins.

Supernatural Shockers Series Exploring Charles Williams

This is the Landing Page for Prof. Higgins' Supernatural Shockers Series exploring Charles Williams' seven startling metaphysical thrillers: bizarre, engaging, wild novels in which the supernatural invades ordinary life.

This page will be updated to reflect which module in the series is being offered once the class decides.
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Supernatural Shockers Series Exploring Charles Williams:
• Supernatural Shockers: "War in Heaven" by Charles Williams > Link
• Supernatural Shockers: "Many Dimensions" by Charles Williams > Link
• Supernatural Shockers: "The Place of the Lion" by Charles Williams > Link
• Supernatural Shockers: "The Greater Trumps" by Charles Williams > Link
• Supernatural Shockers: "Shadows of Ecstasy" by Charles Williams > Link
• Supernatural Shockers: "Descent into Hell" by Charles Williams > Link
• Supernatural Shockers: "All Hallows' Eve" by Charles Williams > Link
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NOTE: Students can jump in at any month/part of the Series. There are no prerequisites.

Precepted by Sørina Higgins.

Supernatural Shockers: "Shadows of Ecstasy" by Charles Williams

Charles Williams was an occult master, a Christian mentor, and a member of the Inklings with Tolkien and Lewis. He wrote seven startling metaphysical thrillers: bizarre, engaging, wild novels in which the supernatural invades ordinary life. In this course, we'll talk about Shadows of Ecstasy, in which an immortal guru invades England with an army of African soldiers, offering magical transmutation of the passions to his followers. While Williams wrote this novel first, it was published later, but still reveals an early, ambiguous phase of his religious thought.

While this course is part of a cycle of seven classes on the various novels, they may be taken in any order; however, this is the strangest and most disturbing of Williams's fiction, so students would probably benefit from taking at least one other module in this cycle first.
Precepted by Sørina Higgins.

Supernatural Shockers: "The Greater Trumps" by Charles Williams

Charles Williams was an occult master, a Christian mentor, and a member of the Inklings with Tolkien and Lewis. He wrote seven startling metaphysical thrillers: bizarre, engaging, wild novels in which the supernatural invades ordinary life. In this course, we'll talk about The Greater Trumps, in which the original deck of Tarot Cards and a set of dancing golden figures offer power to foretell the fortunes of the world and control the elements. A deadly snowstorm, a madwoman, and a saint are among the memorable features of this unforgettable, vivid novel of spiritual submission and supernatural power.

While this course is part of a cycle of seven classes on the various novels, they may be taken in any order without prerequisites.
Precepted by Sørina Higgins.

Supernatural Shockers: "The Place of the Lion" by Charles Williams

Charles Williams was an occult master, a Christian mentor, and a member of the Inklings with Tolkien and Lewis. He wrote seven startling metaphysical thrillers: bizarre, engaging, wild novels in which the supernatural invades ordinary life. In this course, we'll talk about The Place of the Lion, in which the Platonic archetypes invade the English countryside in the form of gigantic animals, threatening to swallow up all of reality.

While this course is part of a cycle of seven classes on the various novels, they may be taken in any order without prerequisites.
Precepted by Sørina Higgins.

Supernatural Shockers: "War in Heaven" by Charles Williams

Charles Williams was a friend of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, T.S. Eliot, Dorothy Sayers, and other influential writers of the early 20th century. He wrote seven startling metaphysical thrillers: bizarre, engaging, wild novels in which the supernatural invades ordinary life. In this course, we'll talk about War in Heaven, in which a saintly archdeacon, a poetic duke, and a publisher's clerk race to save the Holy Grail from the three satanists who want to use it to destroy the world.
Precepted by Sørina Higgins.

Tales of Saki: The Best Short-Stories You’ve Never Heard Of!

Something dangerous and unexpected is lurking on the periphery of polite Edwardian society. In an oeuvre of short-stories that is shockingly not more widely known, master of dark social comedy H. H. Munro (alias “Saki”) offers a world populated by duchesses, vicars, foreign ambassadors, and idle London playboys – but also escaped hyaenas, talking cats, werewolves, and malevolent pageant gods. This course examines a selection of Saki’s short fiction, along with a brief look at his biography and historical context. Marked by a combination of acid wit, sudden shocking reversals, and a knack for conveying the unmentionable, Saki’s stories are essential reading for anyone interested in the gothic tale, the comic anecdote, or the craft of short fiction writing,
Precepted by Liam Daley.

