Rediscovering Integral Humanism

Oxford University (Magdalen College) and Ampleforth Abbey, UK

June 28 – July 9, 2018

Applications for the Summer 2018 seminar “Rediscovering Integral Humanism” are now closed. Come back next winter for information on next year’s seminar. 

What is the purpose of higher education? Why do we pursue specialized fields of knowledge in a university environment? What is the relationship between education and freedom? How are culture and faith informed by education?

Although education produces knowledge that can further scientific and technical progress, the knowledge we gain can also be directed towards the flourishing of human persons in free societies. This summer seminar will introduce students to the relationship between higher education, authentic freedom and integral humanism. By reading authors such as Augusto del Noce, Jacob Levy, Jacques Maritain, John Cardinal Henry Newman, Jean Leclerq, and Luigi Giussani, we will ponder how an understanding of integral humanism can influence education, culture and community. By conducting this seminar in two places that have preserved classical culture—Magdalen College at Oxford University and Ampleforth Abbey—students will see living examples of the integration of learning, culture and faith. Educational institutions are important to preserve and expand knowledge, yet an education that is integrated with community life, contemplation, and culture furthers authentic and integral human freedom.

Selected Readings May Include:

Luigi Guissani, The Risk of Education

Jacques Maritain, Education at the Crossroads

John Cardinal Henry Newman, The Idea of a University

Augusto del Noce, The Crisis of Modernity

Seminar Leader:

Professor Margarita Mooney will lead this seminar. She received her B.A. in Psychology at Yale University and her Ph.D. in Sociology at Princeton University. She is currently a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary. Her research and teaching cover topics relating to philosophy of social science, sociological research methods, and human flourishing.

Guest Lecturers:

Christian Sahner, Associate Professor of Islamic History, Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Oxford. Sahner is an historian of the Middle East. He is principally interested in the transition from Late Antiquity to the Islamic Middle Ages, relations between Muslims and Christians, the history of Syria and Iran, and the history of monasticism.

Br. Samuel Burke, O.P. Before becoming a Dominican, Br. Samuel Burke was a practicing barrister and worked in the UK Parliament and US Senate. In addition to his theological studies at the Angelicum in Rome, he is teaching and researching Constitutional Law at St. John’s College, Oxford. His interests include religious freedom and the rights of conscience in Western societies.

Fr. Ian Ker has taught theology and literature at several universities in the United States and the United Kingdom, including Oxford University. He is the leading scholar on the life and thought of John Henry Newman and is the author of roughly 20 books, including influential biographies of Newman and G.K. Chesteron.

Logistics: Students will be provided with lodging, meals and train transportation from Oxford to York. We will spend 4 nights at Oxford University (Magdalen College) and 7 nights at Ampleforth Abbey. Students will be sent the readings (articles and books) in advance of the program. Students will receive a $500 travel allotment to help cover the cost of transportation to the U.K. and from/to the airport.

Format: We will host two 2-hour sessions daily. Free time will include leisure and tours of local sites. Our accommodations offer students the opportunity to voluntarily attend daily religious services, if they desire.

Registration Fee: Students accepted to the program will be asked to make a non-refundable payment of $100 to cover part of the program costs.

How to Apply: This seminar is open to advanced undergraduate students and early career graduate students (1st or 2nd year) who are interested in learning more about classical liberal arts education. Preference will be given to students from universities in the U.S. Applications from more advanced graduate students will be considered, but preference will be given to students applying to or entering graduate studies. Applicants should submit via email ( the following documents:

  • An updated CV;
  • A statement of interest that highlights: a) how this seminar will enhance your current or future studies, and b) how you are prepared to participate actively in classroom discussions and a shared residential experience with other students (maximum 750 words);
  • A letter of reference evaluating your overall academic preparation (letter can be sent directly to;
  • One academic writing sample (15-30 pages).

Application Deadline: The application process is now closed.

Questions: Please direct all questions to