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St. John’s College Summer Academy

2023 session dates and themes are now available! Our application will open in early December.

On-Campus Sessions 2023

Sessions are hosted on both St. John’s campus locations, in Annapolis, MD and Santa Fe, NM, and online. Scroll through our ten different sessions happening June–August 2023.

Santa Fe

Beginnings: Inquiring into the Origins of Politics, Poetry, and Mathematics

July 9–15 | What are the origins of human society, language, and knowledge? Through classical works of history, philosophy, religion, mathematics, and poetry, we will explore the idea of the beginning.

Beginnings Session
Technology & Transcendence: Scientific Ambition and the Human Condition

July 16–22 | Should there be limits to the pursuit of technology? We’ll read texts, study films, and perform astronomical observation, pivoting on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (subtitled “the modern Prometheus”), and culminating in Ridley Scott’s masterpiece, Blade Runner.

Technology & Trascendence Session
Art & Nature: Intersection of Imagination and Ingenuity

July 23–29 | What are the true powers of art? Does art “imitate nature”, as Aristotle claimed, or, at its peak, does it express forms of life, creativity, and individual expression that transcend the world as given to us by nature? We shall explore these questions directly in the seminar, and indirectly through careful reflection on works of poetry, painting, and photography.

Art & Nature Session

Annapolis

Sight & Insight: Seeing and knowing in literature, philosophy, and geometry

June 25–July 1 | We say “I see,” when we mean, “I know, I understand.” How much is knowing like seeing? What can we know merely by looking? What does it mean to have true insight beyond the visible world? And what do the wise fail to see even when they try their utmost? We will explore these questions through readings and elementary theorems in geometry.

Sight & Insight Session
Justice, Nature, & Law: From the politics of society to the rules of the natural world

July 2–8 | In what sense does nature have laws? In what sense can human laws be by nature? We will read Sophocles’ Antigone and Plato’s Republic to think about the relationship of nature and justice to the laws of the city. We will also read Pascal’s treatises on pressure to consider force and counterforce in nature and the lawful relationship between them.

Justice, Nature, & Law Session
Hidden Powers: Uncovering forces in Shakespeare, poetry, and physics

July 9–15 | What forces are apparent to all, and what active forces are hidden from us? How do we bring them to light and understand them in speech? Should we try to control them or explore them? There are hidden forces in nature, politics, and the soul. We will explore them through readings and in the laboratory.

Hidden Powers Session

Online Sessions 2023

Plato’s Dialogues: Excerpts from the Meno, the Apology, and the Republic

June 19–23

More About Online Sessions
Shakespeare’s As You Like It & select sonnets

June 26–30

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Speeches on American Democracy: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King Jr.

July 31–August 4

More About Online Sessions
Poetry by American Women: Emily Dickinson, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Rita Dove

August 7–11

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What is the Great Books Reading Program?

We take great pride in our great books curriculum, which was adopted in 1937. The tradition of all students reading fundamental texts of Western civilization is the foundation of our education. Our Great Books Reading List includes classic works by Homer, Plato, Aristotle, Cervantes and more.

Our goal with the Summer Academy is to introduce high school students to the world of critical thinking and discussion while reading great books in subjects like philosophy, literature, psychology, history, religion, economics, science, astronomy, language, and more.

 

Summer Classics for Adults in Santa Fe

Spend a week of your summer among fellow lovers of intellectual inquiry examining great works, either in Santa Fe or online! Our 40 seminar offerings are lively, in-depth, and highly participatory conversations on enduring works that span fiction and nonfiction, math and science, poetry and philosophy, as well as visual, cinematic, and performing arts.

More about SUMMER CLASSICS