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A Contemplation of Power
The 2023 National Conference is sold out. Virtual Options and Pre-Conference Registration are available!
July 12
- July 15, 2023
Hilton Denver City Center

Even though the conference has sold out, you can still attend virtually!


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Between 1918 and 1945 the world discovered what people with power are willing to do with it. When we think of that era, we think of victims in concentration camps and bombs dropped on cities, but for power to be abused on such a scale it had first to be abused personally. It had to begin in the schools.

Conventional education no longer even pretends to be about wisdom and virtue, which it finds cute and a little embarrassing. Rather, it concerns itself with knowledge and power – or, at least, power. As a result, never have so many had so much power over so little, and never have so few had so much power over so much.

Christians can feel helpless in such a context, like the 10 spies who admitted that Canaan offered a land flowing with milk and honey, but were frightened because there were giants in the land. And what, after all, is a giant but a man of unimaginable and deeply threatening power?

The 2023 CiRCE conference is a contemplation of power:

What is power? What is its nature? Its purpose? Its place? What kinds of power are there? Should we seek it? When and why?

Power is always present. It permeates existence. Without it, we are weak and useless. With it we are mighty and dangerous.

A multitude of questions arise:

Is God power? What is the relation between His love and His power? What does God use His power to do? What should we do with ours?

What about education? What does education have the power to do? Is its power only good? Should we seek to teach with power? What kind? If so, how do we get it?

To think carefully about power is to risk falling with Alice down the rabbit hole.

To acquire wisdom, we need to contemplate power in the light of Christ the Logos. Only He can bring order to the chaos and understanding to the confusion over power that permeates our age.

When He ascended into heaven, Our Lord said, “All power is given to me in heaven and on earth.”

Here is the perfect blending of the theological and the practical! Clearly, power is a theological matter. If we misunderstand power, we misunderstand God and vice versa. When we misunderstand God, we misunderstand everything.

Metaphysics, concerned with first principles of being and change, is a study in power. Politics concerns itself with power in human society. Can we discover a wise use of politics? Must we see power in opposition to sound ethics, as the claim that power corrupts would seem to imply? Do the natural sciences concern themselves with anything other than power? If so, what and why? What does language empower us to do? When we teach and when we learn, can we embody sound principles of power?

We argue that Christ the Logos empowers us to think wisely about philosophy, politics, ethics, science, thought, teaching, and learning.

Will you contemplate with us?

The Pre-Conferences

The 2023 Pre-conference has a brand new format. For the first time you can pick a pre-conference track!

Mimetic Teaching with Andrea Lipinski

 Mimetic instruction, along with Socratic instruction, is one of the two modes of classical teaching that every classical educator should strive to master. Mimetic instruction guides students to contemplate types in order to understand ideas in concrete (embodied) form. This enables students to understand an idea or truth and then to apply it.

Socratic Teaching with Dr. Matthew Bianco

Socratic teaching is one of the hallmarks of classical education. The classical teacher teaches Socratically. We read books and attend workshops on Socratic teaching as part of our training to make that happen. What is Socratic teaching, though? How do you do it? How do you do it well? How do you assess it? Does it look different between a single teacher and a single student than it does between a teacher and a classroom of students?

“How to Build a Classical . . . ” with Andrew Kern

As the classical renewal has grown, many homes and schools are starting or thinking about starting a classical school, home school, or co-op. Others are contemplating or attempting to transition from other modes to a classical mode. Still more are striving to mature into ever more pure expressions of classical education.

Latin with Buck Holler

Next year’s pre-conference Latin workshop will be a full day of reading, discussing, and singing Latin stories and poetry in Latin. We will direct our focus to understanding and using words-in-context in order to build vocabulary, grammar, and comprehension through the use of all four language arts: reading, writing, listening, and speaking.