The Art of Adaptation

In order to dig into the fine art of adaptation, we'll study four short stories and films based on them:
1. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (James Thurber’s 1939 story and Ben Stiller's 2013 film);
2. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1922 story and David Fincher's 2008 film);
3. The story “Supertoys Last All Summer Long” by Brian Aldiss (1969) and Steven Spielberg's movie A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001);
4. The story ""Sentinel of Eternity"" by Arthur C. Clarke (1951) and the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968, Stanley Kubrick with Clarke); we may also look at the novelisation of the film.

Using these works, we'll talk about what happens when a work moves from one genre to another, from one medium to another, from a solo project to a team work, from one audience to another, and more. We'll look at content changes, techniques, shifts of themes, and more.
Precepted by Sørina Higgins.

The Compleat Game Master: Introduction to Game Mastery

Thanks to the success of streaming shows like Critical Role, D&D and other tabletop games are more popular than ever before. But according to surveys conducted by Wizards of the Coast, the average D&D campaign does not last more than six sessions, and players rarely advance farther than Levels 4-6. This series will address the short attention span of current TTRPG culture by equipping you with the tools you need to be a more "compleat" GM. In this first module, we will cover the true role of the GM (it might not be what you think!), the world-building assumptions implicit in various rulesets, how to design a setting which maximizes player agency, and how to write a gazetteer for your campaign setting. Participants will have the opportunity to produce their own 10-page setting gazetteer as part of this module.

The Fantastic in East Asia

Come join us as we explore various aspects of the weird, the strange, the uncanny, the dreamlike, and the visionary in East Asian literature, religion, folktales, poetry, and popular media. Whether it is ecstatic visions in Daoist texts, shamanistic expressions in Chinese poetry, gumiho and ghosts in KDramas, or stories such as that of the Yuki Onna (Snow Woman) in Japanese folklore, we’ll explore them all (and perhaps more!) in this class.
Precepted by Robert Steed.

The History of the Symphony: After Beethoven

This module will be a chronological listening tour of the history of the symphony after Beethoven. We will explore the symphony’s subsequent development in the romantic era, and its rethinking in the 20th century. We will listen to some key works together and discuss some of the innovations introduced in those particular works.
Precepted by James Tauber.

The History of the Symphony: Beginnings to Beethoven

This module will be a chronological listening tour from the precursors of the symphony in the baroque era to the birth of the symphony in the classical era culminating in the works of Beethoven. We will listen to some key works together and discuss some of the innovations introduced in those particular works.
Precepted by James Tauber.

The Last Airbender: Beginnings

Grab a cup of tea and join Keli for a relaxed viewing and discussion of the first half of Avatar: The Last Airbender.

This is the first of two modules dedicated to covering the entire original series in preparation for a future module on Netflix's upcoming live action as an adaptation of Book 1 from the original series.
Precepted by Keli Fancher.

The Last Airbender: Endings

Grab a cup of tea and join Keli for a relaxed viewing and discussion of the second half of Avatar: The Last Airbender.

This is the second of two modules dedicated to covering the entire original series in preparation for a future module on Netflix's upcoming live action as an adaptation of Book 1 from the original series.
Precepted by Keli Fancher.

The Old Saxon Hêliand I

Old Saxon, the continental cousin to Old English, was the language spoken in Northern Germany from the ninth to the twelfth century. It is closely related to and mutually intelligible with Anglo-Saxon, so Old English students will easily be able to read and understand it. The language boasts a number of smaller texts, but the Hêliand, an epic poem of nearly 6,000 lines, remains its most prestigious literary monument. It tells the story of Jesus Christ (the “Hêliand,” meaning “Savior”) reimagined as a Saxon lord with a retinue of twelve thanes, and is comparable to the Old English Beowulf. In our Space module, we will read and discuss selections of this poem. Some familiarity with Old English is required.
Precepted by Isaac Schendel.

