COMMUNITY SEMINAR

THOREAU COLLEGE COMMUNITY SEMINAR

 

The Thoreau College Community Seminar is an ongoing invitation to join in an open, engaging, and egalitarian conversation about important texts and universal ideas. Inspired by the Great Books Seminar model of higher education and Henry David Thoreau’s visionary dream of “villages as universities”, the Community Seminar is open to Thoreau College students, fellows, and faculty and to members of our wider local community of all ages. All that is required is a willingness to read carefully and to engage in thoughtful discussion with respect for fellow participants, a sincere desire to understand the authors and their ideas with openness and good will, and reverence for the truth. 

Thoreau College Community Seminar - 2022-2023

PROPHETS and PROPHECIES

Thoreau College Community Seminar – 2022-2023

Facilitated by Jacob Hundt and Annie Kelley

 

The Thoreau College Community Seminar is an ongoing invitation to join in an open, engaging, and egalitarian conversation about important texts and universal ideas.  Inspired by the Great Books Seminar model of higher education and Henry David Thoreau’s visionary dream of “villages as universities”, the Community Seminar is open to Thoreau College students, fellows, and faculty and to members of our wider local community of all ages.  All that is required is a willingness to read carefully and to engage in thoughtful discussion with respect for fellow participants, a sincere desire to understand the authors and their ideas with openness and good will, and reverence for the truth. 

 

Contact Jacob Hundt at jacobhundt@thoreaucollege.org or call 608-632-3829 to join.

 

2022-2023 Theme:  PROPHETS AND PROPHECIES.  

 

Human beings thrive in a very narrow world. We expect a life in which things make sense without making too much sense; where time shuffles forward with the future chastly covered, and the divine remains politely just out of reach. Usually, it is so. Sometimes, though, the divine decides to show somebody something the rest of us can’t see. These people become prophets. And then what do they do?

 

Old testament types die on seeing the face of God. MacBeth goes mad. Oedipus stabs out his eyes. The transcendentalists, inadvertently and posthumously, found Thoreau College. Throughout history, prophets and their prophecies have proved a wellspring of narrative, poetry, philosophy, and tragedy. 

 

However, these special few are not the only ones who sometimes trip and find themselves with a leg down the gopher hole that is the future. While few of us are prophets, almost all of us, at some point or another, contend, with the unexpected, the strange, the divine, and the horrible. We all see things we shouldn’t have. And then what do we do? 

 

This seminar presupposes that careful study will allow us to find a solution that does not involve marrying our mothers.

 

Schedule:   One Session Per Week – Thursdays – 3:30-5:00

Location: Thoreau College Campus – 224 E Highway 56

How to Join: New participants are welcome at any time.  Free will contribution + cost of books

Contact jacobhundt@thoreaucollege.org

 

November 10: Sophocles, “Oedipus Rex”

November 17: Sophocles, “Oedipus Rex”

 

(Thanksgiving Break)

 

December 1: William Shakespeare, “MacBeth”

December 8: Martin Buber, Ecstatic Confessions

December 15: Martin Buber, Ecstatic Confessions

 

(Holiday Break)

 

January 5: John G. Neihardt, Black Elk Speaks 

January 12: John G. Neihardt, Black Elk Speaks 

 

January 19: M.C. Richards, Centering: In Pottery, Poetry, and the Person

January 26: M.C. Richards, Centering: In Pottery, Poetry, and the Person

 

(Thoreau College Winter Expedition:

 

February 9: Selected Poets

February 16: Dante Aligheri, Inferno, Cantos I-XI

February 23: Dante Aligheri, Inferno, Cantos XII-XXII

March 2: Dante Aligheri, Inferno, Cantos XXIII-XXXIV

 

(Thoreau College Solo Week)

 

March 16: Dante Aligheri, Purgatorio, Cantos I-XI

March 23: Dante Aligheri, Purgatorio, Cantos XII-XXII

March 30: Dante Aligheri, Purgatorio, Cantos XXIII-XXXIII

 

(Spring Break)

 

April 13: Dante Alighieri, Paradiso, Cantos I-XI

April 20: Dante Aligheri, Paradiso, Cantos XII-XXII

April 27: Dante Aligheri, Paradiso, Cantos XXIII-XXXIII

 

(Thoreau College Spring Expedition)

 

May 11-June 8 – TBD

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Texts:  

Ecstatic Confessions $18.55

Black Elk Speaks $20.41

Centering: $22.95

The Divine Comedy: $19.53

Photocopied Texts: $10 (Sophocles, Shakespeare, Poets)


TOTAL: $91.44

Spring Quarter (March 22 - June 2, 2022): Future Visions of Nature and Humankind

Science and science fiction explorations of bioethics, social organization, and the future development of humanity and nature on Earth from writers of diverse backgrounds and orientations.

 

Some Possible Texts:

  • Wendell Berry, Life is a Miracle
  • Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
  • Octavia Butler, Parable of the Sower
  • Ayn Rand, Anthem
  • Donna Haraway, Staying with the Trouble
  • Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, The Mushroom at the End of the World
  • Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake
  • Starhawk, The Fifth Sacred Thing
  • Paul Kingsnorth, Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist
  • Nnedi Okorafor, Lagoon

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Winter Quarter (January 4 - March 10, 2022): The Individual

Philosophical and literary explorations of the moral and existential challenges and opportunities faced by individuals in the context of society.

January 4: Sophocles, Antigone

January 6: Sophocles, Antigone

 

January 11: Immanuel Kant, What is Enlightenment?

January 13: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

 

January 19: Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra (Excerpts)

January 21: Fyodor Doesteovsky, “The Grand Inquisitor” (from The Brothers Karamazov)

 

(TC Expedition)

 

February 1: Martin Buber, I and Thou

February 3: Martin Buber, I and Thou

February 8: Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace

February 10: Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace

 

(Thoreau College Road Trip – 2 weeks)

 

March 1: Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man

March 3: Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man

March 8: Rudolf Steiner, The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity (Excerpt)

March 10: Rudolf Steiner, The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity (Excerpt)

 

(End of Winter Quarter)

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        Fall Quarter (October 5 - December 9) 2021: Origins and Essences

        During the fall quarter of 2021, the Thoreau College Community Seminar will delve into the most ancient and profound texts of world civilization.  These are the primordial accounts of the origins of the universe, of human beings, and of human cultures and peoples that have been passed down in oral traditions for centuries until eventually recorded in writing, to be passed down for centuries more, forming the foundation stones of the world’s great civilizations and cultures.

        Fall Quarter Texts:

        • October 5: The Epic of Gilgamesh
        • October 7: The Epic of Gilgamesh
        • October 12: Hesiod, Theogony
        • October 14: Snorri Sturluson, Prose Edda

        (TC Expedition)

        • October 26: Popol Vuh
        • October 28: Popol Vuh
        • November 2: The Book of Genesis
        • November 4: The Book of Genesis
        • November 9: Plato, Timaeus
        • November 11: Plato, Timaeus
        • November 16: Bhagavad Gita
        • November 18: Bhagavad Gita

        (Thanksgiving Break)

        • November 30: Lucretius, De rerum natura (On the Nature of Things)
        • December 2: Lucretius, De rerum natura (On the Nature of Things)
        • Dec 7: Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
        • Dec 9: Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

        (End of Fall Quarter)

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