Register for the Pre-Conference

The 2023 Paideia Prize Winner: Dr. Andrew Seeley

After 30 years as a Tutor at Thomas Aquinas College in California, Dr. Andrew Seeley is devoting himself to promoting the renewal of liberal arts education through the work of the Institute for Catholic Liberal Education and the St. Ambrose Center for Catholic Liberal Education and Culture. Dr. Seeley received a Licentiate from the Pontifical Institute in Medieval Studies (Toronto) and a Ph.D. in Medieval Studies from the University of Toronto (1995). He has taught joyfully and extensively in all the areas of a Great Books curriculum. Desiring to share his love of liberal learning, Dr. Seeley helped found ICLE in 2005. He is currently Director of the Arts of Liberty Project at the University of Dallas and teaches in UD's Masters of Classical Education program. He and his wife, Lisa, have six children and seven grandchildren.

Confirmed Speakers

Wes Callihan

Hilary Dotters

Melody Tracy

Heather Jennings

Dr. Glenn C. Arbery

Dr. Virginia Arbery

Dr. Grant Horner

D.C. Schindler

Katerina Hamilton

Director of Press

Renee Mathis

Gulf Coast Apprenticeship Head Mentor

John Hodges

Director, Center for Western Studies

Christopher Perrin

CEO/Publisher of Classical Academic Press

Christine Perrin

Tim McIntosh

Greg Wilbur

Joshua Gibbs

Michael Buck Holler

Director of Consulting

Heidi White

Dr. Joseph Wysocki

Nena Harris

Angel Adams Parham

Monique Neal

Tonya Rozelle

Dr. Matthew Bianco


Andrew Kern

President & CEO

Andrea Lipinski

Vice President of Training and Consulting

Hilton Denver City Center

We’re in the heart of downtown Denver, a half-mile from the Colorado Convention Center. Larimer Square, Coors Field and the Denver Performing Arts Complex are all within a mile of our front door. Just a block from our hotel is 16th street, a popular stretch for dining, nightlife and shopping. Enjoy dining and drinks at Prospect’s Urban Kitchen and Bar, our on-site restaurant.

Click Here for the Special Conference Rates.

MST time
July 12

9 am - 4 pm: Pre-conference.

6 - 9 pm: Conference Registration & Welcome Reception

July 13

8:30 am: Plenary I - Andrew Kern - A Contemplation of Power

10:15 am: Pillar I - John Hodges - The Power of Art

12:00 pm: Breakout Session A

  • Dr. Christopher Perrin - Formative Power of the Great Tradition
  • Dr. Matthew Bianco - The Power of Beauty or is It Love?
  • Katerina Kern - Power and Suffering in Dostoevsky and Homer
  • Greg Wilbur - Ordering Loves: The Power of Music to Cultivate Virtue
  • D.C. Schindler - The Authority of the Symbol
  • Colloquy 1: John Hodges - Discussion of TS Eliot’s vision of the poet from the Four Quartets
  • Colloquy 2: Nena Harris - Wendell Berry’s, What Are People For?

1:00 pm: Lunch

2:30 pm: Breakout Session B

  • Heidi White - What is a Beautiful Woman For?
  • Wes Callihan - The Early Church Fathers and Classical Education
  • Andrea Lipinski - Mimesis' Power to Calm the Storm
  • Dr. Joseph Wysocki - Power, Persuasion, and Play: A Discussion of Rule in Shakespeare’s Henriad
  • Joshua Gibbs - Power and Ceremony: A Classical School Must Be An Institution
  • Colloquy 3: Buck Holler - Seneca, Epistula II
  • Colloquy 4: Andrew Kern - What does power have to do with education?

