Community Seminars  2016


 

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Community Seminars are special opportunities for community members to read and discuss seminal works in the same unique manner as our students. Seminars are discussion-based and small in size in order to ensure spirited dialogue. There are topics to pique every interest, and for many participants the discussion-based learning model is an entirely new experience. The seminars are open to high school aged students.


 

Upcoming Spring Seminars:


Philosophy as Pleasure:  Selected Essays of Montaigne 
The Experimental Hamlet
The Swerve:  Lucretius’s On the Nature of Things
World Order, Henry Kissinger
The Two Towers, J.R.R. Tolkien

Register Online


Full-time teachers with proof of current employment can enroll in a Community Seminar at a 50-percent discount. Community Seminars are free to 11th and 12th grade high school students (limited spaces available).


 

Philosophy as Pleasure:  Selected Essays of Montaigne

Tutor:           John Cornell
Cost:            $210.00  
Dates:          Six Seminars

Schedule

Time

Readings

Wednesday, January 27

6 pm – 8 pm

“Of Friendship, “Of the Resemblance of Children to Fathers”, and “Of Solitude”

Wednesday, February 3        

6 pm – 8 pm

“Of Conscience”, “Of Repentance”, “Of Cannibals”, “Of Idleness”, “Of Cripples”, and “Of Diversion”

Wednesday, February 10

6 pm – 8 pm

“Of Husbanding Your Will”, and “Of Physiognomy”

Wednesday, February 17

6 pm – 8 pm

“Of Vanity”

Wednesday, February 24

6 pm – 8 pm

“On Some Verses of Virgil”

Wednesday, March 2

6 pm – 8 pm

“Of Experience”

 “We must reserve a back shop all our own, entirely free, in which to establish our liberty.”    
-Montaigne (1533-92), “Of Solitude” 

Just as Socrates fetched philosophy down from the heaven and settled it in the human city, so Montaigne brought the contemplation of the soul out of the cloister and lodged it in a room of his own.  He renovated a tower of his house and turned it into a library lined with classics:  his secular cell.  There, breaking an age-old taboo, he wrote unapologetically about himself.  The result was three volumes of essays–tolerant, skeptical, humorous, wise and surprisingly intimate–that transformed the ancient quest for self-knowledge into something distinctively modern. 

This seminar will read and discuss a variety of Montaigne’s best-known essays, all illustrating his philosophic path to self-contentment. 

Recommended edition/text:  The Complete Essays: A Selection, Penguin Classics, M. A. Screech (Editor, Translator) or The Complete Essays of Montaigne, Donald M. Frame (Translator)

Register Online

Register by Phone: (505)984-6118
Register by Email:  ygruber(at)sjc.edu

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The Experimental Hamlet, Live Performance and Seminar 

Tutor:            Natalie Elliot
Cost:              $80.00 (includes a ticket to the performance)
Dates:  

Performance:  Wednesday, February 17 at 7:30pm or Saturday, February 20 at 7:30pm Peterson Student Center, Great Hall

Shakespeare not only lived and wrote during the scientific revolution of the early seventeenth century, he also explored poetically its profound philosophical and cultural consequences. In this set of seminars, which are being held in honor of the arrival of Shakespeare's Folio to Santa Fe from February 5 through 28, 2016, we will turn to Hamlet to explore how Shakespeare illuminates the beginnings of modern science on both the stage and on the page. Recommended text/edition:  Hamlet, any Shakespeare edition

Schedule

Performance

Wednesday, February 17 at 7:30pm (preferential seating)or Saturday, February 20 at 7:30pm

Attend the live production of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.  The performance will be the focus of the second half of the seminar.  Admission to the performance of your choice, based on availability, is included in the seminar fee.

   

Sunday, February 21

Readings

1pm  - 2:30pm

The text of the play as a written work will be discussed.

2:45pm – 4pm

The theatrical performance of Hamlet will be discussed.

 

Register Online

Register by Phone: (505)984-6118
Register by Email:  ygruber(at)sjc.edu

*For more information about the Shakespeare First Folio, please visit the New Mexico Art Museum.

 

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World Order, Henry Kissinger

Tutor:            J. Walter Sterling
Cost:             $175.00
Dates:           Five Seminars 

