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

Oct Showcase 2023 Portal

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Discovering Terry Pratchett's Discworld: Which Witch is Which?

Terry Pratchett's witches - Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg and Magrat Garlick - are more than just a marvelous spoof of those in Shakespeare's 'Macbeth'. In addition to their undoubted comedic value, they are also a voice for some of the major themes of the Discworld novels. Through readings of extracts from the relevant novels, as well as reference to some modern scholarship, we will examine the differences between witch magic and wizard magic; the role of witches in Discworld society; Pratchett's representations of gender; themes of power and authority, and the presentation of the minor witch characters. Access to the listed texts is desirable. Prior knowledge of at least the majority of the listed texts will be assumed.
Precepted by Dr. Sara Brown

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!

History of the Book Arts

This module gives an overview of writing and alphabets, literary and other works written on stone, papyrus, wax, and parchment.

More from Dr. Swain about this module: I love reading and writing. Both are "technological" revolutions that effected historical moments in human history. This module will look at the development of writing and of reading, the kinds of materials we have written on, and how we prepared those surfaces to record our words. We will learn vocabulary that is used to talk about all this. There will be a lot of pretty pictures!
Precepted by Dr. Larry Swain

HSK Mandarin 1 First in the Series

In this first module, students will be introduced to Mandarin—the language used throughout most of China. Students will get a sense for the tone system, basic grammatical structure, Pinyin, Chinese characters, and some snippets of useful, conversational Mandarin. We will follow the HSK (Chinese Proficiency Test-Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi 汉语水平考试 ) Standard Course Curriculum for HSK Level 1.

Main topics for this module include:
1. An emphasis on Pinyin (the method of romanized transliteration for Chinese)
2. An introduction to reading and writing Chinese characters (Simplified, not traditional)
3. Basic grammar and vocabulary
4. Conversation

We will also look at some authentic materials, including song lyrics and dialogue from popular T.V. and movies. These will help to give us context for what we are learning and gauge where we are in our journey.

If you've ever wished to understand and speak Mandarin, here's a great stepping stone to get you started!
Precepted by Sam Roche

Latin In A Year Series Series of 15

Designed for absolute beginners as well as past Latin scholars who want to review at relative leisure, Signum’s 12-module Latin in a Year series surveys core Latin grammar and basic classical vocabulary. Each month, students will tackle new grammatical concepts and paradigms, learn new vocabulary, and practice translating short sentences and longer passages. Optional homework is available for the overzealous. Each one-month module builds on the previous one, so students with prior experience are encouraged to communicate with our Director and Professor Acker to find the right entry point. See the list below for some general guidelines of what material is explored over the course of each module.

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We will be offering this series next in January 2024, starting at Month 1.
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Month 1: Overview of nouns and verbs (present active verbs, 1st and 2nd declension)
Month 2: Adding new tenses (imperfect and future active) and a new declension (3rd)
Month 3: 3rd and 4th conjugations (existing tenses) and new pronouns
Month 4: New verb tenses (perfect system) and more pronouns; numerals
Month 5: Passive verb forms; 4th declension nouns; more pronouns
Month 6: 5th declension, but mostly participles
Month 7: Comparatives, superlatives, and some irregular forms
Month 8: Basic subjunctives
Month 9: Irregular verbs and conditions
Month 10: Subjunctives, deponents, datives, and more irregular verbs
Month 11: (more) finicky grammar
Month 12: Basic readings
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Precepted by Dr. Faith Acker

Novel in a Year: Creative Writing Series Series of 12

Are you ready for an adventure in writing? Over the course of twelve months, you and your story will go from the beginnings of planning, through the stages of creating your first draft, and revising that draft, all the way to emerging with a novel that is finished and ready to submit for publication or personal accomplishment or family enjoyment. Each class in the series will draw upon lessons from the previous classes. In addition, we will build a community of writers who go through the experience together, encouraging each other and being sounding boards for each other.

Note: Anyone is welcome to join our Novel in a Year modules at any time (the only exception is Novel in a Year 11: Tree Workshop, which is designed specifically for the cohort). 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.

