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

Ecocriticism Portal

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.

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.

Meeting the Horned God of the Witches

The Horned God, alongside being modern paganism's most popular deity, enjoys a rich heritage in speculative fiction and popular culture. In this module, we will explore his ancient (and modern) origins, his appearances in both esoteric and popular literature, and his surprising role as an environmental figure. Throughout the module, students will gain familiarity with the four core figures that make up the Horned God (Pan, Cernunnos, the Sorcerer of Trois Freres, and Herne the Hunter), and key narratives associated with him. They will also have an opportunity to ponder the complex web of influences between modern paganism and speculative fiction.

This module builds on the work of Margaret Murray and the module 'The Witch-Cult Hypothesis', but does not require prior knowledge of the material covered there.
Precepted by Anna Milon.

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.

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.

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.
If you have any questions about the SPACE program, please reach out to [email protected].