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

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A Brief Introduction to Japanese Religions I

Over the course of this module, we will cover the basics of Japanese religious history. Particular areas of focus will be Shintō 神道 tradition and various forms of Japanese Buddhism, shamanism, and Shugendō 修験道. Time permitting (unlikely) we can also touch upon Japanese New Religions and/or Japanese Christianity.
Precepted by Dr. Robert Steed

A Brief Introduction to Japanese Religions II

Picking up from where we left off in the first module, we will continue to explore the basics of Japanese religious history.
Precepted by Dr. Robert Steed

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.

Arcane: League of Legends

Breathtaking animation, sound design, and worldbuilding combined to make Arcane one of 2021's unexpected animated hits.

Join us for this SPACE module where we'll do an episode-by-episode watch and discussion of this fantastic show.
Precepted by Keli Fancher

Eating Our Way Through Anime

What can a carefully arranged bento box show us about a protagonist’s emotions? How does a steaming bowl of ramen help tell a story? Anime is known for its detailed, mouthwatering portrayals of food. But what exactly makes these artistic culinary delights so special, and why do we keep coming back for more?

In this module, we will consider many aspects of food in anime and its relationship with fandom, culture, and history, and how food signals certain things about characters, settings, and relationships.

Come help us eat our way through anime!

Exploring Mushi Shi 蟲師

We will watch and discuss Mushi Shi, paying special attention to aspects of Japanese religion and culture which are woven into the fabric of the story. The class will be discussion-oriented, framed by preceptor commentary. This is a beautifully designed series that rewards slow and relaxed contemplation.
Precepted by Dr. Robert Steed

Exploring Natsume’s Book of Friends: Part 1 First in the Series

Natsume’s Book of Friends is a contemplative and heartfelt anime/manga series about a boy who inherited a book from his grandmother, allowing him to control youkai. Instead, he chooses to free them. This series sits at the intersection of fantasy and slice of life, and it touches on many aspects of Japanese folklore and culture, at the same time telling a story about connection and compassion. In this module, we will watch and discuss the first two seasons of the anime, paying particular attention to themes including: the iyashikei (healing) genre of anime, the portrayal of youkai in popular culture, and the use of concepts and imagery from Japanese literature and folklore in the series.

This module is primarily discussion based, with some contextual information provided by the preceptor. There will be a Google Doc for class discussion and your preceptor will use slides, but sparingly.

Exploring Natsume’s Book of Friends: Part 2 Continuing Series

The third and fourth seasons of Natsume’s Book of Friends continue the story of a boy who can see youkai, and who usually frees them or helps them rather than control or exorcize them. These two seasons continue to explore the themes of loneliness, connection, and the conflict between humans and others, but also introduces the Matoba clan, a group of exorcists. As with the first module, we will look at the role of youkai and the way that both characters and the audience are healed.

Exploring Natsume’s Book of Friends: Part 3 Continuing Series

The fifth and sixth seasons of Natsume’s Book of Friends continue the story of a boy who can see youkai, and who usually frees them or helps them rather than control or exorcize them. These two seasons continue to explore the themes of loneliness, connection, and the conflict between humans and others, but also provide further insight into the secondary characters that surround Natsume. As with the first two modules, we will look at the role of youkai and the way that both characters and the audience are healed.

Exploring Natsume’s Book of Friends Series Series of 3

Natsume’s Book of Friends is a contemplative and heartfelt anime/manga series about a boy who inherited a book from his grandmother, allowing him to control youkai. Instead, he chooses to free them. This series sits at the intersection of fantasy and slice of life, and it touches on many aspects of Japanese folklore and culture, at the same time telling a story about connection and compassion.

This series is primarily discussion based, with some contextual information provided by the preceptor. There will be a Google Doc for class discussion and your preceptor will use slides, but sparingly.

Exploring Violet Evergarden

Come join us for a stunning coming-of-age fantasy anime that follows the story of Violet Evergarden, a former soldier who finds forgiveness, healing, and self-worth through the unassuming power of writing letters. In this module, we will discuss how Violet Evergarden functions as a postwar recovery and travel story, as well as the anime’s use of Victorian and post-World War I aesthetics to tell Violet’s unusual yet unforgettable tale.

