Piraeus Alumni Seminars

June 8-11, 2017, in both Annapolis and Santa Fe 

The ancient port of Athens, the Piraeus, is a lively juncture of departures and homecomings. As in the days of Socrates, it represents the pulse-point of the community. A reunion, a chance encounter, a new beginning, an opportunity for renewal and reconnection — all these possibilities exist at the Piraeus.

At Piraeus, St. John’s College welcomes alumni back to the seminar table. Held on both campuses and led by tutors, Piraeus seminars provide an opportunity to relive the rigorous classroom experience over the course of a leisurely weekend. Named for the port city that served Athens, Piraeus brings alumni from all career paths and geographical areas back to their educational roots. Said Thucydides of ancient Piraeus, "From all the lands, everything enters.” In that spirit, we invite you to bring your voice back to the seminar table and share in the reflection, discussion, and community that Piraeus offers.

All fees are due at the time of registration. Recent alumni (those who graduated in the classes of 2007 and later) may receive a discount on tuition for any session as noted below. Please note the cancellation and refund policies below. The schedule and a list of suggested editions of seminar texts is available here. Please note that the tutors leading the Persuasion and Joyce seminars recommend specific editions of those texts.

Click here to register now, or click here for the schedule and information on the texts.

If you have any questions, please contact the Alumni Office at 505-984-6114 or alumni@sjc.edu.


Seminars in Annapolis (June 8-11, 2017)

The Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins
led by Zena Hitz A95 and Eric Salem A77

Victorian poet Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote intricate, tightly wrought poems about nature and the beauty of nature, death, decay, and despair, human work and human failing, and what it means to be directed to God.  We will discuss a small selection of his poems in detail over four seminars, and will consider what role his distinctive use of rhythm plays in his poetry.

The Aeneid by Vergil
led by Tom May and David Townsend

“Sunt lacrimae rerum…there are tears here and mortal things touch the heart” (Aeneid I.462)

Vergil’s account of the wandering of Aeneas and his band of refugees charged with founding a new city of unparalleled destiny is perhaps the greatest of the classical epics. Its itinerary of love and loss, of humanity and brutality, of duty and fame moves its readers to a renewed sense of the dimensions and capacity of the human heart.
This seminar is full; please contact the Alumni Office if you'd like to be placed on the waiting list.

Persuasion by Jane Austen
led by Eva Brann H89 and Erica Beall A07

“'My idea of good company...is the company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company.'
'You are mistaken,' said he gently, 'that is not good company, that is the best.'”
― Jane Austen, Persuasion

Persuasion is, of Jane Austen’s perfect six novels, the last, the most feeling-fraught, and the one with the oldest heroine. Anne Elliot “had been forced into prudence in her youth, she learned romance as she grew older – the natural sequel of an unnatural beginning.” It is both coldly comical (“Sir Walter Elliot…was a man who, for his own amusement, never took up any book but the Baronage”) and warmly affectionate (“Anne was tenderness itself”). It is not Jane Austen’s most popular book, but it is the most beloved by those who have discovered it.
This seminar is full; please contact the Alumni Office if you'd like to be placed on the waiting list.

Seminars in Santa Fe (June 8-11, 2017) 

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
led by Grant Franks A77 and Maggie McGuinness

“I will tell you what I will do and what I will not do. I will not serve that in which I no longer believe, whether it calls itself my home, my fatherland, or my church: and I will try to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can, using for my defense the only arms I allow myself to use -- silence, exile, and cunning.”

― James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

In this landmark book, published in 1916, Joyce tells the story of his own alter-ego as he moves from a classic opening — “Once upon a time …” — to the artist’s defiant resolution to “forge in the smithy of [his] soul the uncreated conscience of [his] race.”  It is a journey that grows from baby talk to lyric poetry and moves from the streets of Dublin through the depths of Hell to a quayside, looking across the Irish Sea to England, France and an uncertain future.

Selected Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges
led by Michael Wolfe SF94

“I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.” — Borges

The stories of Jorge Luis Borges are compact, rich enigmas that infect and permeate readers’ minds. Borges’ stories are simultaneously fiction and philosophy—or a mode of doing philosophy that only literature could enable. The themes in these stories—idealism, imaginary worlds and multiverses, artificially created languages, the riddle of time, and questions of chance and teleology—play out in imaginative and visionary dramas. We shall read Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius, The Circular Ruins, The Library of Babel, The Garden of Forking Paths, and Death and the Compass.



Registration Details: Cancellation and Refund Policies

Tuition: $655 (includes seminars, opening and closing receptions, breakfasts and lunches, and Saturday night social gathering). Recent graduates from the classes of 2007-2016 may receive a discounted rate of $475.

On-campus housing with meals in the Dining Hall: $180 for three nights, June 8, 9, and 10. Housing without meals available on June 7 and 11 for an additional $60 per night (please contact the Alumni Office directly to sign up for these extra nights). Accommodations are in the dormitories and are spartan but comfortable; linens are provided. We will do our best to honor roommate requests but cannot guarantee such arrangements.

Payment and refund policy: Payment is due in full at the time of registration. If a class is full, we may start a waiting list on a first-come, first-served basis, but we cannot guarantee a seat will become available. A full refund will be issued upon request before May 29, 2017. No refunds will be issued after May 30, 2017.

The schedule is available here.

If you have any questions, please contact the Alumni Office at 505-984-6114 or alumni@sjc.edu.

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