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Summer Classics in Santa Fe

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

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, and artistic works.

This summer, view enduring works of art through the lens of contrast. Whether we are considering thematic contrasts in Tolstoy’s War and Peace or Dante’s Purgatory, or aesthetic contrasts that bring drama to film noir or Georgia O’Keeffe’s art, the process of juxtaposition illuminates our world, revealing fundamental questions about human nature. Because the backgrounds of your fellow Summer Classics attendees span regions, cultures, interests, and ages, each seminar—regardless of individual focus—incorporates contrasting points of view. We are all, however, united by a collective commitment to the texts and a respect for the value of conversation.

Join the 2018 Summer Classics mailing list to receive e-notifications or a mailed brochure.

2018 Summer Classics

Week 1: July 1-6

Read the texts of Epictetus, Ellison, Melville, Austen, or Yogavasistha. Watch and critique classics of 1940s film noir. Consider the origins of calculus. Discover lessons in leadership from Western and Eastern classical traditions.

Learn more about Week 1 Seminars
Week 2: July 8-13

Read the texts of Aristotle, Orwell, Kipling, Cervantes, Faulkner, Tolstoy, Goethe, or Lucretius. Watch and critique classics of film noir from the 1950s. Consider the foundations of quantum theory.

Learn more about Week 2 Seminars
Week 3: July 15-20

Read the texts of Arendt, Dante, O’Connor, Mann, O’Keeffe, Shikibu, Conrad, or Achebe. Watch and critique classics of film noir. Consider the complex behaviors of ants.

Learn more about Week 3 Seminars

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 2018 Summer Classics brochure