4:00 pm: Poetic Knowledge Panel -Andrew Kern, Tim McIntosh, & Greg Wilbur

5:00 pm: State of CiRCE Address - Andrew Kern

July 14

8:30 am: Plenary II - D.C. Schindler - The Symbol of Authority

10:15 am: Pillar II - Virginia & Glenn Arbery - The Spell of Power: Ahab and Moby-Dick

12:00 pm: Breakout Session C

  • Wes Callihan - Eternity in Our Hearts: Socrates, Augustine, and Lewis
  • Nena Harris - The Roots That Bind Us: The Paradoxical Nature of the Past
  • Katerina Kern - Symbols of Feminine Power: An Exploration of Mary in the Arts
  • Grant Horner - ‘To plainness honor’s bound when majesty falls to folly’: Shakespearean Power Play
  • Tim McIntosh - A Classical Vision of Power
  • Colloquy 5: Greg Wilbur - William Congreve, The Mourning Bride (1697)
  • Colloquy 6: Renee Mathis - Poetic Knowledge by James Taylor

1:00 pm: Lunch

2:30 pm: Breakout Session D

  • Joshua Gibbs - Power and Tradition: Sorting Out This Year’s Contentious Debate About the Canon
  • Christine Perrin - Blessing, Blessedness, Beatitude:  Their Power According to the Sermon on the Mount and Marilynn Robinson
  • Buck Holler - The Socratic Journey: Plato's cave, Coleridge's pretty cot, and Toad's Manor
  • Melody, Heather, & Hillary - That He Might Increase: The Power of a Classical Christian Education
  • Monique Neal - Lessons from Byzantium: Hearing the Church Fathers In Their Own Words
  • Colloquy 7: Jesse Hake - 1 Corinthians 1:23-29 in the New King James Version
  • Colloquy 8: Tonya Rozelle - Norms & Nobility, Chapter 8, by David V. Hicks

4:00 pm: Breakout Session E

  • Andrea Lipinski - Patterns and People
  • Angel Parham - Exploring the Richness of Cultural Crossroads in Classical Education
  • Heidi White - The First Wound: Duty and Desire in the Gender Wars
  • Dr. Matthew Bianco - So That's What Friends are For
  • Greg Wilbur - The Power of Sacrifice: Humility in Leadership
  • Colloquy 9: John Hodges - Discussion of the Burkean notion of the Moral Imagination vs. the Idyllic Imagination.
July 15

9:00 am: Plenary III - Dr. Grant Horner - Miltonic Power: What is Glory?

10:30 am: Plenary IV - Tim McIntosh- Western Civilization:
A Play about Rationality, Equality, and Justice
A Play about Blood, Bombs, and Power

12:00 pm: Q&A Panel & Closing Remarks - Andrew Kern, Dr. Christopher Perrin, Dr. Matthew Bianco, & Nena Harris


Frequently Asked Questions

No. The banquet registration is included in the standard conference registration.
Absolutely. Nearly all of the sessions will be available to purchase as downloadable mp3s a few weeks after the event.
Breakfast is provided Thursday, Friday, and Saturday along with lunch on Thursday and Friday, and dinner at the banquet on Friday evening. The Wednesday evening reception includes heavy hors d’oeuvres.
The conference will end at lunchtime on Saturday, July 15th.
Refund requests received by January 1st, 2023 will be honored in full, minus a $20 cancellation fee per person. Cancellations received between January 1st and April 1st, 2023 will receive a 50-percent refund, minus the cancellation fee. No refunds will be granted after May 1st unless your seat can be replaced by someone on the waiting list, in which case we will refund 50% of the registration. Please note that seats pre-ordered at the 2022 conference do NOT qualify for refunds. Cancellations and refund requests must be made by email: [email protected].
A “colloquy” is a session that is designed to be discussion-based. Each colloquy is moderated by one of our speakers whose job is to kindle the conversation and maintain the session’s civility. Because of the Socratic nature of these sessions, they are limited to twelve per colloquy. There are two colloquies and 5 workshops per break-out period.
There are typically 2 plenaries each day, the Friday night banquet, the Thursday Poetic Knowledge Panel, approximately 35 total workshops, and 14 total colloquies.
The conference begins at 7:00 pm on Wednesday, July 12th with a welcome reception and meet-and-greet. Food is provided. The sessions begin Thursday morning, July 13th, at 8:30 am.
Due to the length of our waitlist, we do not allow the transfer of tickets, except under extreme circumstances. We apologize for the inconvenience. If you have any questions about this policy please email us at [email protected].