Do you wish you lived in a more peaceful and just world?

How might we imagine and work to create a more peaceful and just world?

How can literary works contribute to our understanding of peace and social justice?

Imagining Peace (PHIL 101 and ENGL102) is a learning community that integrates two courses, Introduction to Philosophy along with Critical Reading, Writing and Research to provide an interdisciplinary approach to studying global non-violent solutions to conflict through literature, philosophy, research, and practice.

This learning community explores various conceptions of non-violence—ones that will enhance our goal beyond merely seeking to obtain the absence of violence, but which can also serve as a powerful tool for imagining and constructing a more just and peaceful world. We invite our students to share in this work.

  • Developed and taught by Professors Tülin Levitas and Effie Siegel
  • FALL 2016
  • ENGL102  #24508 MW 12:30 – 1:45
  • PHIL 102 #24669 MW 2:00 – 3:15
  • Take them together!

Content: This course introduces the students to peace and justice through global philosophic literature and through examination of argument and rhetorical techniques.  It also explores how the Hindu, Buddhist, Chinese, Jewish, Christian, Native American and Islamic traditions address the issues of peace and justice in individual, family, communal, national, and global life.  Exploration of peace and justice issues will be the basis for a researched position paper. Fulfills Gen Ed requirements for completion and transfer.

Global Competencies:

  • Students will gain a deep and comparative knowledge of global perspectives and problems.
  • Students will identify and explain multiple perspectives when exploring subjects within political, religious, and ethical systems.
  • Students will gain personal intellectual and analytic orientation to global culture through literature, philosophy, and academic research, drawing connections between worldviews and power structures and incorporating respectful interactions with other cultures.

Student Learning Outcomes:

    • Evaluate how the practice of non-violence functions as a method and as an end goal globally.
    • Gain practical experience of how different global activist groups work to achieve peace in their communities.
    • Compare and contrast the ideas of some of the major practitioners and proponents of nonviolence.


  • Explicate and critically analyze expository and literary texts related to non-violence. 
  • Synthesize ideas related to peace from a variety of  interdisciplinary sources.


Student Outcomes Achieved Through:

  • Linked assignments like the current events news project designed to keep students informed and up to date with current issues globally of social justice and non-violence.
  • Students select and summarize a news story, respond to the issues raised, relating their discussion to relevant philosophical/moral perspectives.
  • Students identify an opinion piece or editorial related to the news issue, summarizing, and analyzing rhetorical and argumentative techniques.
  • Small group analysis and perspective taking discussions follow with large group discussion of views and findings.
  • By the end of the semester, students develop and support a multi-page, issue-driven researched position paper.