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Learning to live together is the challenge of our age. This course looks at Jewish, Christian and Muslim ideas of community and universality in light of our global situation. It considers what universalist ethics look like when not based on religious assumptions, and examines what such ethics have to offer religious moral discourse. The course will also consider a moral argument towards a way of being in the world that both maintains and moves beyond our own particularities. Questions of environmental responsibilities and economic justice as they relate to these perspectives will also be explored.
Thursdays from 9:00 a.m. to 4 p.m., on January 26, February 9 & 23, March 15 & 29, April 19 and May 3
Welcome to Global Ethics, which I hope will be a time of discovery and learning for all of us, both about the moral issues raised by globalization, and about the content and methods of thinking morally about these issues.
Some of the questions/themes of the course are:
What are the major moral themes evoked by processes and dynamics of the various aspects of globalization?
Globalization to the extent at which we all experience it, is a new phenomenon. How does ethical thought, developed many centuries ago, address globalization?
Religious ethics are grounded in specific religious communities. How does one apply ethical thought developed inside specific communities and in response to specific beliefs and experiences to questions and peoples beyond those communities? Are religious ethics - Muslim, Christian, Jewish - broad enough to address universal and not simply particular ethical concerns? Where do they, or might they come up short in the sense that they are too parochial, or in other ways inadequate to deal with the moral questions that face humanity.
What are the themes in specific religions that contribute the most to the conversation?
Authors such at Tariq Ramadan insist that religious people must learn not only from their own tradition and be in conversations with and learn from other religions, but also with the secular world. What do religious people learn from secular ethics, about global moral issues?
In the light of a globalized world, does the whole question of who I have responsibility for, who I think my neighbor is change?
Course Objectives Include:
Learn more about the global context in which we all live out our lives, but often in different ways, so that the student is able to grasp it conceptually and discern how processes and dynamics of globalization shape our individual lives and the lives of our religious and secular communities, nationally and internationally.
That students grow in their understanding of the ways in which ethical thought is carried out in Christianity, Islam and Judaism, and explore some of the ways they learn morally from each other.
That students learn to think critically about the moral thought of their own religious traditions, so that they are able to articulate and "see" the strengths, potential limits, and the methods of their moral tradition, as well as those of other religious moral traditions.
Dr. Hadsell will introduce the course.
Begin to share and to shape various definitions of Globalization. Where do they come from? What might be at stake in choosing one definition and not another?
One major driving force in globalization is economic. One description of current economic dynamics is demonstrated in the film The Corporation. The class will watch this film together.
What is ethics? How it is related to given religious traditions?
What is the difference between theological and ethical thought, or is there one?
What have you read, written, thought about that is specifically moral or ethical in nature that you really care about?
Why is globalization an ethical issue, or, rather, why does it present a set of ethical questions?
What kinds of ethical questions are they? How have you been impacted by one or more of them? How do they bring us (human beings, the people in this course) together and also scatter us apart and separate us?
Please read: The Americanization of Mental Illness article as an example of global dynamics in one field, which we will discuss in class.
February 23, March 15, March 29
Sources, methods, ways of doing ethics in our traditions, as authors in our traditions reflect on ethical issues connected to globalization.
February 23 - Christianity
Please read: The Pope's Encyclical: Charity in Truth
Presbyterian Statement on Globalization
Life Abundant, Sally McFague, Fortress Press, 2001 - especially chapters 4 and 5
March 15 - Islamic Ethics and Contemporary Challenges
Please read: Articles by Mohammed Arkoun, ("Present Day Islam Between Its Tradition & Globalization,) " Tariq Ramadan (The way (Al-Sharia) of Islam), and "Islam, Justice and Politics, by Chandra Musuffar in: The New Voices of Islam, Rethinking Politics and Modernity, Mehran Kamrava, ed.
March 2 - Judaism
Selections in: Judaism and Environmental Ethics, Martin Yafee, ed.
Also: "Morality and Universality in Jewish Thought", Michael Walzer
Other readings TBA
Secular ethical thought and its contribution to the conversation
Please read: Cosmopolitanism, Kuame Appiah, W.W. Norton and Company, 2006
One World, Peter Singer, Yale University Press, 2002
Selections from: The Gift of Responsibility, The Promise of Dialogue Among Christians, Jews and Muslims, Lewis Mudge
Each student is expected to do the assigned reading (at least) and to contribute to informed, lively discussions in class.
4 papers, about 5 pages each, based on the reading, will be turned in during the semester; one on each religious tradition's thought on globalization and one on secular moral thought and globalization. Many of the papers will be presented in class (students can decide which they want to present - to a point) and will therefore play an important role in class discussions. Please turn them in as hard copy!!
Articles mentioned, and sometimes chapters, will be either handed out in class the week before they are to be discussed or uploaded onto SONISWEB.
I enjoy discussing academic things with students, so don't be shy. Please call Mary Zeman at 860-509-9502 for an appointment, or drop by to see during my office hours, or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Mary (email@example.com).
Life Abundant, Sally McFague, Fortress Press, 2001. Buy now
Cosmopolitanism, Kuame Appiah, W.W. Norton and Company, 2006. Buy now
One World, Peter Singer, Yale University Press, 2002. Buy now
Judaism and Environmental Ethics, Martin Yafee, ed. Lexington Books, 2001. Buy now
To Make the Earth Whole, Marc Gopin. Roman & Littlefield Publishers, 2009. Buy now
Toward a Global Civilization of Love & Tolerance, M. Fettullah Gulen. The Light Inc. Publishers, 2004. Buy now
The New Voices of Islam, Mahran Kamrava. University of California Press, 2007. Buy now
Global Responsibility, Hans Kung. Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2004. Buy now
The Gift of Responsibility, Lewis Mudge. The Continuum International Publishing Group, 2008. Buy now
In Search of the Good Life, Rebecca Todd Peters. The Continuum International Publishing Group, 2006. Buy now
Radical Reform, Tariq Ramadan. Oxford University Press, 2008. Buy now
The Globalization of Ethics, Sullivan & Kymlicka, eds. Cambridge University Press, 2007. Buy now
The Post-American World, Fareed Zaharia. Norton & Co. Publishers, 2009. Buy now