PSYC 161
Nonviolence and Positive Psychology Fall 2018 Division II;

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In this course we will explore the theory and practice of nonviolence in the context of research in Positive Psychology. Nonviolence means choosing not to threaten or injure others, and its practice requires cultivating personal qualities that enable such a choice. Positive Psychology refers to the scientific study of those qualities that enable people to live happy and fulfilling lives. We will begin by studying the history and moral theories of nonviolence. We will then evaluate the claims of those theories regarding the positive effects of nonviolence by discussing research on psychological benefits to the practitioner, attitude change in the adversary, and effects on the larger community. Topics will include self-control, empathy, forgiveness, tolerance, aggression, resisting violent assault, civil disobedience, and courage. Along the way we will introduce basic concepts in research design and interpretation of data to help us evaluate the research with a critical eye. This course is a part of a joint program between Williams’ Center for Learning in Action and the Berkshire County Jail, in Pittsfield, MA. The class will be composed equally of nine Williams students and nine inmates. An important goal of the course is to encourage students from different backgrounds to think together about issues of common human concern. Classes will be held at the jail, with transportation provided by the college. * Please note the atypical class hours, Tuesday, 4:45-8:30 pm.
The Class: Type: seminar
Limit: 9
Expected: 9
Class#: 1964
Requirements/Evaluation: class attendance and participation, short essays, and a final paper
Extra Info: not available for the fifth course option
Prerequisites: not open to first-year students
Enrollment Preference: selection will be based on student interviews
Department Notes: this class will include 9 Williams students and 9 inmates
Distributions: Division II;
Attributes: PSYC Area 6 - Other/Interdisciplinary Psychology

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