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

July 2024September 2024

August 2024 Modules

Adaptations of Middle-earth: From Deitch and Bakshi to Jackson
Candidate

Meeting Tuesdays & Wednesdays at 7:00 PM Eastern for eight 1-hour sessions on August 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, 21, 27, 28
The long and tangled history of cinematic attempts to bring the world of Middle-earth to the big screen is full of fascinating what-ifs, insurmountable setbacks, and ultimately a slew of good, bad, and utterly bizarre movies as a result. In this module we will dive deep into the cinematic adaptations of Middle-earth and watch our way through the Gene Deitch Hobbit (1966), the Rankin/Bass Hobbit (1977), the Bakshi Lord of the Rings (1978), the Rankin/Bass Return of the King (1980), and the Peter Jackson Trilogies over the course of a month, meeting for discussion of each film's cinematic and adaptational merits (or lack thereof). We will also cover some of the film versions that almost happened (such as John Boorman's completed script) and the complicated history behind the production of the films that did come to light. There is a lot of material to cover, but where there's a whip, there's a way.
Precepted by Patrick Lyon

Advanced Old English Series: Readings in Prose
Continuing Series Candidate

Meeting Mondays & Thursdays at 7:00 PM Eastern for eight 1-hour sessions on August 5, 8, 12, 15, 19, 22, 26, 29
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 Dr. Larry Swain

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

Meeting Mondays & Wednesdays at 7:00 PM Eastern for eight 1-hour sessions on August 5, 7, 12, 14, 19, 21, 26, 28
We will continue onwards with our intensive reading and discussion of the text from wherever we end in "An Intensive Reading of the Tao Te Ching/Daode jing 道德經".
Precepted by Dr. Robert Steed

Beginning Swedish
Spotlight  Candidate

Meeting Tuesdays & Thursdays at 8:00 PM Eastern for eight 1-hour sessions on August 6, 8, 13, 15, 20, 22, 27, 29.
In an interactive language course, we will explore the grammar, culture, and vocabulary of the largest Scandinavian language spoken today. From Vikings to Volvos to IKEA, Sweden is internationally recognized as a leader of cultural thought and political neutrality. The Swedish language is from the branch of North Germanic languages, meaning a lot of built in cognates exist for speakers of other Germanic languages (including English).

Kom och tala svenska med mig!
Precepted by Dr. Paul Peterson

Book Club: Heretics of Dune 1
First in the Series Candidate

We’re currently reviewing the schedule for this class at the moment. We will update it here once resolved. Thanks!
In this two-month module, we will read and discuss the fifth Dune novel, Heretics of Dune. 1500 years after the reign of Leto II, humanity is locked on the path laid out by the tyrant. Yet a new threat emerges from the shadows: the Honored Matres, a deadly ecstatic cult bent upon the destruction of the planet Dune...

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 Dr. Julian Barr

Creative Writing: The Hero’s Journey
Candidate  Hybrid

We’re currently reviewing the schedule for this class at the moment. We will update it here once resolved. Thanks!
How can we rise through suffering to become heroic? This hybrid module takes a deep dive into the stages of the hero’s journey structure and its applicability to your story. Considering different approaches to the Joseph Campbell’s monomyth, you will have the opportunity to share and reflect upon your character’s journey in supportive workshops. Whether your hero is slaying a dragon or exploring the dark depths of their psyche, this module will help you craft an epic journey.

The module will follow an 8-lesson structure as follows:
• Lecture 1: Introduction to the Monomyth
• Workshop 1: Call to Adventure

• Lecture 2: Archetypes
• Workshop 2: Challenges and Temptations

• Lecture 3: The Heroine’s Journey
• Workshop 3: Death and Rebirth

• Lecture 4: Challenging the Monomyth
• Workshop 4: Transformation, Atonement, Return
Precepted by Dr. Julian Barr

Creative Writing: Workshop (Novel in a Year)
Continuing Series Spotlight  Candidate

Meeting Mondays & Thursdays at 9:00 PM Eastern for eight 1-hour sessions on August 5, 8, 12, 15, 19, 22, 26, 29
We will meet to blend learning, discussion, and playing games with reading, appreciating, and commenting on one another’s work as it is submitted for peer review. You are encouraged — but never required — to submit new pieces in any state of draftiness or readiness for peer reading and feedback. Our Collaborative Feedback method, developed here at Signum University, asks you to comment at the author's comfort level through a structured reader (not editor) response. We gather to encourage the story that you want to tell. Our philosophy of kindness first might just turn around your previous experience of writing groups.

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.

