Welcome to SPACE, our adult continuing education program which offers interactive monthly courses for personal enrichment! Learn more here.

April 2024June 2024

May 2024 Modules

Advanced Old English Series: Readings in Prose
Continuing Series Candidate

Meeting Mondays & Thursdays at 7:00 PM Eastern for eight 1-hour sessions on April 29, May 2, 6, 9, 13, 16, 20, 23
Welcome to the Readings in Prose page for the Advanced Old English Series in which students explore, in alternating months, a work of prose and then a work of poetry to introduce students to the breadth and depth of Old English texts available for study. Each month Dr. Swain surveys the group to see what they want to tackle next from month to month.
Precepted by Larry Swain

A Journey Through The History of the Hobbit 1
First in the Series Spotlight  Candidate

Meeting Tuesdays & Thursdays at 9:00 PM Eastern for four 75 minute sessions and three 1-hour sessions on May 2, 7, 9, 14, 16, 21, 23
In Module 1 of our journey through The History of the Hobbit we will explore Chapters I through VII.

Just as Christopher Tolkien did for the rest of his father’s Middle-earth works, John Rateliff has compiled the manuscripts and early versions of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and presented them with notes and commentary. In this three-part series, we will work our way through Rateliff’s book, The History of the Hobbit. From the first drafts where Gandalf was called Bladorthin (and Thorin was called Gandalf) to the later versions made to better fit with The Lord of the Rings, this SPACE series will give you a much better understanding of how The Hobbit was crafted and a new appreciation for the story that, in some respects, started it all. As well as Rateliff’s material, these modules will also feature some never-before-seen visualizations of The Hobbit draft texts from the Digital Tolkien Project.

Module 1: Chapters I through VII
Module 2: Chapter VIII to the end of The Second Phase
Module 3: The Third Phase onwards
Precepted by James Tauber

An Intensive Reading of the Tao Te Ching/Daode jing 道德經

Meeting Mondays & Wednesdays at 7:00 PM Eastern for eight 1-hour sessions on April 29, May 1, 6, 8, 13, 15, 20, 22.
"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

Book Club: God Emperor of Dune

Meeting Mondays & Thursdays at 10:00 PM Eastern for eight 1-hour sessions on April 29, May 2, 6, 9, 13, 16, 20, 23.
"Is this your Golden Path, Tyrant?"

In this two-month module, we will read and discuss the fourth Dune novel, God Emperor of Dune. Three millennia after the events of the first Dune trilogy, Leto Atreides II rules the known universe with inhuman ruthlessness. All but immortal, Leto goads humanity onward to a new evolutionary pathway. The future of the species depends upon it. He will stop at nothing to achieve his vision - even if it means his own destruction and the end of civilization as we know it...

Whether you are a new or continuing student in our Dune book club, all are welcome to join this class. Connect with book lovers, compare to the adaptations, and share your insights.

Let the spice flow!
Precepted by Julian Barr

Book Club: This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

Meeting Tuesdays & Thursdays at 6:00 PM Eastern for eight 1-hour sessions on May 2, 7, 9, 14, 16, 21, 23, 28
Epistolary fiction may have you thinking of Frankenstein and Dracula, but they were just the beginning. This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone builds on the epistolary tradition while creating a whole new experience with their epistolary science fiction/time travel/lgbtqia+ romance novella. We will explore the framing, narrative, metaphor, character, and linguistic choices of the authors in depth as we take our time dissecting this novella with fellow book lovers.
Precepted by Laurel Stevens

Creative Writing: Aristotle's Poetics for Story-Tellers
Spotlight  Candidate  Hybrid

Mondays (lecture will be recorded live) & Thursdays at 8:00 PM Eastern for eight 1-hour sessions on April 29, May 2, 6, 9, 13, 16, 20, 23.
What makes a good story? How can we make our characters feel like real people?

Using a combination of recorded lectures, in-class discussion and exercises, you will find out how to employ Aristotle’s precepts on character, theme and emotional catharsis to enrich your creative practice. You will also discover how Aristotle’s teleological understanding of causality can help you discover the final design of your creative work. This module will be a must for fiction authors, screenwriters and directors, RPG game masters, or anyone who wants to weave a dynamic tale!

The module will follow an 8-lesson structure as follows:
• Lecture 1: Introduction to the Poetics
• Workshop 1: Your Narrative's Purpose
• Lecture 2: Character and Theme
• Workshop 2: Discovering Your Character and Theme
• Lecture 3: Structure
• Workshop 3: Unfolding Your Story's Structure
• Lecture 4: Catharsis
• Workshop 4: Sticking the Landing
Precepted by Julian Barr

Creative Writing: Emotional Stakes (Novel in a Year)
Continuing Series Candidate

Meeting Mondays & Thursdays at 9:00 PM Eastern for eight 1-hour sessions on April 29, May 2, 6, 9, 13, 16, 20, 23,
Congratulation! You have Characters in a Setting enacting a Plot!