Representing Utopia through the Ages

While the idea of establishing an ‘actual’ utopia has been disparaged since the first half of the twentieth century from socio-political perspectives (e.g. the failed age of ideology from 1917-1945), literary and related cultural narratives have a long history of imagining and representing utopia (also paradise, the golden age, etc.). These utopias often function to criticize the problematic social norms and climates of their times as well as providing progressive imaginings for a better future, often based on certain ideals or virtues. In this module, we go on a chronological tour of different representations of utopia, including: the paleolithic utopia of hunter-gatherers (e.g. as discussed in Harari’s Homo Sapiens) (before 10,000 BC), the Bronze Age utopia of Minoan Crete (4000-1400 BCE), Plato’s mythical island of Atlantis (ca 400 BC), the pastoral utopia of the Roman poet Virgil (ca 40 BC), the New World utopia of Sir Thomas More (1516), the Enlightened, reasoned utopia of Robinson Crusoe (1719), Tolkien’s fantasy utopia of Númenor (ca 1940), and more.

Spanish for Beginners Series Series of 1

This series is designed for beginners of Spanish who have had very little or no previous contact with the language. The purpose of the course is to build up communication skills through interactive and dynamic sessions. The modules overview essential vocabulary, expressions, and grammar, but we’ll also take a look at cultural aspects such as celebrations, artists, music, and food. This is a progressive course: each module builds on the concepts studied in the previous one, so that, as the modules advance, other students with prior knowledge may join. Vamos a aprender español!
Precepted by Pilar Barrera

The Fantastic in East Asia

Come join us as we explore various aspects of the weird, the strange, the uncanny, the dreamlike, and the visionary in East Asian literature, religion, folktales, poetry, and popular media. Whether it is ecstatic visions in Daoist texts, shamanistic expressions in Chinese poetry, gumiho and ghosts in KDramas, or stories such as that of the Yuki Onna (Snow Woman) in Japanese folklore, we’ll explore them all (and perhaps more!) in this class.
Precepted by Dr. Robert Steed

The Haunting of Hill House

The Haunting of Hill House (1959) by Shirley Jackson is a classic of Gothic horror, a haunted house tale lauded by critics, loved by readers, and repeatedly adapted for stage and screen for more than half a century. What makes this novel a successful example of its genre? Why has it spoken to generations of readers? How does its messages represent and/or transcend its time? In this module we will explore the context and inspirations for The Haunting of Hill House, its popular and critical receptions, its place in Shirley Jackson’s larger body of work, and its impact on contemporary readers.
Precepted by Dr. Amy H. Sturgis

Tolkien and the Romantics: Imagining and Dreaming

The imagination and dreams are essential parts of J.R.R. Tolkien's world building which he explored across many stories from 'The Lord of the Rings' and 'On Fairy-stories' to 'The Notion Club Papers'. The same can be said of the Romantics who saw an important connection between the two. In works such as Samuel Taylor Coleridge's 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner' and 'Kubla Khan', Lord Byron's 'The Dream' and 'Darkness', and Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein', the imaginary and dream-like meet with awe-inspiring, melancholy or blood-chilling results.

The module sessions are structured as follows:
• Class 1: The Realms of (Childhood) Faery (60m)
• Class 2: Faery’s Enchantment (60m)
• Class 3: The Terror of the Night (60m)
• Class 4: The Past is an Imagined Dreamworld (90m)
• Class 5: Visions of the Apocalypse (60m)
• Class 6: Senses and Sensation (60m)
• Class 7: Glimpses, mere Fragments (90m)
Precepted by Will Sherwood

Writers' Workshop: The Different Body Problem

It's a sometimes inconvenient fact that characters have bodies, and sometimes, those bodies directly affect the stories we write about them. Writing characters who live in bodies that do not perform according to the cultural standard is a skill like any other part of the writer's craft.

In this course, we will look at examples from literature of how authors have dealt with what we usually call disabilities. Some have done well, others have materially harmed people with their writing.

We will also work with one another to hone our craft as writers who are telling stories so that we can find the new and inspirational, while leaving behind the worn-out clichés that make the lives of people like your preceptor materially harder.

Note: Texts will be provided by the preceptor.

Note: For more information about the Collaborative Feedback Method in SPACE, please check out our video here.
If you have any questions about the SPACE program, please reach out to [email protected].