Summer Classics in Santa Fe

Summer Classics 2020: Wanderlust

SEMINAR DATES: July 5-10 | July 12-17 | July 19-24

Summer Classics at St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico is your chance to explore the perplexing, the rousing, and the compelling. Every summer, people from across the country—varying widely in age, academic and professional backgrounds—gather in small seminars on the Santa Fe campus to read and discuss timeless literary, philosophical, scientific, and artistic works.

As St. John’s commemorates 30 years of the Summer Classics program, we invite you to join us for the 2020 session. This year’s theme, “Wanderlust,” provides points of departure for the exploration of enduring works of art, literature, music, philosophy, political theory, cinema, and science, among others—as well as the chance to reflect on the ongoing odyssey that is lifelong learning.

By engaging in discussions that span countries and centuries, we chart journeys in realms both literal and metaphorical: Dante and Beatrice as they move through a succession of heavenly spheres; the passionate European sojourn of Mr. Strether in Henry James’s The Ambassadors; the merging of inner and outer quests reflected in 17th-century Japanese poet Basho’s travel journals; and the discovery of galaxies beyond the Milky Way through the work of cosmologists Henrietta Leavitt and Edwin Hubble.

To keep up to date, join the 2020 Summer Classics mailing list to receive e-notifications or a mailed brochure.

The Summer Classics Seminar

A Summer Classics seminar is not a lecture, nor is it a book club. At St. John’s, seminars are lively, in-depth, highly participatory conversations on the reading at hand. Discussions begin with an opening question presented by a tutor, but can take on a myriad of dimensions. Everyone contributes in some way to the conversation, bringing ideas to the table whether they have expertise in the topic or not. Listening is just as important as speaking. No previous knowledge of the author, text or subject is required; participants should refer only to works the group studies together. Conversations are not debates. Challenging others’ ideas or offering alternative thinking is encouraged. These week-long seminars take place in July, and are limited to 18 participants each. Groups are led by two members of the St. John’s College faculty, called tutors. Tuition covers one seminar in a given week. However, participants are welcome to register for a class in both the morning as well as the afternoon sessions. They are also welcome to register for more than one week of seminars.

Summer Classics is an adult education program. Persons under the age of 18 may participate, but a parent or guardian must accompany minors in both the classroom and associated program activities. For persons under the age of 18 who would like to participate in a St. John’s seminar, we invite you to explore our Summer Academy.

When not reading or in class, participants will have time to explore the vibrancy of historic Santa Fe.

View the 2020 Summer Classics brochure


Spend Your Summer Vacation at Summer Classics

The Summer Classics program is recommended by Arthur Frommer as “among the finest summer vacations that you might ever enjoy.”