In this workshop you'll explore how your motivations for writing and the themes which worry or puzzle or fascinate you shape your stories. You’ll identify your methods for exploring these themes and consider other methods consonant with your authorial voice. How are your characters changing and responding to their own explorations? You'll examine tools for finding what elements have already slipped into your stories, possibly subconsciously, and tools for intentionally using such emotional connection points to bring more strength to your stories. Each class will introduce a few new tools, offer in-class prompts for trying them, and open the floor to discuss our discoveries and their relevance to our works in progress.

Novel in a Year Note: Anyone is welcome to join our Novel in a Year modules at any time (the only exception is Tree Workshop (Novel in a Year 11) which, while open to all who have a mature writing project ready for close scrutiny, is designed specifically for students who have completed at least 4 previous modules in the Novel in a Year sequence). Each module is designed to stand alone without prerequisites. However, for the richest experience, the full twelve-month sequence of modules will carry you from blank page through to completing your novel. In a writing journal, you will track your progress and moments of unexpected, joyful discovery as you continue your novel. Whether you are looking to publish commercially or simply writing for yourself, our program is designed to nurture your individual writing journey. Our workshops place kindness first, lifting up excellence and encouraging you to tell your story in your own voice. For more information about our Collaborative Feedback model, check out our video here.
Precepted by Sparrow Alden and Carol Oliver

Exploring Smith of Wootton Major and Farmer Giles of Ham

Meeting Tuesdays & Thursdays at 7:30 PM (or possibly 8:00) Eastern for eight 1-hour sessions on May 2, 7, 9, 14, 16, 21, 23, 28
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.

Intermediate Latin Readings Series

SPARROW: Wait to see how Faith's April Intermediate latin does in its new time slot.
This series will help introduce students to the breadth and depth of Latin texts available for intermediate-level study . Each month, Dr. Faith Acker and/or Dr. Larry Swain surveys the group using the Intermediate Latin Series survey form to see which text students are most interested in exploring next.

Note: Please refer to the Required Texts section on a month's iteration page to see which texts the group has decided upon for a given month.
Precepted by Larry Swain

Introduction to Ancient Magic 1
First in the Series Candidate

Meeting Mondays & Wednesdays at 8:00 PM Eastern for eight 1-hour sessions on May 1, 6, 8, 13, 15, 20, 22, (skip 27), 29
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 Phonetics

Meeting Mondays & Wednesdays at 7:00 PM Eastern for eight 1-hour sessions on May 1, 6, 8, 13, 15, 20, 22, (skip 27), 29
Phonetics is the study of speech sounds (and, in the case of sign languages, how gestures reflect their own meaning). We will explore how sounds are made and heard. Our goal will be to understand the IPA, or International Phonetic Alphabet, how to listen to and write out English, as well as to explore the variety of sounds in the words languages. We will practice transcribing English, which, for many people, provides additional insight into how the language sounds and why language learning is challenging. This module can be taken by itself or as part of a larger Introductory Linguistics sequence of modules.
Precepted by Shawn Gaffney

Intro to Fan Fiction
Spotlight  Candidate

Meeting Tuesdays & Thursdays at 8:00 PM Eastern for eight 1-hour sessions on May 2, 7, 9, 14, 16, 21, 23, 28
What is fan fiction? Where did it come from? Why do people read and write it?

This module will explore fan fiction as a platform, independent of any particular universe (although we will touch on several, based on student input), including its origins, conventions and techniques, purposes, and the opinions of a variety of different stake holders: authors, show creators, and legal experts among them. Students will complete this course with a high-level understanding of fan fiction as genre, community, and as a transformative response to the source material.

J.R.R. Tolkien: A Life in Letters 3
(Section 1)
Continuing Series Confirmed

Meeting Tuesdays & Thursdays at 11:00 AM Eastern with Dr. Sara Brown for eight 1-hour sessions on May 7, 9, 14, 16, 21, 23, 28, and 30.
How do you pick up the threads of an old life? Come and take a deep dive, attempting to do just that, as we look into the life of the maker of Middle-earth! This series will go on an adventure through the life of Tolkien over three months through the lens of the newly revised and expanded Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien. As the module follows the narrative presented in Tolkien's own words in his letters, the class sessions will allow for discussions of Tolkien's thoughts and problems as he raises them --- as well as the chance to read and discuss selections of his creative works along the way.

