This course will examine the philosophical dimensions of the concept of nonviolence and focus on select philosophers and nonviolent movements. For Mahatma Gandhi, one of the pioneers of nonviolent struggle, nonviolence is as old as the Himalayas. It will, hence, be a meaningful exercise to explore how this idea and its practice evolved in different cultures and societies, and how various thinkers and practitioners shaped it. While Kant believed republicanism can provide a base for peace among nations, Tolstoy based his advocacy of peace on theology and shaped Gandhi’s idea and practice of nonviolence. On the other hand, thinkers like Kautilya and Hegel believed war can be a necessary instrument to build a peaceful society. This interdisciplinary course will draw from research in sociology, psychology, political science, anthropology, and related disciplines to explore how concerns of peace and nonviolence shaped ideas of scholars in these disciplines and informed theory and practice of nonviolence.
In this course the students will be able to:
- Explore linkages between the concepts of peace, war, and nonviolence.
- Gain an understanding of the evolution of nonviolence idea and practice in different cultures and traditions.
- Identify factors that promote or obstruct a culture of nonviolence in the contemporary world.
Area of Study: Conflict and Peace Studies
Prerequisites: Admission into a Program of Study
Instructor: Dr. Debidatta. A. Mahapatra