The Other in the Ancient Egyptian World

The Egyptians had a complex view of non-Egyptians. They were both threatening enemies but also potential Egyptians. This course will look at how the Egyptians viewed and depicted the other, the role of the other, and the change in many cases, of other to countryman. This will include a survey of art, literature, and magic as it relates to depicting, describing, and affecting the other and how this reinforced the Egyptian identity. Who were the “others” in the Egyptian worldview? How were they to be interacted with? Who where the Egyptians in their own view?
Precepted by Shawn Gaffney.

The Picture of Dorian Gray: “It was a poisonous book”

This course offers a close examination of Oscar Wilde’s gothic masterpiece on identity, guilt, and the power of art. In a Faustian bargain, Dorian enjoys seemingly eternal youth while his painted likeness bears the physical (and moral) consequences of a life of debauchery and wickedness. But Dorian learns that sooner or later, as the old saying goes, everyone gets the face they deserve. Focusing mainly on the text of the novel itself, this seminar will also touch on its publication history, its reception in Victorian society, and the life of its author – Wilde’s rise to international celebrity, his “fatal friendship” with Alfred Lord Douglas, and his trial and imprisonment for “gross indecency” in which this novel was presented as evidence of Wilde’s guilt.
Precepted by Liam Daley.

'The Rings of Power' Discussion Group

The wait is almost over, and Amazon’s new Tolkien-inspired series is almost upon us. Already, this series has stimulated much heated discussion across various social media, with the images and trailers dividing opinion among Tolkien fans. In this discussion group, we will watch the show and discuss what we have seen, linking it to what we already know about Tolkien’s creation, and exploring the ways in which ‘The Rings of Power’ is extending the world of Middle-earth.

Access to copies of The Silmarillion, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings is desirable. Prior knowledge of the texts is also desirable, but you could manage without. Knowledge of The History of Middle-earth series and The Unfinished Tales is a bonus!
Precepted by Sara Brown and James Tauber.

The Second Age of Middle-earth

The Second Age of Middle-earth saw the rise and fall of Númenor, the rise and (apparent) fall of Sauron, and the creation of the Rings of Power. This course will look at the events of the Second Age with readings from LOTR (especially Appendix A and B), Unfinished Tales, and the Silmarillion. It will be of particular interest to people who want to know more about the Second Age to be ready for the Amazon Prime series LOTR: The Rings of Power starting in September 2022.

The Vulgate Bible 1

The Vulgate Bible is one of the most significant Latin texts ever written. Jerome's Latin translation is not only a significant literary work, but is also a more intuitive text to translate, given the familiarity of Biblical texts to many people. This is the first module of the Vulgate Bible series, geared towards those who already have a good grasp of the case and conjugation system of Latin as well as basic grammar and vocabulary.
Precepted by Patrick Lyon.

The Vulgate Bible Series

The Vulgate Bible is one of the most significant Latin texts ever written. Jerome's Latin translation is not only a significant literary work, but is also a more intuitive text to translate, given the familiarity of Biblical texts to many people. This series is geared towards those who already have a good grasp of the case and conjugation system of Latin as well as basic grammar and vocabulary.
Precepted by Patrick Lyon.

Till We Have Faces: Lewis's Finest Work

This whole module will be devoted to a close reading of C.S. Lewis's best novel (and, in my opinion, his best work in any genre). We'll talk through it carefully, tracing themes, unpacking dense passages, examining the secondary world he has created, and immersing ourselves in this profound, poignant tale of one woman's spiritual journey.
Precepted by Sørina Higgins.

Tolkien And Alchemy

Transformation and the process of transformation, either physical or of the self, is a significant theme in Tolkien’s writing and appears throughout the Middle-earth legendarium. In this SPACE course, we will explore how the practice, philosophy and symbolism of alchemy resonate in the texts and provide another way to read the changes that are apparent throughout. Amongst other topics, we will look at the Music of the Ainur and Tolkien’s creation myth, the recurring symbolism of the alchemical colours: Black, White and Red, the metaphor of Gold, the nature of the One Ring, and Frodo as alchemical subject.
Precepted by Sara Brown.

Tolkien and the Sea

From the subcreation of Ulmo to travels from Cornwall to Avallonë, the Sea has played a special role in Tolkien’s world. This module looks at key instances of the Sea’s appearance in his writing corpus so that fellow readers can more fully appreciate the haunting beauty of water’s meaning and Tolkien’s imaginative ability. We will be reading excerpts from Tolkien’s legendarium, poetry, and creative historical works.
Precepted by Jennifer Rogers.

