As we hear distressing news from around the world, we may remind ourselves of times and places when human beings did come close to building a workable and just society for everyone. These were not idealistic communes in the woods but large well-organized societies that managed to achieve a social justice far beyond what was typical of their ages. These episodes have largely been erased from history by conquering empires; many of them are known only through recent archaeological studies.
In this course, we will read about and discuss these times and places: from the Indus Valley civilization, the most advanced society of 2000 BC, to the small self-governing city states in Central America, which held off the encroachments of the Aztec empire for centuries, to the peaceful coexistence among Christians, Jews and Muslims in 12th-century Andalusia, which lit the spark for the European Renaissance a century later. We will also discuss how human ancestors seem to have maintained an egalitarian society for more than a million years. We will discuss what principles and strategies they used to organize their societies, how these societies came apart, and how their experience may inform our ideas of a just society today.
Thursday, October 6, 7-8:30 pm ET
Thursday, October 13, 7-8:30 pm ET
Thursday, October 20, 7-8:30 pm ET
Thursday, October 27, 7-8:30 pm ET
Course cost: $100 per person for series, with opportunity to donate more to support others. If you need payment assistance, please email email@example.com.
Mark Reimers is an associate professor in the neuroscience program at Michigan State University where he integrates statistical analysis with neuroscience theory in order to interpret the very large data sets now being generated in neuroscience, especially from the technologies developed by the BRAIN initiative. He graduated from the University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia and previously held appointments at the National Institutes of Health, Karolinska Institute in Sweden, and Virginia Commonwealth University.
Our Further Reflection series brings open dialogue on topics of interest brought to you by the American Humanist Association’s Center for Education