The Dante Society of America is active in creating and promoting opportunities for scholars, students, teachers, and the general public to learn more about Dante's life, works, and cultural legacy. Please send notices of upcoming events, online projects, and other resources to firstname.lastname@example.org. The contents of this section is maintained by our Education and Outreach Committee.
Canto per Canto: Conversations with Dante in Our Time was a collaborative initiative between the Department of Italian Studies and Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò at New York University and the Dante Society of America. The aim was to record conversations between all sorts of different readers of Dante on all 100 cantos of the Divine Comedy. World experts and amateur enthusiasts teamed up to talk together about what resonated for them about a particular canto of the Divine Comedy in the present moment. With new episodes dropping every Monday and Wednesday, between September 2020 and September 2021, during the Covid-19 pandemic, in the seventh centenary of Dante's death, all 100 episodes were completed. They are now archived in the order of the poem itself, both as a Youtube playlist and in downloadable audio files.
The Dante Speakers Bureau is a group of trained, academically qualified speakers who volunteer their time and energies to promoting the study and appreciation of Dante Alighieri by offering talks and presentations to the general public and in pre-collegiate classrooms. The Society is committed to bringing education programs to all communities and walks of life.
If your institution or association would like to invite a member of the Dante Speakers Bureau to your school or community, please contact DSA Director of Education and Outreach Ronald Herzman (email@example.com) with a brief description of your audience and a suggested format. The Dante Society’s Education and Outreach Committee will then put you in touch with an appropriate speaker. Other than this referral service, the Dante Society does not provide financial support for this program. In any case, honoraria are neither encouraged nor expected, as this is an initiative based on volunteers in a local area.
In keeping with our increased emphasis on the teaching of Dante in pre-collegiate contexts, we began presenting examples of secondary student writing in the "Student Encounters" section of Dante Notes in June 2016. In May 2020, we expanded the scope to include readers who have encountered Dante's texts in non-traditional academic contexts, including continuing education programs. We hope that the examples we have posted will encourage additional submissions of comparable quality.
We invite teachers to encourage their current and former students to submit papers so that their work can be considered for inclusion in Dante Notes. The work can be a traditional analytic essay, a work about the student’s interaction with the text, or a creative work inspired by Dante. Submissions and inquiries may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have friends or acquaintances who teach Dante, please forward this invitation to them as well, so that we can have the broadest possible group of teachers involved in this project. If you wish to submit work on a student's behalf, we ask you to secure the student's permission to have it posted on our website.
See also the anthology of high school student essays on Dante titled Educating the Eye (I), edited by Dan Christian, retired English teacher from the Gilman School in Baltimore, and winner of the 2017 Durling Prize for excellence in teaching Dante at the secondary level. Proceeds from the sale of volume benefit the Dante Society of America and the Harry Chapin Foundation.
Dante Notes includes a section dedicated to pedagogy. Here you will find a syllabi for teaching Dante at the high school level provided by winners of Robert M. Durling Prize for excellence in teaching Dante at the pre-collegiate level (see below). Additional pedagogical materials will also be reviewed for posting. Please consider submitting yours to email@example.com.
In July 2018, we posted an essay by Sandy Wilcox, a retired teacher at Geneseo Central School, reflecting on her fifteen years of teaching Dante to high school sophomores.
In July 2017, Milton Burke published Words Unbound: Teaching Dante's Inferno in the High School Classroom (University of Arkansas Press). The full contents of the volume may be accessed via JSTOR. Copies may also be purchased from the University of Arkansas Press, Amazon, and other retailers. Burke is a retired high school English teacher in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Words Unbound draws on his thirty years of teaching experience to help educators bring Dante's Inferno alive for today’s young reader. In a conversational, "colleague-to-colleague" style, Burke shares the interpretations, questions, and exercises he found effective in his high-school classroom, emphasizing group discussion.
Teaching activities and lesson plans for Dante's Inferno from the 2015 NEH summer seminar for high school teachers led by Deborah Parker (University of Virginia) and Mark Parker (James Madison University) may be freely consulted on their seminar website: Dante’s Inferno: Influence, Adaptation, and Appropriation.
The Council of the Dante Society and the family of our late and much lamented colleague Robert M. Durling invite members and friends of the Dante Society to contribute to the "Robert M. Durling Prize" fund. This award recognizes excellence in the teaching of Dante’s life, time, and works by educators working in North American secondary schools. Read more about the prize and contribute online.