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

Cultural Studies Portal

His Dark Materials in Context [3 Module Series] Series

Sir Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy is widely regarded as a modern classic, has been described by The New Statesman as “the most ambitious work since The Lord of the Rings,” and has been adapted onto stage, radio, and screen. The series is also deep and complex, drawing from a rich array of literary, philosophical, and theological ideas.

In this three-module series we will read, successively, the three novels in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, juxtaposing each with selected materials that will allow us to read Pullman’s work both on its own and in conversation with other works. Students can join one, two, or all three modules. There are no prerequisites.

Module 1: His Dark Materials in Context 1: The Golden Compass / Northern Lights
Module 2: His Dark Materials in Context 2: The Subtle Knife
Module 3: His Dark Materials in Context 3: The Amber Spyglass
Precepted by Faith Acker and Gabriel Schenk.

Japanese Classical Theater: Noh, Bunraku, Kyogen, and Kabuki

In this module we will explore the historical origins and development of these forms of Japanese theater. We will situate them in their historical, cultural, religious, and economic contexts, as well as watching substantial video clips from each to spur discussion.
Precepted by Robert Steed.

Japanese Historical Archetypal Characters: Samurai, Ninja, Monks, Miko, Yakuza

Join us as we discover the historical origins and literary presences of these categories of people who often appear in Japanese and Japan-related narratives. We will also pay attention to the "systems" in which they participate, including economic, political, and religious, as well as aspects of culture that shape them such as codes of bushido, monastic life, shamanism, and political struggle.
Precepted by Robert Steed.

Novel Romani: Gypsies in Victorian & Modern British Literature

Members of various Romani peoples (aka “Gypsies”) came to the British Isles in the 16th century and have been portrayed in British literature in varying ways since. Often stereotyped, profiled, vilified, objectified, and mocked by establishment authors, Gypsies have also been described in terms of desirable characteristics, such as freedom from convention, energy and charisma, vast stores of traditional or global knowledge, spiritual insight, liberation from traditional capitalist restrictions or national identities, and seductive romance. In this course, we’ll read scholarly articles and primary sources to learn about how 19th- & 20th-century authors in the British Isles depicted and understood this complex group of peoples.
Precepted by Sørina Higgins and Eve Droma.
If you have any questions about the SPACE program, please reach out to [email protected].