AGAPE: Love in the Time of Pandemic, Hate and Insurrection (APA2444.02)

Vivian Nixon

In the throes of a global increase of identity-based hatred and anti-democratic sentiment, this course will explore a concept present in virtually every world religion. Agape love (unconditional compassionate kindness) as a necessary value in movements for social justice. Agape requires action and sacrificial service in addition to the theoretical discourse of diversity, equity and inclusion. Activities that bring about positive social change share characteristics that imbue the psycho-social perspective of love. We will discuss ways that the principles of Agape, independent of religious belief, shape the practice of social change. We will rely on thinkers from a variety of disciplines including philosophy, psychology, theology, sociology and political science. Topics will include:

The definition of Agape love and its key differences from romantic love and friendship; forms of radical non-violence in practice; the psychological impact of Agape on individuals and society; agape love as a basic tenet of ethical beliefs (Judaic, Christian, Islamic, Buddhist, Gandhian); the functions of Agape love in action; and expressions of Agape in movements.

This course will encourage students to consider the critical role of Agape love in establishing community wellbeing. The curriculum and materials will be comprised of text, visual art, music, and film/video, from diverse sources, including the Classics.

Learning Outcomes:
Understand the relevance of a discourse of Agape love in social movements
Recognize that students have within their control, the choice to turn theories of Agape love into consistent compassionate nonviolent communication and action in daily life
Achieve a sense of collective power to affect social change based on the critical thinking they do together.

Delivery Method: Remotely accessible
Course Level: 2000-level
Credits: 2
M/Th 3:40PM - 5:30PM (2nd seven weeks)
Maximum Enrollment: 15
Course Frequency: One time only

Categories: Advancement of Public Action , All courses , Remotely Accessible