Events and Programs
Saturday Seminars 2013
Experience the great books educational program at St. John’s College–by participating in a Saturday Seminar sponsored by the Friends of St. John’s College. These seminars attract about 200 participants from varied ages and walks of life, who gather for coffee and donuts before joining groups of 18-20 for one of a dozen seminars.
St. John’s faculty members, called tutors, choose the readings–classic works drawn from the St. John’s program–and will conduct seminars on each. Choose one of the topics listed, read the assigned text in advance, and then join with others on seminar day in a discussion of the work. No previous knowledge of the subject or author is required. No outside research on the topic is expected. Seminar participants are responsible for their own text.
Register online for the February 2013 Saturday Seminars, or use the paper registration form. Seminars will be filled first-come, first-served. Early registration is recommended. There is a registration fee of $40 per person for each seminar. All registrations must be accompanied by payments to hold your space. To register by mail, please complete and return this registration form with credit card information or a check payable to St. John’s College to Saturday Seminars, Community Programs Office, St. John’s College, P.O. Box 2800, Annapolis, MD 21404. Phone registrations will not be accepted until after February 1. For questions contact Alice Chambers in Community Programs at email@example.com or 410 295-5544.
SCHEDULE FOR THE DAY
Saturday, February 16, 2013 (snow date Saturday Feb 23, 2013)
9:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. Registration and continental breakfast
Francis Scott Key Lobby, Mellon Hall
9:30- 10:00 a.m. Tutor David Townsend: Introduction to a St. John’s Seminar
Conversation Room, Mellon Hall
10:15 - 11:45a.m.
Seminars in Mellon Hall classrooms. Room assignments given on check-in.
For directions around campus, please see our campus map.
Saturday Seminars Offerings and Tutors for February 16, 2013 (snow date February 23)
If there is no preferred edition listed, you may use any unabridged edition of the work cited.
Conrad, The Secret Sharer
Tutor: Lise Van Boxel
What do you do if you neither know nor trust yourself, and yet you must command others who similarly do not know or trust you? This is the situation that faces the unnamed narrator and Ship's Captain in Joseph Conrad's masterful novella The Secret Sharer. Although this Captain describes himself as "a stranger on the ship" and “a stranger” to himself, he claims to recognize a "second self" in a naked swimmer whom he rescues from the sea and from those pursuing him. How can one recognize a second self when one does not know one's primary self? If one can truly do this, what effect will such an encounter have on one's self-knowledge? Conrad’s novella reveals a lot about self-discovery, self-knowledge, and self-deception.
Faulkner, “Pantaloon in Black”
Tutor: Michael Dink
"Pantaloon in Black" is one of seven stories included in the collection called Go Down Moses, which Faulkner regarded as constituting a novel. All the stories are in some way connected with the many generations of the McCaslin family from its pre Civil War slaveholding days into the 20th century. This story concerns a free black tenant of the McCaslin family, whose fierce grieving at the death of his young wife plays itself out to a tragic end.
Galileo, Sidereus Nuncius (or Starry Messenger)
Tutor: Sarah Benson
In this work from 1610, Galileo reports the news from the stars: his early telescopic observations of the moon, Jupiter's satellites, and stars that could not be seen from earth with the naked eye. The report is visual as well as textual; for the first time naturalistic portraits of the moon join diagrams of ancient and medieval astronomy. Thus, Galileo not only presents new information in this work, but changes the criteria for what counted as information. By making the invisible visible, Galileo's Sidereus Nuncius raises questions about human perception as the basis of scientific knowledge, the mediation of vision by optical devices, and the status of images in scientific reporting.
Preferred edition: University of Chicago Press, 1989, translated by Albert van Helden, pp. 25-86
Joan of Arc, Joan of Arc: In her own words [CLOSED]
Tutor: Michael Grenke
Through selected excerpts from transcripts of her trials and her letters, the reading offers a window into the remarkable life and mind of Joan of Arc. Her own words are often touching, charming, provoking, and even profound. This is an intimate glimpse into the famous saint, martyr, and heroine.
Preferred edition: Turtle Point Press, 2004
Joyce, “The Dead”
Tutor: Louis Petrich
James Joyce's "The Dead," is the final and best story of his collection Dubliners.The main characters are Gabriel Conroy and his wife, Gretta Conroy, who attend an annual party given by Gabriel's spinster aunts, Kate and Julia Morkan around the time of the Feast of the Epiphany in Dublin, 1904. Gretta is reminded by a song she hears at the party of a deceased boy, Michael Furey, who loved her long ago and may have died by traveling sick in the rain, to see her before she went off to a convent. Her tearful recounting of her past makes Gabriel wonder, painfully and honestly, about the presence of the dead among the living and the power of the past operating as a cause of human character and action.
Tutor: William Pastille
Phaedrus is one of Plato's most beautiful and profound dialogues. Socrates and Phaedrus are ostensibly discussing the topics of love, rhetoric, philosophy and writing; but they keep circling around the question, "What is the best way to live one's life?"
Tanizaki, In Praise of Shadows
Tutor: Debbie Axelrod
This short Japanese essay by a famed novelist takes hold of a minimalist aspect of the Japanese perspective to reveal its beauty and depth. When the visible world presents itself to us in clean lines and in shades of black, white, and grey, it invites us to enter a world that is clear and mysterious at the same time.
Tolstoy Master and Man
Tutor: Anita Kronsberg
A beautiful tale among Tolstoy's late writings, Master and Man is the story of two men who lose their way in a blizzard, and the effect this circumstance has on each and on the relation between them.
Williams, The Glass Menagerie
Tutor: David Townsend
Tennessee Williams' lyrically gorgeous play depicts the struggle of the Wingfield family to endure hard times. The father having abandoned his wife, Amanda, and their two children, Tom and Laura, six years before, Amanda lives with the now-adult children in a dingy apartment in a dim overcrowded neighborhood. Tom works at a menial job to support his sister and mother. Laura spends her time with her menagerie of tiny glass animals and replaying her absent father's phonograph records. Amanda is determined to have Laura marry an acceptable "gentleman caller," and Tom is often at the movies, trying to harmonize his love for his family with his need for creative work and adventure. The play is a "memory play", which begins with Tom telling the family's history, and ends with the audience discovering what will change them forever.