REL 311

Tolstoy, Gandhi, and King: Prophets of Non-Violent Social Change in the 20th Century

This course examines the religious and ethical justifications for non-violence as a tool of resistance and social change in the twentieth century through the study of the lives and writings of Leo Tolstoy, Mohandas Gandhi, and Martin Luther King Jr. Students study these activists within their historical context by reading their autobiographies and examining the religious foundations - Christian and Hindu - of their teachings. A Buddhist approach to nonviolent social change, in the work of Thich Nhat Hanh, is also examined. The course assesses the prospects for nonviolent change in the twenty-first century.