Exploring Water Margin 水滸傳

One of the great classical Chinese novels written largely in the vernacular, Water Margin relates the dramatic tale of 108 outlaws who engage in deeds of bravery and rough justice as they deal with challenges and reprisals from the government and rival clans of outlaws. The historical influence of this text extends beyond China, as it was a major influence on Tokugawa-era (1600-1868) and later Japanese literature and is currently considered to be a major work of world literature. Join us as we explore both the story and its historical ramifications!
Precepted by Dr. 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 Dr. Robert Steed

Avatar: 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

Avatar: 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

Avatar the Last Airbender Netflix Adaptation: Book 1

Grab a cup of tea and join Keli for a discussion on the long anticipated Netflix live action adaptation of Avatar the Last Airbender, Season 1.
In this module we'll watch and discuss one of the live action episodes for each class session. While not required, it is highly recommended that you have seen season one of the original animated series as we will be discussing adaptation choices.

For the first offering of this module we'll try to schedule an earlier call or two to discuss the animated series before the new show drops.
Precepted by Keli Fancher

Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Comics

You've seen the show, now let's read the comics!

In this SPACE module we'll read through the comics surrounding the originalAvatar: The Last Airbender characters and discuss them in a book club format.
Precepted by Keli Fancher

Avatar: The Legend of Korra

You've seen the original series, now it's time to watch the sequel.

Come watch us for an intense month of Avatar-viewing as we watch through the entire Legend of Korra animated show and discuss it in a book club format.
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

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

Kaguya-sama: Love is War! (Part 1) First in the Series

Join us for the first of two modules on Kaguya-sama: Love is War! In this clever anime romantic comedy, the first person to confess their love loses. In the module, we’ll discuss how Kaguya-sama builds on (and spoofs) anime tropes, as well as its themes of love, vulnerability, maturity, and class status.

This first module will cover episodes 1-21 of the anime. Attending the next module in this series is not required, but it’s definitely encouraged!

Kaguya-sama: Love is War! (Part 2) Continuing Series

Join us for the second of two modules on Kaguya-sama: Love is War! In this clever anime romantic comedy, the first person to confess their love loses. In the module, we’ll discuss how Kaguya-sama builds on (and spoofs) anime tropes, as well as its themes of love, vulnerability, maturity, and class status.

This second module will cover episodes 22-41 of the anime (that is, episode 22-37, and the four episodes that make up the movie). Attending the first module in this series is not required, but it’s definitely encouraged!

Kaguya-sama: Love is War Series Series

Join us for two modules on Kaguya-sama: Love is War! In this clever anime romantic comedy, the first person to confess their love loses. In the module, we’ll discuss how Kaguya-sama builds on (and spoofs) anime tropes, as well as its themes of love, vulnerability, maturity, and class status.

Japanese: From Zero Series of 13

This course is for those who have an interest in Japanese culture and wish to begin studying Japanese. We will begin by learning Hiragana and Katakana and cover some basic grammatical structures. We will also cover some conversational Japanese and explore how it is used in anime, manga, and music.

This Japanese module has the potential to grow into a series of beginner courses. Japanese is a language of great nuance and depth. This module will open the door to that world and build a foundation for greater insight into Japan's culture and its people.
Precepted by Sam Roche

Japanese: From Zero - 1 First in the Series

This course is for those who have an interest in Japanese culture and wish to begin studying Japanese. We will begin by learning Hiragana and Katakana and cover some basic grammatical structures. We will also cover some conversational Japanese and explore how it is used in anime, manga, and music.

This Japanese module has the potential to grow into a series of beginner courses. Japanese is a language of great nuance and depth. This module will open the door to that world and build a foundation for greater insight into Japan's culture and its people.
Precepted by Sam Roche

Japanese: From Zero - 10 Continuing Series

This course is for those who have an interest in Japanese culture and wish to continue our study of Japanese. We will continue using Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji, and covering grammatical structures. Through use of conversational Japanese, we will continue to explore how the language is used in anime, manga, and music.

