The Paideia Seminar

Paideia is a humanistic community of students from Penn, Villanova, Swarthmore, Eastern, Bryn Mawr, and Haverford and other local universities who meet monthly to explore the question, How can the Humanities humanize us? 

2018 - 2019



WHEN: January 25, 2019

TIME: 5:30 – 8:00 PM

WHERE: Sweeney Room at Fox-Fels Hall, 3814 Walnut St., University of Pennsylvania 19104

Join us for fellowship and conversation over dinner as the Paideia Seminar continues, this time hosted at Penn by the Collegium Institute on Friday, January 25, 2019 from 5:30 – 8:00PM in Fox-Fels Hall.  We will explore Amiticia in the PolisOn the Political Power of Friendship in a Polarized World.

In today’s political and cultural atmosphere there is a sense of animosity across the political spectrum, a growing sentiment that it is impossible to be friends with those whose political ideas differ from one’s own. But is this true? What does it look like to foster friendships within the realm of the political? Can friendships survive the impact of politics and actually transform the public square and culture?

We will explore these questions and more by delving into the thought of Aristotle and Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., along with taking a closer look at the current state of relationships in politics through an article examining friendship in the Age of Trump and a video that highlights the unexpected friendship of professors Robert George and Cornel West.

Please find the readings HERE.

To RSVP, please fill out a google form HERE


Who is Friendship?: Friends from Augustine to Friends

SPEAKER: Dr. Michael Tomko
WHEN: Friday, November 9th
TIME: 5:30-8:00pm
WHERE: Dundale Mansion (Picotte Hall), Villanova University, 800 E. Lancaster Ave, Villanova, PA 19085
To download the Reader click here

Villanova University will host the third gathering of the Paideia Seminar on November 9th from 5:30 – 8 PM in Picotte Hall at Dundale Mansion. 

Join us for our upcoming Paideia gathering, where we’ll be unpacking the character of friendship – what are its forms, how does it manifest itself, why is it important to cultivate it, is it necessarily good?  This form of human relationship almost takes on a life of its own, so much so that it seems appropriate to ask, who is friendship? As part of our quest to understand friendship and how it can be conducive to the common good, our texts include a final address by Dr. Michael Tomko that highlights the uniqueness of the phenomenon of friendship, an account by St. Augustine from The Confessions that speaks to some of the dangers in friendship, and a poem by Wordsworth that may bring into relief what we call the good. 


War, Friendship, and Imagination – The Impact of WWI on J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis

Join Philadelphia Commons Institute for dinner, a lecture, and discussion with Joseph Loconte.

October 11, 2018 at 7pm
Merion Tribute House
Tickets required for admission
Ticket sales have been extended until October 7th, so purchase yours today!

Joseph Loconte, PhD is an associate professor of history at The King’s College and author of New York Times’ bestseller, A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War. The 5-part documentary film series based on this book starts 11/11/18, the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. Check out these links for more information on Joseph Loconte’s book and documentary series!


Paideia returns for another year of intercollegiate dinner seminars and excursions to explore a new theme: Friendship and the Common Good. 

A crucial component of the pursuit of learning and the way we live our lives more generally is friendship. In an effort to bring light to this important facet of human life, and to recognize the deep influence this type of relationship can have on our varied paths, Paideia has set Friendship and the Common Good as its central theme. Together, we’ve explored the influence modern technology can have on the quality of time we spend with the people we care about, and the special case of the friendship between C.S. Lewis and J.R.R Tolkien.

The first session will be on September 7th, hosted by the Collegium Institute at the University of Pennsylvania. It will take place on the first floor of Fox-Fels Hall & will begin at 5:30 PM. For our first session, we will be reading enticing passages from Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age, the work of MIT professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology, Sherry Turtle. 

Please RSVP by Wednesday, September 5th to Philippe Becker at Registration is limited to seminar size.