College Of Arts and Sciences | Non-Violence and the Struggle for Freedom
E103 | 0080 | Larson, G.
Non-violence as an ethical principle and a strategy for social change
is one of India’s great contributions to world thought. It became
most well-known through the life and work of M.K. Gandhi during
India’s struggle for independence from British imperialism, but its
roots and basic formulation go back to the ancient traditions of
Hindu, Buddhist and Jain spirituality. This TOPICS course proposes to
look at the role and function of non-violence as an idea and strategy
in India’s cultural heritage and will ask the basic questions: How
has the notion of "non-violence" (ahima) shaped the ethical and
political texture of India’s culture and to what extent can the idea
and its practical implementation function outside of the Indian
environment? The influence of India’s notion of non-violence on the
American Civil Rights movement and the Solidarity movement in Poland
will also be examined. The course will proceed largely through class
discussions and seminar-like presentations. Requirements will
include two mid-term quizzes, a take-home examination and a creative
essay about student experiences of non-violence and/or violence.
Readings will include Ghandi's Autobiography, The Bhagavad Gita, G.J.
Larson's India's Agony Over Religion and C. Chapple's Non-Violence to
Animals, Earth and Self in Asian Traditions.