Japanese is a language of great nuance and depth. This module will open the door to that world and build a foundation for greater insight into Japan's culture and its people.
Precepted by Sam Roche

Japanese: From Zero - 11 Continuing Series

This course is for those who have an interest in Japanese culture and wish to continue our study of Japanese. We will continue using Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji, and covering grammatical structures. Through use of conversational Japanese, we will continue to explore how the language is used in anime, manga, and music.

Japanese is a language of great nuance and depth. This module will open the door to that world and build a foundation for greater insight into Japan's culture and its people.
Precepted by Sam Roche

Japanese: From Zero - 12 Continuing Series

This course is for those who have an interest in Japanese culture and wish to continue our study of Japanese. We will continue using Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji, and covering grammatical structures. Through use of conversational Japanese, we will continue to explore how the language is used in anime, manga, and music.

Japanese is a language of great nuance and depth. This module will open the door to that world and build a foundation for greater insight into Japan's culture and its people.
Precepted by Sam Roche

Japanese: From Zero - 13 Continuing Series

This course is for those who have an interest in Japanese culture and wish to continue our study of Japanese. We will continue using Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji, and covering grammatical structures. Through use of conversational Japanese, we will continue to explore how the language is used in anime, manga, and music.

Japanese is a language of great nuance and depth. This module will open the door to that world and build a foundation for greater insight into Japan's culture and its people.
Precepted by Sam Roche

Japanese: From Zero - 2 Continuing Series

This course is for those who have an interest in Japanese culture and wish to continue our study of Japanese. We will continue using Hiragana and Katakana and will cover basic grammatical structures. Through use of conversational Japanese, we will continue to explore how the language is used in anime, manga, and music.

Japanese is a language of great nuance and depth. This module will open the door to that world and build a foundation for greater insight into Japan's culture and its people.
Precepted by Sam Roche

Japanese: From Zero - 3 Continuing Series

This course is for those who have an interest in Japanese culture and wish to continue our study of Japanese. We will continue using Hiragana and Katakana and will cover basic grammatical structures. Through use of conversational Japanese, we will continue to explore how the language is used in anime, manga, and music.

Japanese is a language of great nuance and depth. This module will open the door to that world and build a foundation for greater insight into Japan's culture and its people.
Precepted by Sam Roche

Japanese: From Zero - 4 Continuing Series

This course is for those who have an interest in Japanese culture and wish to continue our study of Japanese. We will continue using Hiragana and Katakana and will cover basic grammatical structures. Through use of conversational Japanese, we will continue to explore how the language is used in anime, manga, and music.

Japanese is a language of great nuance and depth. This module will open the door to that world and build a foundation for greater insight into Japan's culture and its people.
Precepted by Sam Roche

Japanese: From Zero - 5 Continuing Series

This course is for those who have an interest in Japanese culture and wish to continue our study of Japanese. We will continue using Hiragana and Katakana and will cover basic grammatical structures. Through use of conversational Japanese, we will continue to explore how the language is used in anime, manga, and music.

Japanese is a language of great nuance and depth. This module will open the door to that world and build a foundation for greater insight into Japan's culture and its people.
Precepted by Sam Roche

Japanese: From Zero - 6 Continuing Series

This course is for those who have an interest in Japanese culture and wish to continue our study of Japanese. We will continue using Hiragana and Katakana and will cover basic grammatical structures. Through use of conversational Japanese, we will continue to explore how the language is used in anime, manga, and music.

Japanese is a language of great nuance and depth. This module will open the door to that world and build a foundation for greater insight into Japan's culture and its people.
Precepted by Sam Roche

Japanese: From Zero - 7 Continuing Series

This course is for those who have an interest in Japanese culture and wish to continue our study of Japanese. We will continue using Hiragana and Katakana and will cover basic grammatical structures. Through use of conversational Japanese, we will continue to explore how the language is used in anime, manga, and music.