C.S. Lewis's The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Candidate

Meeting Mondays & Thursdays at 8:00 PM Eastern for eight 1-hour sessions on August 5, 8, 12, 15, 19, 22, 26, 29
Join Ms. Elise for a cozy and relaxed Book Club as we read and discuss the magic of C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

Discovering the Discworld: Aching and Growing
Candidate

Meeting Tuesdays & Thursdays at 2:00 PM Eastern for eight 1-hour sessions on August 1, 6, 8, 13, 15, 20, 22, 27
Terry Pratchett said that Tiffany Aching "...started with a girl lying down by a river, on the first page of The Wee Free Men". With the character of Tiffany, a witch-in-training with initially only a frying pan and her common sense to help her, Pratchett said that he wanted to "restate" the purpose of magic on the Discworld and the relationship between wizards, witches, and others. He included ideas of responsibility and "guarding your society" as he felt it drew closer to the reality of a witch – that is, "the village herbalist, the midwife, the person who knew things". Pratchett chose a young protagonist because when you're young "you have to learn," and he chose the name "Tiffany" because it evoked anything but a powerful witch.

Throughout the series, Tiffany grows both as a young girl and woman and as a witch. In this course, we will follow the arc of Tiffany’s progress from naïve young girl to a powerful witch in her own right, who takes over from Granny Weatherwax, is hailed by the Nac Mac Feagle as their new ‘hag o’ the hills,’ and whose name, in their language, is Tir-far-thóinn or "Land Under Wave."

Access to the listed texts is desirable. Prior knowledge of at least the majority of the listed texts will be assumed.

The Wee Free Men
A Hat Full of Sky
Wintersmith
I Shall Wear Midnight
The Shepherd’s Crown
Precepted by Dr. Sara Brown

Egyptian Hieroglyphs 2
Continuing Series Candidate

Meeting Mondays & Wednesdays at 8:00 PM Eastern for eight 1-hour sessions on August 5, 7, 12, 14, 19, 21, 26, 28
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

Knewbetta’s Guide to The Silmarillion
Candidate

Meeting Tuesdays & Thursdays at 8:00 PM Eastern for eight 1-hour sessions on August 6, 8, 13, 15, 20, 22, 27, 29
Is The Silmarillion your favorite book? Is it your least-favorite book? Whether you’re reading it for the first or fiftieth time, KnewBettaDoBetta will help you see it in a more fun, relatable way!

Tolkien’s The Silmarillion is inarguably a complex read. KnewBetta seeks to make it more accessible by teaching the lore in an understandable way. His hope is that everyone can share his knowledge and passion! This course will look at characters, relationships, relatable themes, and meanings that you may not have explored yet.
Precepted by Knewbetta

Middle High German Series: A Month of Minnesang
Candidate

Meeting Tuesdays & Thursdays at 9:00 PM Eastern for eight 1-hour sessions on August 6, 8, 13, 15, 20, 22, 27, 29
During the 12th and 13th centuries, the Provençal tradition of courtly love poetry spread to Germany, where it became the lyrical genre known as Minnesang. It quickly took on a life of its own and developed into a medieval literary scene of the best type—complete with rivalries, drama, and satire! Come join us for a month of reading a selection of poems from this almost inexhaustible literary field.

This class is simultaneously meant as a literary survey and as language practice for Signum’s growing cohort of Middle High German enthusiasts. For every iteration, Dr. Schendel chooses a selection of poetry from the Early, Classical, and Late periods based on student interest. The shorter length of these poems makes them perfect reading material for beginning-, intermediate-, and even advanced-level MHG readers and will allow for an in-depth discussion of the poems.

The reading texts (which vary by iteration) will be supplied from a number of anthologies and editions according to the Fair Use doctrine, but Dr. Schendel will also provide ISBN numbers so students can buy their own copies. After all, who wouldn’t like to impress their houseguests with a hardcover copy of Des Minnesangs Frühling on the coffee table?
Precepted by Dr. Isaac Schendel

Nordic Madness: Exploring Children's Literature in Three Nordic Authors
Candidate

Meeting Tuesdays & Thursdays at 6:00 PM Eastern for eight 1-hour sessions on August 6, 8, 13, 15, 20, 22, 27, 29
In this module we will join the madness, adventure and melancholy of three famous Nordic authors: Hans Christian Andersen, Astrid Lindgren, and Tove Jansson. From the tragic unrequited love of a snowman to the crazy adventures of Pippi Longstocking and the Moomins, this module is a rollercoaster of emotions and beautiful imagery. You will need two books: Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren and Moominland Midwinter by Tove Jansson.
Precepted by Pilar Barrera

Old Norse Sagas in Translation: Njál’s Saga
Candidate  Hybrid

Meeting Mondays & Wednesdays at 8:00 PM Eastern for eight 1-hour sessions on August 5, 7, 12, 14, 19, 21, 26, 28
Situated on the margins of the medieval world, Iceland was remarkable for developing the largest secular literature in Europe – and Njál’s Saga is the longest, as well as probably the most famous and most artistically acclaimed, of the medieval Sagas of Icelanders. Probably written originally in the later 13th century, Njál’s Saga looks back to feuds of the later Viking Age, in the 10th and 11th centuries and presents much that is characteristic of the Sagas of Icelanders generally: a multitude of clearly drawn and memorable figures (both male and female); clever dialogue, full of dark humor and memorable phrases; great fighters and great fights; bad guys who nevertheless show us some redeeming traits, (however slight); and good guys with their own flaws and shortcomings (often fatal).

