Our Seminars / 2021 Notre Dame

The Phoenix Institute 2021 Notre Dame Summer Seminar for the Study of Western Institutions

JUNE 26, 2021 – JULY 24, 2021**

(**) COVID-19 UPDATE. The Phoenix Institute is closely monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19). As of now, our partners have agreed to continue with our summer programs will run as scheduled. Nevertheless, a change in this situation can happen anytime now. This decision will be reviewed once again in collaboration with our hosting institutions on February 2021. For questions contact summer.seminars@thephoenixinstitute.org


The Opening Seminar is designed to provide a proper introduction to the summer course as a whole. Students will meet their professors, classmates, and coordinators; review the calendar of curricular and extra-curricular activities; learn all they need to know about life at Notre Dame; etc. The Seminar will take place on the morning of Sunday, June 27, 2021. Participation in the Opening Seminar is compulsory for all students.


Participants will pick two out of the following three courses.


Dr. V. Bradley Lewis
Associate Professor, School of Philosophy
Catholic University of America, USA

Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America (2 volumes, 1835, 1840) has been described as the greatest book ever written on democracy and the greatest book ever written on America. In it, Tocqueville perceives nearly all of the important issues related to modern liberal democracies and contextualizes them in his interpretation of the American experience. The book was written to convince Europeans that democracy was inevitable and to prepare them for it, so that the transition might be peaceful, moderate and just. Among the issues treated are the rule of law, the relationship between church and state, the activities of civil associations and local government, and the importance of culture and institutions in political life. This course will take Tocqueville’s book as its text in order to develop Tocquevillian themes related to politics and society today.

Dr. Bradley Lewis. Ph.D. Government and International Studies, University of Notre Dame. M.A., Government and International Studies, University of Notre Dame. B.A., Government and Politics, University of Maryland. Associate Professor at the School of Philosophy of The Catholic University of America. Associate Editor of The American Journal of Jurisprudence.

Dr. Clinton Brand
Associate Professor & Chair of English
University of St. Thomas, Houston, USA

What do ancient myth-making and medieval cosmology have to do with modern science fiction and stories of space travel and alien civilizations? Well, quite a lot, if you are to appreciate the Space Trilogy of C. S. Lewis. Though not as well known or widely read as his popular Chronicles of Narnia, or the fantasy fiction of his friend J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, Lewis’s Space Trilogy ranks as one of the most probing accomplishments of twentieth-century speculative and mythopoeic fiction with antecedents in the world-making imaginations of Dante and Milton. These three novels (Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength) also offer an intriguing survey of the range and variety of Lewis’s intellectual vitality as a writer, story teller, literary critic, moral philosopher, and Christian apologist. In this class, we will explore Lewis’s Space Trilogy in relation to his study of the integrated worldview of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, as outlined in The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature, as well as in the context of his pioneering work of moral and educational philosophy, The Abolition of Man. Then we will voyage to Mars in the narrative of Out of the Silent Planet, before another space flight to Venus in Perelandra. Finally, we come back to Earth in That Hideous Strength for Lewis’s dystopian tale of a world beset by scientific materialism and resurgent gnosticism and a novel that offers a searching critique of social engineering and the quest for human perfectibility. Along the way, we will discuss a number of philosophical problems and theological mysteries, including the relationships between language and reality, metaphysics and ethics, fall and redemption, nature and grace, incarnation and atonement, flesh and spirit, sin and charity, morality and politics, science and imagination, among others. The Space Trilogy will take us from the “outer space” of modern science fiction to the “Deep Heaven” of classical and medieval cosmology and then to “this pendent world,” the Earth, as the scene for a drama of academic intrigue and eschatological warfare.

Dr. Clinton Brand. Ph.D., English, Vanderbilt University. M.A. English, Vanderbilt University. B.A., English, University of Dallas. Associate Professor & Chair at the English Department of the University of St. Thomas.