Tolkien & Magic

The magic of Middle-earth is a fascinating topic, sparking conversations about its nature, origins, mechanism, and primary-world analogues. Did you know that while Tolkien was writing his fictional language, many of his friends and contemporaries were practicing ceremonial magic? In this class, we’ll look at Elf-magic, Entish powers, prophecy, wizardry, telepathy, the power of the Ring, angelic and constructed languages, words of power, Saruman’s sorcerous voice, immortality, and spiritual ontology. We might even find out what Tolkien thought of his friends who told fortunes and cast spells!
Precepted by Sørina Higgins.

Tolkien's Ents and the Environment

J. R. R. Tolkien had great sensitivity to the details, delights, and vitality of the natural world. Throughout his writings, and especially in episodes involving the Ents and the land of Rohan, he pays exquisite attention to the lives and even personalities of trees, leaves, trunks, roots, atmosphere, streams, lichen, weather, rocks, cliffs, sun, moon, wind, rain, grass, soil, and other specific elements of creation. In this course, we will read these passages slowly and carefully, trying to appreciate every detail, and discuss what we can learn about caring for flora, fauna, and the planet itself from his loving descriptions and from some smart commentaries on his work.
Precepted by Sørina Higgins.

Tolkien’s Invented Languages in The Lord of the Rings

In this puzzle-solving course we will work to piece together Tolkien’s invented languages based primarily on how they are used in The Lord of the Rings. Although much richer linguistic information became publicly available later, this course will look primarily at those aspects of the languages revealed through the main text and appendices of The Lord of the Rings.

Tolkien's Letters

Tolkien’s letters offer scholars and fans alike a revealing, amusing, at times touching glimpse into the Professor’s understanding of his own life and work. In our course we’ll look at a bit of everything, but especially Letter 131, where he tried to explain it all.
Precepted by Tom Hillman.

Tolkien's Unfinished Tales

The Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth is a collection of stories and essays by J.R.R. Tolkien that are filled with all the wonderful elements of story-telling that are to be found in The Silmarillion, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings and yet, for some reason, they are less well-known and less studied. Some, like ‘Aldarion and Erendis: The Mariner’s Wife’, offer a compelling insight into the Second Age and the time of Númenor. Others, such as ‘The History of Galadriel and Celeborn’, ‘The Quest of Erebor’, or ‘The Hunt for the Ring’, shed further light on the events of the Third Age that are so familiar to readers of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. We will discuss some of these stories and place them in the context of the other Middle-earth works.

Access to a copy of The Unfinished Tales is essential. Prior knowledge of the stories within is desirable, but you could read them as we go along.
Precepted by Sara Brown.

Tolkien's Writing Systems

This module will study various writing systems invented or adapted by Tolkien. We will primarily look at the Tengwar and the Angerthas (Cirth) described in The Lord of the Rings but we will also touch on other systems such as the Hobbit runes and other runic variants as well as the Goblin Alphabet from Letters from Father Christmas. Along the way we will introduce some basic phonetics and place Tolkien’s inventions in the context of the writing systems of the primary world.

Tolkien, the Anglo-Saxon Minstrel

Explore Tolkien’s Anglo-Saxon poetic inspiration. We will enjoy an introduction to a few Anglo-Saxon poems and then compare Tolkien’s adaptations to their Anglo-Saxon counterparts. Discussions of poetic style and technique will be with us along the way! Texts discussed include Beowulf, The Fall of Arthur, and other poems.
Precepted by Jennifer Rogers.

Tolkien & Williams as Worldbuilders

J.R.R. Tolkien and Charles Williams were friends, contemporaries, and fellow members of the Inklings. They both invented secondary worlds in which to set their stories, poems, and myths--and they both made maps! Indeed, each imagines that his other world is actually a pre-history to or alternative history for our own. We will take a brief look at JRRT's Legendarium and CW's Arthuriana, asking how they developed the geography, history, demographics, and cultures of their imagined worlds, how those related to the primary world, and what significance or symbolism each invited readers to infer from their invented lands.
Precepted by Sørina Higgins.

