What is Incite Seminars?


We are a small group of experienced educators, scholars, and artists who are convinced of the power of the humanities to inspire innovative real-world change. We are passionate about bringing that knowledge from the ivory tower to the public. We do not offer any kind of credit, certificate, or degree. We do offer an exhilarating educational experience.

What is the humanities?


The humanities is the recorded expression of human beings reflecting deeply and broadly on being human. It includes literature and poetry, philosophy, music, the arts, psychoanalysis and psychology, history, religion and theology. In humanities-style learning we cultivate both a deep appreciation for and a critical assessment of the subject at hand. 

What is a seminar? 


A seminar is a style of education designed to facilitate intensive and in-depth study of the topic. It is a place where books and ideas are taken seriously. Unlike a lecture, a seminar involves sustained engagement with written or other material together with robust open discussion among the participants. For that reason, the optimal number of learners in a seminar is generally between to six to fifteen.  

What happens in a seminar?


It could hardly be simpler. We sit around a table. We focus on a single text, theme, thinker. We explore ideas, theories, and concepts. We assess practices, actions, rituals, and performances. Together, we read, think, listen, question, speak, respond, argue, and laugh. The environment is warm and nurturing but crackling with the risky unpredictability of new discoveries.

We assume that you are a working adult with a busy schedule. So, we assign reading and writing accordingly. Given the variety of material we work with, it is difficult to nail down exact quantities. For example, for one class period you might be asked to read three short poems and jot down your reactions in the margins. For another class period, you might be asked to read fifty pages of dense philosophy and write a couple of pages of response. Coursework is always worked out with participants' express desires and limitations in mind. 

Why "Incite"?


We believe that something uncommonly dynamic occurs when we explore crucial ideas with other people. Dialogue centered on texts and other cultural material becomes an impetus for self-reflection and self-understanding. Such encounters enable each of us to glimpse into our ideological blind spots, to see and think more clearly. This ferments an acute awareness of social reality. It is here—where the personal collides with the social—that such education catalyzes the possibility of social change. At Incite Seminars we cultivate critical discernment, intellectual integrity, and moral courage. We are not content with the mere acquisition of knowledge. We are on the hunt for possibilities of transformation. 


Who teaches the seminars?


Our seminar facilitators are experienced teachers, scholars, writers, or artists, accomplished in their respective fields and passionate about teaching and learning.


Who are your participants?


Our participants are adults, young and old, who believe that life makes the most sense when they are reading and thinking about serious ideas, and are discussing and exploring those ideas with others. Some of them are working professionals. Some of them are at the beginning of a career. Some are retired. Some want nothing to do with the conventional career treadmill, and are looking for alternatives. Many are passionate about finding ways to enact change in the world. All are curious as hell about what's out there in the world of thought. We actively attempt to ensure that our spectrum of participants includes a broad, rich range of ages and racial, ethnic, religious, and educational backgrounds. Everyone will find an Incite Seminar warm and welcoming. 


When do seminars meet?


A seminar meets once a week for five weeks. Each meeting lasts two and a half hours. The time is either 6-8:30pm on a weekday evening, or 10am-12:30pm on a Saturday. 


Where are the seminars held?


Our home is CultureWorks, The Philadelphia Building, 1315 Walnut Street, Suite 320, Philadelphia, PA 19107. Seminars meet in the cozy conference room there. Occasionally, a seminar may meet in a bar or cafe in Philadelphia.  

How much does it cost?


$195. If a book is used, you buy it yourself. Otherwise, reading material is provided.


Do you offer scholarships? 


Yes. We provide two scholarships per seminar, which means either reduced or no cost for the recipient. If you want to take a course with us but cannot currently afford any or all of the cost and fees, please write to us at info@inciteseminars.com. We will never request verification of financial resources. It's all a matter of honesty and trust.


Can I contribute to Incite Seminars?


Glad you asked! Yes. Click the link at the bottom of this page. 100% of your donation will go toward scholarships.

What is your refund policy?

If you withdraw before the start date, we will refund the cost of the seminar minus a $25 administrative fee. If you withdraw after the first class session, we will refund 50% of the cost of the seminar. After the second session: 25%. No refunds will be given after the second session.


Weather cancellations

Cancellations will be made up at the end of the seminar or at a day and time agreed on by all participants.


Is it okay to contact you with any other questions I may have?

Please do! We are also open to any suggestions, recommendations, or requests you may have. Maybe you'd like us to come into your workplace or business to facilitation a reading group. (There's a ton of research that shows how beneficial outside-facilitated workplace learning is.) Or maybe you'd like to form a small private group. Maybe you'd even like some individual sessions. Or maybe you have some other creative idea for us. We can accommodate it all! Please don't hesitate to contact us.

Quick Links


Fall 2017

I moved the Incite Seminars page to inciteseminars.com. Please have a look!


Summer 2017

Starting enrollment for two public courses: "Alienation and Its Antidotes: A Workshop with Anthony Paul Smith on the Thought of François Laruelle."


"Meditation: Self and Society" Monday mornings

September 25-October 16. 

Information on Incite Seminars. 


Tom Pepper at Speculative Non-Buddhism: "No Thought, No Problem."


Spring 2017

Starting enrollment for public course "Buddhism in the Age of Trump." Begins Tuesday, June 13. Information on Incite Seminars page. Make thinking great again!


New post at Speculative Non-Buddhism by Jonathan Earle: "Only Don’t Know! Reflections on a Thoughtless Life"


"Criticism Matters: A Response to Rick Repetti," my contribution to the new book Handbook of Mindfulness: Culture, Context and Social Engagement (Basel: Springer Publishing, 2016) at Speculative Non-Buddhism.


Fall 2016

Ruin records He-Ho and Fiat Lux are being re-released with bonus tracks! Read about it at Earsplit. You can also pre-order directly from Southern Lord.


New essay by Tom Pepper, "Writing With Pencils and Eating Brownies: What Can Enlightened Brains Do?," at the SNB blog.


Spring 2016

I recently did two interviews with Matthew O'Connell at the Imperfect Buddha podcast.


A thoughtful discussion of the Speculative Non-Buddhism project at the Imperfect Buddha podcast. Link at SNB.


Summer 2016

* Several new posts at Lines of Flight.

* Cruel Theory | Sublime Practice is now available on Amazon US and Amazon UK. Read an informed review at the Journal of Buddhist Ethics.


* New interview with my Ruin band mate Cordy Swope at Seymour Magazine.


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