Throughout the course, we will be discussing the events of Tolkien’s life in tandem with the letters and filling out a more complete picture of the man through his work, his personal life, and his creative endeavours. Names, places, and stages of history can all too easily become abstractions on a page but, in this course, we will see the way in which Tolkien's personal environment was intimately connected to his works, and how it shaped the life of the man behind the legendarium.

You can join us for the whole series or just jump in a month at a time as we explore the newly revised and expanded Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien!
Precepted by Sara Brown (Section 1)

Latin in a Year 1
First in the Series Spotlight  Candidate

Meeting Tuesdays & Thursdays at 6:00 PM Eastern for eight 1-hour sessions on May 2, 7, 9, 14, 16, 21, 23, 28
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

Star Wars: Mysteries of the Force

Meeting Wednesdays & Fridays at 8:00 PM Eastern on May 8, 10, 15, 17, 22, 24, 29, 31
In this module, we will discuss the aspects of the Force as depicted in Star Wars films, tv, and video games. We will look at specific characters and cults (Jedi v. Sith, the Bendu, Nightsisters, etc.) to understand where they fit in the wider mythology far far away, as well as other mystical motifs and ideas (Mortis, the World Between Worlds). There are tons of different topics to choose from, so there will be plenty to discuss in this course.
Precepted by Joshua Sosa

The Story of Cinema: A SPACE Odyssey

ASKED: Meeting Wednesdays & Fridays at 9:00 PM Eastern for eight 1-hour sessions on May 1, 3, 8, 10, 15, 17, 22, 24
How did cinema develop from a curiosity of the early 20th century to the multi-billion dollar industry it is today?

The story of the rise of filmmaking as both mass entertainment and an art form is a tale of epic proportions that is still in the making. From Victor Fleming to Tarantino and John Ford to Spielberg, the medium of film has turned into the backbone of modern storytelling. Just as the novels of Dickens and Cervantes captured the attention and imaginations of generations of audiences, the classics of cinema will provide food for thought and discussion for generations to come. Take a deep dive with us into the greatest and most fascinating movies that cinematic history has to offer as we make an Odyssey through the stories that made film the art form that it is today. Join in with our analytical discussions led by a professional film critic and movie podcaster, and together we will explore the enduring quality of the best that film has to offer.

For the first module of this series, "The Story of Cinema: A SPACE Odyssey," we will be exploring some of the most unique and innovative space and science fiction films in history:

• Class 1: 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
• Class 2: Star Wars (1977)
• Class 3: Alien (1979)
• Class 4: Blade Runner (1982)
• Class 5: Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)
• Class 6: Minority Report (2002)
• Class 7: Interstellar (2014)
• Class 8: Arrival (2016)
Precepted by Patrick Lyon

The Wars of the Roses: Shakespeare’s "King Henry VI"

Meeting Mondays & Fridays at 6:00 PM Eastern for eight 1-hour sessions on May 3, 6, 10, 13, 17, 20, 24, (skip 27), 31
King Henry V is dead. His son, Henry VI, is young, weak, and will later prove insane. As war with France escalates, in-fighting between fractious and power-hungry English nobles sparks a new war at home: the War of the Roses. Shakespeare’s "King Henry V", Parts 1, 2, and 3 depict this decades-long civil war between the houses of York and Lancaster with a mixture of tragedy, thwarted romance, and dark comedy, ending in the rise of the house of his own reigning queen—the Tudors!
Precepted by Liam Daley

Tolkien and the Romantics: Nature and Ecology
Candidate  Hybrid

Meeting Tuesdays & Thursdays at 1:00 PM Eastern for eight 1-hour sessions on May 7, 9, 14, 16, 21, 23, 28, 30
J.R.R. Tolkien's revolutionary depictions of nature have inspired many to respect and cherish the environment. However, if we journeyed back two hundred years, we would discover that radical British Romantic authors were also challenging how readers perceived their surroundings! In this module, we will use ecology to explore the many parallels and contrasts between Tolkien's Arda and the Romantic's portrayals of nature big and small: mountains and meadows, woods and wildernesses, daffodils and dead marshes. This will include examining how characters react to the environment, nature's existence as separate from our own, and the broader concern of the Industrial Revolution's destructive potential.

The module will follow an 8-lesson structure as follows:
• Lecture 1: Visions of Nature
• Workshop 1: What do your Elf-eyes see?
• Lecture 2: All things Sublime and Beautiful
• Workshop 2: Sublime, Beautiful, or both at once?!
• Lecture 3: I want to see mountains!
• Workshop 3: One with our environment
• Lecture 4: Ecology without Humanity
• Workshop 4: What is actually out there beyond the Human sphere?

Note: The hybrid 8-lesson structure above is the new format for this module moving forward.
Precepted by Will Sherwood
If you have any questions about the SPACE program, please reach out to [email protected].