Guy Raffa teaches his large-format signature course, “Dante’s Hell and Its Afterlife,” for Undergraduate Studies each spring. While studying Dante’s Inferno, students engage with responses to the poet’s enduring vision of Hell in literary, artistic, cinematic, and popular works ranging from Sandro Botticelli’s illustrations, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, T. S. Eliot’s poetry, a 1935 Hollywood movie, a video game, and Dan Brown’s thriller, Inferno. Carrying Skills & Experience Flags for writing and global cultures, this course is designed to help students become better writers and speakers while improving their critical thinking and research skills. They also benefit from an introduction to several gems of the university such as the Blanton Museum and the University Lecture Series.
The course was featured during Eyes on Teaching 2019, a two-day event allowing UT faculty to observe selected classes and discuss teaching with the instructors and one another. Provost Maurie McInnis joined the group that attended Raffa’s class. His lesson took students and visitors on an illustrated tour of the circles of gluttony, greed, and wrath in Dante’s Inferno, and included modern adaptations of the medieval poem. Provost McInnis tweeted about the course afterward, noting that the professor “connected with his students through art, digital polling, student performances and even included an Italian rap/metal music video.”