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Love as a Force for Social Justice (Coursera)

This course will explore the concept of agape love (compassion/kindness) as a force for social justice and action and as the inspiration for service and the application of knowledge to positive social change. Biological, psychological, religious, and social perspectives of love will be discussed, drawing on the expertise of people from a variety of disciplines.

The objectives of this course are:

-To introduce participants to different concepts of love, to empower them to be conscious of the power of love and the possibility of practicing it in everyday life, and to highlight in particular the idea of love as a force for social justice.

-To communicate a sense of personal strength and empowerment by actively learning from each other and beginning to define how participants can apply their learning in service to society.

During the six-week course, the following topics will be raised and discussed: kinds of love/defining love; non-violent communication; love and the biology of the brain; love as a basic concept of religious and ethical beliefs (e.g., Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Gandhian); love applied in action, and poetic expressions of love as a social force. This curriculum aims to foster a sense of the importance of love as a key phenomenon in creating community, connection, and functional societies among humans.

Course materials will draw from a variety of sources. One of the goals of the class is to provide participants with some knowledge of the literature of love, and readings for the course are listed in the outline of the course on the pages that follow.

Syllabus

WEEK 1

Introduction

Course introduction

Words and the Meaning of Love

Graded: Weekly Activity

Graded: Weekly Question

WEEK 2

Love and the Brain

Graded: Weekly Activity

Graded: Weekly Question

WEEK 3

Love and Monotheistic Religions

Love and Systems of Ethical Thought

Graded: Weekly Activity

Graded: Weekly Question

WEEK 4

Love in Action in One-on-One Interactions

Love in Action at Work in the Business Community

Love in Action in Non-Governmental Organizations

Graded: Weekly Activity

Graded: Weekly Question

WEEK 5

Love and Social Justice

Graded: Contemporary Social Justice Issues Exercise

Graded: Weekly Activity

Graded: Weekly Question

WEEK 6

Love as an Expression of Creativity and Meaning in Life

Love in our Future Lives

Graded: Final Reflection

ENROLL IN COURSE