Encountering the “Other” and the Quest for Genuine Community - Fall 2018
(HUM421-1 FA2018)

The people around us – those we know intimately and those we know only casually - differ from us in a variety of ways. Class, culture, gender, language, race, and religion are just some of the ways in which this is the case. Some philosophers have used the term “other” to express this idea. But despite our differences, or because of them, we need to live and work and flourish together. We need to form communities rooted in memory and anchored in hope. We need to find ways of creating what the classical American philosopher Josiah Royce called “genuine” communities. In this course, we will begin by learning about this and other concepts of community before going on to explore why “otherness” can be a source of anxiety or even fear for many people. Our readings and discussions will focus on various forms of “otherness” and we will consider what several influential twentieth and twenty-first centuries thinkers have to say about overcoming divisions in our quest to create genuine communities. With issues and questions of identity and difference so pressing today, our class promises to be very lively – I look forward to our conversations!