The Phoenix Institute 2019 Notre Dame Summer Seminar for the Study of Western Institutions June 29 - July 27


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 30. 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

What is law? How is it related to morality? What is the character of legal as distinct from moral obligation? What is the relationship between legal norms and the structure of political society more generally? How should we think about legal rights and duties? These are among the most central questions of philosophical jurisprudence and have been vigorously debated by proponents of the two perennially dominant jurisprudential camps: legal positivism and natural law theory. In this course we shall investigate them through a study of the two most authoritative contemporary statements of those two perspectives: H.L.A. Hart’s 1961 book The Concept of Law and John Finnis's 1980 book Natural Law and Natural Rights.

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. William Carroll
Thomas Aquinas Fellow in Theology and Science
Oxford University, United Kingdom

Western Civilization traces its origins to ancient Greece and Rome as well as to Judaism and Christianity. This course will explore the Greco-Roman element of such combination through the works of two of its greatest representatives: Herodotus and Virgil. Herodotus, often called "the father of history," recounts the wars between the empire of Persia and the Greek city-states. As he says, he seeks to set forth the causes of the conflict and to explain how the Greeks, overwhelming outnumbered, were able to prevail. The stories Herodotus tells offer striking insights into fundamental questions about freedom, necessity, and fate in human affairs. Virgil's Aeneid is one of the great epic poems of Western Civilization.  It relates the story Imperial Rome told itself about its origins – a story that stretches back to the fall of Troy. The story discloses the values that ancient Rome celebrated and it contains insights about nature, human nature, and the divine (in this case, the Greek and Roman gods). The Aeneid is a crucial text, not only for understanding Rome, but also for the formative role it played in the thought of Augustine, Dante, Milton, and many other poets and philosophers. Learning how to read the Aeneid will serve as an introduction to learning how to read the other great epics that, with the Aeneid, constitute a kind of the poetic backbone of Western Civilization.

Dr. William E Carroll. European intellectual historian and historian of science whose research and teaching concern, among other topics, the reception of Aristotelian science in mediaeval Islam, Judaism, and Christianity; the development of the doctrine of creation ex nihilo; the appropriation of mediaeval discussions of creation and the natural sciences to contemporary science; and Galileo's Inquisition trial. Works include Creation and Science; Galileo: Science and Faith; Aquinas on Creation (with Steven E. Baldner), book chapters and numerous publications in academic journals.

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

How can works of literature draw readers beyond the horizons of mundane experience and open souls to the apprehension of transcendent meaning?  How have writers through the ages quarried the material of everyday reality, natural phenomena, and the resources of revelation, worship, and imagination to find durable symbols and compelling testimony that God's "invisible nature" can be perceived and made manifest "in the things which have been made" (Romans 1:20)?  Through the reading and study of a variety of literary works, this course engages the literary representation of fundamental tensions in human existence:  immanence and transcendence; matter and spirit; nature and grace; time and eternity; the profane and the sacred; and the here-and-now and the hereafter. With a particular emphasis on the Catholic literary renaissance, readings will include, among others, works by John Henry Newman, Oscar Wilde, J. R. R. Tolkien, Flannery O'Connor, G.K. Chesterton, Graham Greene, and Walker Percy.

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.


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.

During the 2019 Notre Dame program, the Seminar will be held between Thursday, June 27, and Saturday, June 29.

Third Year students are expected to arrive on Campus on Wednesday, June 26 (three days before the rest of the group).

The Graduation Seminar will cost $120.00 USD.


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 3,800 USD 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.

The full cost of the program's tuition fee must be covered by May 31, 2019, preferably earlier. Admission to the campus will only be possible after full prior payment of the tuition fee.

A 300 USD non-refundable initial payment will be needed for registration.

Enrollment to both Summer Programs is limited.

General registration will open on Monday, November 5, 2018, and will remain open through May 2019. 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 first step to apply is by filling out the pre-registration form.


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 27, 2019, will not be admitted to the summer program.


Apply to our Summer Programs.