• 11th and 12th grade student opportunity to take an interesting class AND earn college credit!!

    Perelandra Scholars Program at Portland State University, now in its second year, is designed exclusively for high school juniors and seniors to earn college credit in high-level humanities courses, taught in person on the PSU campus. Here’s what they tell us about their offerings:


    The Idea of the Nation (1 credit)

    Mondays 7:10 - 9:20pm

    Nov 7, 14, 28, Dec 5, 11

    In this course we will examine what it means to be a nation, when national identity is a force for liberty and when a source of conflict, how the national idea has developed in America as compared with other countries, and the importance and challenges of national identity today as compared with its alternatives.

    Students will get to discuss these questions with international speakers (via Zoom, although the class is in-person). This year’s speakers will discuss national identity in Russia, Ireland, Israel, and India. Readings include Ernest Renan’s essay “What Is A Nation?”


    Identity and US Politics (1 credit)

    Tuesdays 7:10 - 9:20pm

    Nov 8, 15, 29, Dec 6, 13

    What are the enduring philosophical disagreements between left and right and how do these shape political discourse today? How can we cultivate a more thoughtful, political culture, even in disagreement? In this course we will look at the ideas of two foundational thinkers of the modern left and modern right: the fiery revolutionary Thomas Paine, and the statesman and philosopher Edmund Burke. We will draw on their wisdom and insight to deflect on American political division today.

    Students will converse in real time via Zoom with exciting guest speakers about how contemporary US politics is impacted by group identities based on race, faith, class, and gender; how social media impacts political activism today; and how these issues play out comparatively in other countries. Readings include Yuval Levin, The Great Debate: Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and the Birth of Right and Left. All course materials provided free of charge. 


    (NEW!) Film Classics and the Four Loves (1 credit)

    Mondays 7:10 - 9:00pm

    Jan 9, 23, 30, Feb 6, 13, 27 (Note time difference and 6 sessions instead of 5)

    One of the great American art forms is the Hollywood “screwball comedy” of the 1930s and 40s, with roots in Shakespeare, and a level of delight and canny wisdom about men, women, and relationships. In this course we will discuss four classics of screwball in connection with excerpts from C. S. Lewis’s book The Four Loves, his exploration of friendship, affection, and romance. 

    The films are: It Happened One Night (1934), The Thin Man (1934), The Philadelphia Story (1940), and The Palm Beach Story (1942), plus a comparative look at French film in Pauline at the Beach (1983). Note: Students will view the films at home, and so must have access to a streaming service such as Amazon or YouTube, or to the films on another platform.

    Fantasy Literature and the Religious Imagination (1 credit)

    Tuesdays 7:10 - 9:20pm

    Jan 10, 17, 24, 31, Feb 7 

    Through extended discussion of C. S. Lewis’s novel Perelandra and other texts, we will explore how fantasy writers have engaged questions of good and evil, faith and redemption, through the literary imagination. Additional readings include excerpts from J. R. R. Tolkien’s “On Fairy Stories,” G. K. Chesterton’s “The Ethics of Elfland,” and the book of Genesis. All course materials provided free of charge.

    The cost is $75.00 per class and there are scholarships available.

    Information and Registration: https://www.pdx.edu/judaic-studies/perelandra-scholars-program