Dialogue In A Diverse and Divided Society

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Fall 2017 quarter

Taught by

sociology and social statistics

We live in a society that is not only diverse but is divided by deep political and cultural disagreements and misunderstandings. Yet somehow we must all share the same space: political, social and spiritual. Coming to mutual understanding is challenging for all, if at all possible, yet due to differences in power and status, the stakes are higher for some than for others. Students and faculty in this program will grapple with the challenges of living in a diverse and divided society together. We will benefit from study of sociology, specifically concerning the role of institutions in embodying power and in shaping the lives and identities of individuals. We will also draw upon philosophy by studying the “ideal speech” ethical and political philosophy of Jürgen Habermas as well as theories that foreground difference, including the work of Iris Marion Young and others.

Central to our work will be dialogue, both the hopes we have for it as well as the difficulties of conducting it. To develop our powers of dialogue, students will engage in dialogues across deep differences with others. This program will be challenging academically and personally. Students who do well in this program will improve their abilities to understand, work with others in, and act wisely in our diverse society. The program will prepare students for further study or work in areas such as social work and psychology  that require these abilities. 

Program Details

Fields of Study

philosophy sociology

Preparatory For

philosophy, sociology, social work.


Fall Open

Location and Schedule

Campus Location


Time Offered


Advertised Schedule

Mondays and Wednesdays, 6-10 p.m.

Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning