Old Question, New Problem: Finding and Sustaining Hope

Fall 2014 quarter

Taught by

composition, education, literature

What Does It Mean to Lead a Good Life?

This one quarter program will introduce students to ways of thinking about a question people have grappled with for centuries: how, in the face of all we know, do thoughtful people find and sustain hope? We’ll discuss foundational writings by Plato, Karl Marx, and Mark Twain. We’ll also explore writing by contemporary thinkers like Kwame Anthony Appiah, Kathleen Dean Moore, bell hooks and Juliet Schor, all of whom are thinking and writing and speaking about how to practice informed and grounded hope as a strategy for making change. Students will practice the intellectual moves that philosophers make as they tackle big questions. Students will also be introduced to expository writing strategies which can be used in this and other programs.

The people whose work we will read are all writing to engage readers in thinking about the realities of the current situation--what they perceive as flaws in their cultures. We’ll investigate the contexts in which these writers are making their arguments so we understand the problems they were moved to address. We will also look at how these writers "make" their arguments in writing. Students will get lots of practice with analytical reading, and with writing and revising essays of varied lengths. As part of making sense of their educations at Evergreen, students will be asked to reflect on how they hope their educational choices will help them address our central question. 

Fields of Study

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Evening

Advertised schedule: 6-10p Mon/Wed


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Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning

More information about online learning.

Registration Information

Credits: 8 (Fall)

Class standing: Freshmen–Senior

Maximum enrollment: 50


Course Reference Number

(8 credits): 10009

Go to my.evergreen.edu to register for this program.

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