To Repair Arda: Tolkien's Dwarves through Jewish Mysticism

J.R.R. Tolkien explicitly and publicly associated his subcreated race of the Dwarves with the Jewish people. This raises all sorts of interesting questions and problems, not least of which is why does he do this, and what within Jewish culture is he referring to? Usually scholars point to Dwarven language and Dwarven history for this association, but in this class we will explore the possibility that at the deepest level Tolkien is also drawing upon aspects of Jewish mysticism to support his claim.
Precepted by Robert Steed.

Translation Techniques for Beginning Latin Students

This month-long introduction to reading Latin overviews core grammatical concepts, trains students to use dictionaries and grammatical aids, and highlights some Latin derivatives in English vocabulary. For the inaugural December instance of the course, we will read extracts from the Gospel of John in the Latin Vulgate and explore some Latin hymns and carols. .
Precepted by Faith Acker.

Vampires, Werewolves and Wights – Oh My! Uncanny Creatures in Middle-earth

There are dragons in Tolkien’s works, of course, as well as Ents, Trolls, and Orcs, all enabling Tolkien to give shape and dimension to his world of Middle-earth. Less discussed amongst readers of the legendarium are the weird creatures that sit in the shadows – the ones designed to really make the back of your neck prickle. In this course, we will discuss these more troubling inhabitants of Middle-earth, with some close reading of the texts to guide our way.
Access to copies of The Silmarillion, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings is essential. Prior knowledge of the texts is desirable, but you could read them as we go along.
Precepted by Sara Brown.

Victorian Gothic: Exploring Dracula

When we think of Gothic Horror, Bram Stoker’s Dracula immediately comes to mind. In this Module, we will explore the reasons why we are drawn to this compelling yet terrifying character, and how Stoker was connecting with Victorian anxiety towards the Supernatural and the Other.
Precepted by Sara Brown.

Warring States Era Chinese Philosophy: Attaining Flow

Confucianism, Daoism, Legalism, Mohism---these Chinese philosophical systems all have their foundational roots in the Warring States period of Chinese history (475–221 BCE), and as such share a set of common interests, even if their proposals for attaining those interests greatly differ. In this module we will cover the basic concerns of each of these systems, paying attention to their differences as well as their similarities, and perhaps most importantly, seeing how their proposals for the attainment of human flourishing may still have something to offer to contemporary people.
Precepted by Robert Steed.

Weird Languages

Many people do not realize the variety of languages structures and strange language phenomena that exist in the worlds languages. This class will introduce a number of features that can be found across the globe. These include object agreement, verbs that necessarily encode the shape of items, ergativity, discourse particles, languages with 20 grammatical gender classes, pronoun hierarchies, circumfixes and infixes, and the complex systems of taboo words that arise in some languages. We will look a number of these, at what is rare, common, surprising, but all of which are real. Language families from Africa, the Caucasus, Siberia, Australia, and the Americas.
Precepted by Shawn Gaffney.

When Tolkien Wrote Time-Travel

Tolkien’s essay into the time-travel genre is little known and even less likely read. However, his Lost Road and Notion Club Papers showcase his grappling with concepts at the heart of his legendarium. This module highlights those works, taking readers through a genre study, philological walkthrough, and conceptual discussion of the fragments. Buckle in for a Tolkien-guided adventure through Earth’s history back to the time of the Elves.
Precepted by Jennifer Rogers.

Wisdom Literature: The Book of Job

Let's do a close, detailed, literary reading of the Book of Job in the Bible, taking our time to contemplate each verse, sentence, phrase, and word. What literary techniques does the author use? How is the book structured? What genre conventions does it use or subvert? We will ponder these questions and others as we move slowly and respectfully through this beautiful ancient text.
Precepted by Sørina Higgins.

Writing for Children

What makes a good children’s story? We’re going to address chapter books, cultural stories, and learning tales all through a lens of moral, cultural, and spiritual human development. Trying our hands at these forms should lead us to a nice folder full of works-in-progress at the end of the month.
Precepted by Sparrow Alden.

Writing Your Memoir

Your story is unique. Do you want to set it down on paper for yourself? For your family? No other person has accumulated your experiences; no other person has had your potential, learning, drive, disappointments, challenges, triumphs, and quiet joys. We'll explore a variety of media and forms for memoir writing, from picture books to blogs. We'll interview one another with kindness and encouragement and draw amazing stories out of each other—and ourselves.
Precepted by Sparrow Alden.
If you have any questions about the SPACE program, please reach out to [email protected].