Schedule

Time

Readings

Wednesday, March 9

6:15 pm – 8:15 pm

Introduction, and Chapters 1 and 2

Wednesday, March 16        

6:15 pm – 8:15 pm

Chapters 3 and 4

Wednesday, March 23

6:15 pm – 8:15 pm

Chapters 5 and 6

Wednesday, March 30

6:15 pm – 8:15 pm

Chapters 7 and 8

Wednesday, April 6

6:15 pm – 8:15 pm

Chapter 9 and Conclusion

Widely praised, across partisan lines, Kissinger’s latest book is a remarkably concise attempt to synthesize and articulate our contemporary geo-political context, the great challenges of the age, and their deep historical and cultural roots. “It is vintage Kissinger, with his singular combination of breadth and acuity... He ranges from the Peace of Westphalia to the pace of micro processing, from Sun Tzu to Talleyrand to Twitter. He traces the Indian view of order back to the Hindu epics; the Muslim view to the campaigns of Muhammad; the European view to the carnage of the Thirty Years’ War… the Russian view to ‘the hard school of the steppe…’ This long view can help us understand issues from Vladimir Putin’s aggression to Iran’s negotiating strategy, even as it raises the difficult question of ‘how divergent historic experiences and values can be shaped into a common order’” (Hillary Clinton).  Taking its point of departure from the modern European understanding of the balance of power, the essay’s scope and horizon transcend the European and American perspectives. “It is a book that every member of Congress should be locked in a room with and forced to read before taking the oath of office” (The New York Times).

Recommended edition/text:  World Order, Penguin Press, 2014

Register Online

Register by Phone: (505)984-6118
Register by Email:  ygruber(at)sjc.edu

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The Swerve:  Lucretius’s On the Nature of Things

Tutor:          John Cornell
Cost:           $105.00
Dates:         Three Seminars

Schedule

Time

Readings

Wednesday, April 13      

6pm – 8pm

Books I and II

Wednesday, April 20

6pm – 8pm

Books III and IV

Wednesday, April 27

6pm – 8pm

Books V and VI

Cosmic creation, as described in Lucretius’s poem De rerum natura (1st c. BC), began with a physical accident–a tilt in the motion of primordial atoms that he called The Swerve.  Renaissance scholar Stephen Greenblatt recently proposed that the 1471 discovery of the poem’s only surviving copy was the “swerve” that created the modern world.  Its teaching about atoms in an infinite void inspired 16th and 17th c. thinkers, from Giordano Bruno and Montaigne to Spinoza and Isaac Newton, and set the European mind upon a whole new course.  What made this Latin poem such a philosophic windfall?  Does its interpretation of nature support its pulverizing critique of religion?  How does Lucretius make his case for the best life — the Epicurean life, remote from tumultuous Rome?  How are we to understand what he calls “the Voice of Nature”?

This seminar will read and discuss Lucretius’s seductive poem in its entirety and consider what makes the teaching of this ancient poet so uncannily contemporary.   

Recommended text/edition:  On the Nature of Things, any translation that indicates line-numbers.

Register Online

Register by Phone: (505)984-6118
Register by Email:  ygruber(at)sjc.edu

 

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The Second Volume of the Tolkien Trilogy - J.R.R.Tolkien, The Two Towers

Tutor:          Krishnan Venkatesh
Cost:            $210.00
Date:           Six Seminars 

Schedule

Time

Readings

Saturday, April 2        

10 am – 12 pm

Book 3,  Chapters 1 – 4

Saturday, April 9

10 am – 12 pm

Chapters 5 – 7

Saturday, April 16

10 am – 12 pm

Chapters 8 – 11

Saturday, April 23

10 am – 12 pm

Book 4,  Chapters 1 – 4

Saturday, April 30

10 am – 12 pm

Chapters 5 – 8

Saturday, May 7

10 am – 12 pm

Chapters 9 - 10

In our seminars on Fellowship of the Ring, Tolkien emerges for us as a writer who works through overtones and layerings that reveal themselves powerfully in discussion. The mythic power of the trilogy comes across most acutely to modern adults who feel in their bones that something vital has been lost through a series of temptations, and that there is a desperate need to restore what has gone-but what has been lost? And what is the cost of the restoration, if restoration is even possible? The Two Towers is a book about war, defeat, betrayal, and the gradual wearing down of Frodo. Gandalf is gone: Without the great guide, our protagonists are thrown back on their own resources. We will be discussing the psychological and mythic significance of the journey, but also Tolkien's narrative art-the delicate shifts and modulations of his prose, and his sense for movement through different landscapes. No writer has described more potently what it feels like to be lost and to have to find one's own way. This is a book that speaks most directly to adults who have known loss and being lost.

It is not necessary to have participated in our seminars on Fellowship of the Rings. The Two Towers will deepen the themes of the previous volume, but will also set up new beginnings and new sets of questions.

Recommended text/edition:  The Two Towers, any edition, Houghton-Mifflin one volume has all three

Register Online

Register by Phone: (505)984-6118
Register by Email:  ygruber(at)sjc.edu

 


Texts are available for purchase at the St. John’s College Bookstore. Unless otherwise noted, participants are expected to obtain the reading materials and read before the seminar.

Please call 505-984-6118 or email Yoshi Gruber to register for any of the seminars.

Cancellation policy:  refunds are available to participants who cancel at least one week prior to the first seminar meeting.

Give the gift of education. Gift certificates available.

 

 

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