Lifelong Learners Institute

The Lifelong Learners Institute offers open courses for the community independent of Canisius University degree programs. Our instructors come from a wide range of academic disciplines to give our courses a broad cross-section of knowledge, experience, and experience. No papers or tests are given! Just much good discussion!

Classes meet weekly for six weeks and are limited to 16 students. Cost is $60. Questions? Contact Yvonne Widenor at 716-888-2531.

Summer 2024

Funny Things Happened in Greek Comedies

July 9, 16, 30, August 6, 13, 21 

12:00-1:00 PM


This summer we will explore the rich tradition of Greek comedy in the 4th century BCE. We will read several plays by Aristophanes within their cultural, theatrical, and historical context. We will begin by examining the scope and structure of ancient comedy and move into reading how the writer’s works comment on the social (both public and private) and political realities of his times. Of course, along the way, we will enjoy the humour and satire reflected in Aristophanes’ work and hopefully come to understand that comedy itself can effectively convey serious commentary on social and human relationships. All-in-all, his work is a precursor to our modern comic sensibility.

Each session will begin with some suggested approaches and observations about the readings, then time will be given for lively and open conversation and sharing among the participants.

WK 1: Introduction to Ancient Greek Theatre, and Aristophanes’ Lysistrata

WK 2: Lysistrata, cont.

WK 3: Lysistrata, cont.

WK 4: Aristophanes’ The Frogs

WK 5: The Frogs, cont.

WK 6: The Frogs, cont.

Professor Johanna Fisher is an adjunct professor in the Department of English and Co-Director of the Women & Gender Studies Program at Canisius University. Professor Fisher has taught courses such as Romancing the Grail: High Adventures and Chivalrous Knights and The Quest in Medieval Literature for over 20 years. She has also taught German and German literature courses with an emphasis on the contemporary era in fiction. Professor Fisher teaches Representations of Nazis in Euro Fiction. She is originally from Bayern, Germany, and lives there part-time when she is not teaching at Canisius University.

2023-2024 Semester

Boundaries of Wisdom: Reading Ancient Texts

Johanna Fisher (English)

Reading the Crusades in Literature: Negotiating War & Change

Johanna Fisher (English)

To Hell & Back: Reading Dante’s “Il Inferno”

Johanna Fisher (English)

The Power of Myth: Opening to the Mystery of the Universe

Johanna Fisher (English)

2022-2023 Semester

From Odysseus to Harry Potter: The Evolution of the Hero

Robert J. Butler (English)

2021-2022 Semester

Witches & Wives: Women in the Middle Ages

Kara Larson Maloney (English)

A Brief History of Byzantium

Jeff Brubaker (Classics)

2020-2021 Semester

The Plague in Medieval Literature

Johanna Fisher (English)

Arthur: The Once & Future King

Kara Maloney (English)

The Crusades

Jeff Brubaker (Classics)

Tempters & Temptresses: The Medieval Romance

Johanna Fisher (English)