Japanese is a language of great nuance and depth. This module will open the door to that world and build a foundation for greater insight into Japan's culture and its people.
Precepted by Sam Roche

Japanese: From Zero - 8 Continuing Series

This course is for those who have an interest in Japanese culture and wish to continue our study of Japanese. We will continue using Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji, and covering grammatical structures. Through use of conversational Japanese, we will continue to explore how the language is used in anime, manga, and music.

Japanese is a language of great nuance and depth. This module will open the door to that world and build a foundation for greater insight into Japan's culture and its people.
Precepted by Sam Roche

Japanese: From Zero - 9 Continuing Series

This course is for those who have an interest in Japanese culture and wish to continue our study of Japanese. We will continue using Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji, and covering grammatical structures. Through use of conversational Japanese, we will continue to explore how the language is used in anime, manga, and music.

Japanese is a language of great nuance and depth. This module will open the door to that world and build a foundation for greater insight into Japan's culture and its people.
Precepted by Sam Roche

Japanese History for Fans of Japanese Media

In this module we will cover a general overview of major periods, events, and personages that often crop up in Japanese films, dramas, anime, and manga. For example, are you a fan of the manga and drama series Jin? When Dr. Jin finds himself in the Edo period, do you want to know more about that historical context? This module should help with that and much more! Join us for a light and fun overview of Japanese history useful for engaging with Japanese media more deeply.
Precepted by Dr. Robert Steed

Japanese Through Culture 1 First in the Series

In this series, we will learn about various Japanese expressions and grammar through history, daily life, and pop culture such as anime. We will read, listen, speak, and write Japanese.

Note: Japanese Through Culture will be taught in Japanese. Therefore, it is for students who already have basic level of Japanese.
Precepted by Hitomi Takemura

Japanese Through Culture 2 Continuing Series

In this series, we will continue our study of Japanese expressions and grammar through history, daily life, and pop culture such as anime. We will read, listen, speak, and write Japanese.

Note: Japanese Through Culture will be taught in Japanese. Therefore, it is for students who already have basic level of Japanese.
Precepted by Hitomi Takemura

Japanese Through Culture 3 Continuing Series

In this series, we will continue our study of Japanese expressions and grammar through history, daily life, and pop culture such as anime. We will read, listen, speak, and write Japanese.

Note: Japanese Through Culture will be taught in Japanese. Therefore, it is for students who already have basic level of Japanese.
Precepted by Hitomi Takemura

Japanese Through Culture Series Series of 3

In this series, we will learn about various Japanese expressions and grammar through history, daily life, and pop culture such as anime. We will read, listen, speak, and write Japanese.

Note: Japanese Through Culture will be taught in Japanese. Therefore, it is for students who already have basic level of Japanese.
Precepted by Hitomi Takemura

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, and 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

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 Dr. Robert Steed

The Anime of Everyday Life: Hobbies, Romance, Sports, Slice-of-Life, Iyashikei, Educational Anime, and More

Anime as a medium can create worlds of all kinds, including those that feel familiar, quiet, or even mundane. In this module, we will consider what I am calling the anime of everyday life — anime that tells smaller, more personal stories about life. What makes these sorts of shows and movies so appealing, and what can they do for their audiences? In this module, we will consider several major genres usually grouped under “slice-of-life anime,” but we will also look at the intersection between everyday life and the fantastic. Each class will include a discussion of the history and elements of the anime of everyday life, with examples. Participants are encouraged to bring their own examples, as well!

Video Game Studies

Inviting students to share their delight in, and deepen their appreciation of, video games, we will discuss examples of the art, music, gameplay, and story from a range of influential titles. We will introduce and experiment with some of the theoretical frameworks that have been applied to video games as media objects and cultural artifacts. But mostly, we will enjoy learning more about the medium and the games we already love. Aside from links and selections shared throughout the module, Gabrielle Zevin's novel Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow. will be the only required reading.
Precepted by Wesley Schantz
If you have any questions about the SPACE program, please reach out to [email protected].