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

Dr. Chris Vaccaro

Signum MA FacultySPACE Preceptor

He is a Senior Lecturer of English at the University of Vermont, where he teaches courses on Beowulf, Old English language and literature, surveys of early British Literature, and Tolkien. He has been teaching online courses since 2002. [see full bio...]

Current and Upcoming Modules

The Body in Tolkien's Legendarium

August 2024  Hybrid

Highlighted Modules

All Modules

Enjoying Shakespeare: As You Like It

Lecture-based Format
This course is a fun exploration of Shakespeare's As You Like It. The lecturer will lead students through the sources, plot, character development and major themes. Class time will be spent in lectures and brief discussions.

Enjoying Shakespeare: Hamlet

Lecture-based Format
This course is a fun exploration of Shakespeare's Hamlet. The lecturer will lead students through the sources, plot, character development and major themes. Class time will be spent in lectures and brief discussions.

The Body in Tolkien's Legendarium

Mixed Lecture/Discussion Format
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!

The Women of Beowulf

Yes, there are indeed women in Beowulf. Vital and potent women in fact. From the valkyrie-esque figures to the weeping peace-weavers, a broad spectrum of women characters exists as both historical representation and imaginative mythology. Grendel's Mother is ferocious and masculine. Hildeburh laments the death of her brother and son before being carried off. Modthryth behaves like a sadistic queen. Wealhtheow is mindful of so much in her husband's hall. Freawaru seems destined for tragedy. And could the dragon be a female too? Maria Headley seems to think so. This module will explore this topic using dual-language editions of texts so we can see the original language alongside translations by J.R.R. Tolkien, Roy Liuzza, and Maria Headley.
If you have any questions about the SPACE program, please reach out to [email protected].