The module will follow an 8-session structure as follows:
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Lecture 1: Introduction to “Njál’s Saga” and its medieval Icelandic context; overview of “Hrut’s Saga” (chapters 1-18 of “Njál’s Saga”).
Discussion 1: Comments on and questions about the medieval Icelandic context of “Njál’s Saga” and the content of Hrut’s Saga” (chapters 1-18 of “Njál’s Saga”).

Lecture 2: Overview of “Gunnar’s Saga” (chapters 19-81 of “Njál’s Saga”).
Discussion 2: Comments on and questions about “Gunnar’s Saga” (chapters 19-81 of “Njál’s Saga”).

Lecture 3: Overview of “Njál’s Saga ‘proper’” (chapters 82-132 of “Njál’s Saga”).
Discussion 3: Comments on and questions about “Njál’s Saga ‘proper’” (chapters 82-132 of “Njál’s Saga”).

Lecture 4: Overview of “Flosi’s and Kari’s Saga” (chapters 133-159 of “Njál’s Saga”).
Discussion 4: Comments on and questions about “Flosi’s and Kari’s Saga” (chapters 133-159 of “Njál’s Saga”).
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Note: We wanted students to be aware that this module may contain violent, graphic, and/or other potentially triggering material.
Precepted by Dr. Carl Anderson

The Body in Tolkien's Legendarium
Candidate  Hybrid

Please enjoy pre-recorded lectures PLUS live discussion sessions meeting Wednesdays at 9:00 PM Eastern for eight 1-hour sessions on August 7, 14, 21, 28
This module will focus on bodies in Middle-earth from a multitude of directions and fields of enquiry. We will address fascinating subjects such as Sauron's body, the physical differences between Gandalf the Grey and Gandalf the White and the age old question "Do Balrogs have wings?" [No, the case is not settled on this.] We will explore how Tolkien writes about gendered and racialized bodies and how he uses slap-stick carnivalesque bodily humor in The Hobbit. We will explore the artwork and film images too. The point will be that bodies very much mattered in the narratives that make up Tolkien's Cauldron of Story, and they matter in his Legendarium!
Precepted by Dr. Chris Vaccaro

The (Other) Canterbury Tales
Spotlight  Candidate

Meeting Mondays & Wednesdays at 6:00 PM Eastern for eight 1-hour sessions on August 5, 7, 12, 14, 19, 21, 26, 28
If you’ve read some of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales , you probably encountered the chivalric grandeur of “The Knight’s Tale,” the irrepressible vitality of “The Wife of Bath’s Tale,” or the sinister irony of “The Pardoner’s Tale.” But what of the other pilgrims and their tales? This course looks at some of The Canterbury Tales that are less well-known but equally deserving of study: the beauty of the Squire’s unfinished orientalist fairy tale; the rancorous one-upsmanship of the Friar and Summoner’s exchange of tales on clerical abuses, Satanic bargains, and flatulence; or the pilgrims’ run in with an aspiring alchemist, the Canon, and the satirical tale of alchemy gone wrong offered by his servant, the Yeoman. This course will look at these tales and more in their original Middle English spelling.
Precepted by Dr. Liam Daley

Utopias and dystopias in The Fellowship of the Ring
Spotlight  Candidate

Special Intensive format! Meeting Monday through Friday at 2:00 PM Eastern for sessions on August 12, 13, 14, 15, 16. The sessions will run one hour on Monday and Friday, two hours on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday
Based on Hamish's recently published book Tolkien's Utopianism and the Classics, this new module takes us on a tour of utopian and dystopian places in The Fellowship of the Ring, journeying through the pastoral bliss of the Shire, the sublime encounter in Woody End, the perilous Old Forest, the abandoned ruins at Weathertop, Elrond's paradise in Rivendell, the abandoned wilderness in Hollin, the undergound realm of Moria, and the timeless utopia of Lothlorien. In every class, our approach will be to read together important passages and discuss the representations of different spaces and societies in Tolkien's Fellowship of the Ring.
If you have any questions about the SPACE program, please reach out to [email protected].