Dr. Diego I. Rosales
Professor, Philosophy
Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, Mexico

Love is the most important question a person has to face in his existence. Even if not everyone addresses it in a theoretical way —searching for the essence of love or looking for its precise definition–, sooner or later we all have to address the question in an existential way: “What or who should I love?” and “How should I love it?” Throughout history, many philosophers have dedicated some of their most relevant thoughts to answer the questions of what love is and why is it so important for the manifestation and development of the human person. Among the philosophers of Ancient Greece many can be found -Heraclitus, Socrates, Plato or Plotinus- who considered these as the most important questions a philosopher can ask. But Ancient Greece is not the only place where important philosophical, theological, and literary reflections about love can be found. In the Song of Songs, the Jewish tradition offers us one of the most beautiful books ever written about the different facets of love: love as an erotic relation between two human beings, but also as a quest for the searching of God. There are also contemporary Jewish philosophers that have treated this question in depth such as Franz Rosenzweig, Martin Buber or Emmanuel Levinas. In Christianity, the Gospel itself is one of the most beautiful love stories ever told, but there is also a great Christian literary and philosophical tradition that places love at the core of its reflections: Saint Augustine, Saint John of the Cross, or Søren Kierkegaard, just to mention three great classics. After a general introduction to love and its manifestations through works of literature, this course will explore the main insights that the above-mentioned traditions provide on the matter. Reading materials will include texts from Plato, St. Augustine, St. John of the Cross, and Emmanuel Levinas, as well as literary works from W. Shakespeare, C. Peguy, and T.S. Eliot, among others.

Dr. Diego I. Rosales. Ph.D. Philosophy, Comillas Pontifical University of Madrid, Spain. M.A. Philosophy, National Autonomous University of Mexico. B.A. Philosophy, Panamerican University, Mexico. Chair of Contemporary Thought at the School of Humanities of the Technological Institute of Monterrey, Mexico. Level I member of the Researchers National System (SNI, Mexico). Correspondent member of the la plate-form ALPHA at the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium.


The Gerhart Niemeyer Graduation Seminar is the academic activity through which Phoenix senior students (Third Year) complete the Institute’s Program in Advanced Social, Economic, and Political Studies.
Third Year students are expected to arrive on campus on Wednesday, June 23, three days before the rest of the group.
The Graduation Seminar will cost $120.00 USD (TBC).


The Seminar will be held in the University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana. The University is about two hours by car from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and about 90 minutes from Midway International Airport. Coach USA maintains a bus shuttle several times daily between campus and both Chicago O’Hare and Chicago Midway airports. The South Shore Line trains run directly from the Chicago Loop (corner of Michigan and Randolph) to South Bend Regional Airport in South Bend (about a two-hour trip). From the South Bend airport, the Notre Dame campus is approximately a 15-minute ride by car.


The cost of the program is 4,150 USD (TBC) and it includes the full tuition fee, double/triple-occupancy accommodations in non air-conditioned rooms, 20-Meal Plan, and the fees for the use of all the libraries and recreational facilities available on the Notre Dame campus.

  • A 300 USD non-refundable initial payment will be needed for registration 72 hours after a student is notified of their acceptance to the summer program.
  • Enrollment to both Summer Programs is limited.
  • General registration will remain open until May, 2021 (TBC).
  • All applications will be processed on a first-come, first serve-basis. Due to high demand, students are encouraged to apply as early as possible.
  • The full cost of the program’s tuition fee must be covered prior to the beginning of the summer program.
  • The first step to apply is by filling out the Pre-Registration form that can be found here.

Click here for the full description of the 2021 Admission Procedure.


The University of Notre Dame will not require foreign students to get a student visa in order to participate in our summer programs (a regular B2 visa will suffice).


Because of the high cost of medical treatment in the United States, all students must purchase a medical insurance policy prior to arrival at the University of Notre Dame. The Phoenix Institute cannot provide for any medical care or medical costs and insurance coverage.
Participants who have not sent the Phoenix Institute written proof of their medical insurance coverage by June 2021 (TBC), will not be admitted to the summer program.


For first-year and second-year students

  • Arrival at ND campus: Saturday, June 26
  • Opening Seminar: Sunday, June 27
  • First day of classes: Monday, June 28
  • Last day of classes: Friday, July 23
  • Last day at ND campus: Saturday, July 24 (by midday)

For third-year students

  • Arrival at ND campus: Wednesday, June 23
  • Gerhart Niemeyer Graduation Seminar: Wednesday, June 24 – Saturday, June 26
  • Opening Seminar: Sunday, June 27
  • First day of classes: Monday, June 28
  • Last day of classes: Friday, July 23
  • Last day at ND campus: Saturday, July 24 (by midday)