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Princeton University

HOPE: Human Odyssey to Political Existentialism

Princeton University via edX

This course may be unavailable.


In this course, we look for answers to seemingly unsolvable queries: Why breathe? Why breed? Why bleed? What justifies continuing, creating, and killing lives? Seeking answers to these thorny questions, Princeton University and Tel Aviv University have joined hands to create a unique online course that delves into the depths of the human condition and its politics.

Human Odyssey to Political Existentialism (HOPE) is a journey into the human condition and its politics, turning to existentialism for guidance. The course explores, on both individual and political levels, the following themes: Human / nature, identity & authenticity, freedom, reflection, happiness, death & dread, meaning, morality & ethics, truth & trust, God & religion, alienation & love, and finally—hope.”

Most philosophers ask “what is the good life?” and answer "to feel good, or to be good, or to do good." Existentialism asks “what is life good for?” and traces the answers that people, in their lived experience, give—to foster our own.

HOPE is a richly interdisciplinary course anchored in political science and philosophy. It also draws on history, sociology, psychology, and economy—synthesizing theoretical insights with empirical findings, both vintage and novel. HOPE shows that science and art can create a wonderful synergy when studying—indeed foregrounding—our humanity.

HOPE employs novel technologies in ways that enhance—not drain—our humanity and our ability to turn from “power politics” to “purpose politics,” cultivating creative, courageous, civil choices—the gist of existential politics.

In HOPE, you will find:

  • Animated talks, interviews and student discussions
  • Exploration of key concepts and figures—thinkers, artists, and politicians—both ancient and modern
  • A host of fascinating questions to probe alone, and together, with friends and in class
  • Myriad multimedia features, including various forms of art (painting, prose and poetry, cinema, tv, and music)
  • An invitation to choose between several edifying projects, including a personal journal and a collective newspaper

HOPE has been created in collaboration with Tel Aviv University.

Taught by

Uriel Abulof


4.9 rating, based on 276 Class Central reviews

Start your review of HOPE: Human Odyssey to Political Existentialism

  • Very intriguing and entertaining course weaving the viewer through the realms of philosophy, politics, art, literature, cinema, and music. Enjoyed the ideas and questions presented and the ways that they were. The primary purpose of this *odyssey* is to get you to think - to introspect and reflect upon your life and our world. And in that regard, it succeeds entirely.
  • Everaldo De Oliveira completed this course, spending 4 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    This is a course with an innovative approach and a deep reflection. With a brilliant organization and exposition of topics, we are immersed in relevant issues of our time, analyzing concepts underlying our human existence. This course is a journey guided...
  • So much material to read and consider. I feel like I have a better understanding of humanity and life after considering the works of some of the greatest thinkers of all time!

    The final chapter, Hope, was particularly relevant to me as we studied the picture of Hope and heard the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. it is true that life and people bring disappointment which can be very hard to live with, and that hope and fear are two sides of the same coin. Yet it is hope that keeps us alive, working towards doing good.
  • Anonymous
    במסגרת התואר השני, אנחנו נדרשים לבחור קורסי בחירה. כשקראתי את הרציו של הקורס משהו משך אותי, אבל לא בהכרח ידעתי להגיד למה. הגענו לשיעור הראשון והיינו מספר תלמידים שמתעניינים בשאלה של למה? איך? מי אמר את מה? ואיך העולם הזה מתמודד עם האתגרים השונים אותם...
  • Donny Astor

    Donny Astor completed this course.

    I finished the course HOPE, offered by Princeton (Edx). I completed 30 other MOOC before taking this one. This was the Captsone of the previous 30 MOOC. The title of the course itself draws you in like a magnet. It has 2 Names ! 1.) HOPE. 2.) Human...
  • Anonymous
    אחד הקורסים הכי חווייתיים ומעשירים שיצא לי לקחת! אני מרגיש שהוא תרם לי מאוד ברמה האישית.
    נקודה שחשוב לי לציין היא לצערי מכיוון שאני נאלץ לקחת את הקורס הזה במסגרת כלים שלובים, אני עמוס נורא במחויבויות של התואר עצמו ויצא מצב שעודף המחויבויות של הקורס זה (הגשת הבחנים והגשות של myhope והמטלה המסכמת + המבחן) לאט לאט עם העומס התחלתי להתייחס אליו יותר כעוד נטל וזה הקשה עליי להוציא את המיטב מהמסע שהקורס הזה מוציא אותך אליו.
    אני חושב שאפשר היה לוותר על מעט ממחויבויות הקורס כדי להקל על הסטודנטים ולאפשר למידה אפקטיבית וחוויתית יותר עבורנו (בייחוד עבור סטודנטים כמוני ממקצועות ההנדסה והמדעים המדויקים שקורס כמו זה מהווה אתנחתא ממסלול הלימודים הרגיל).
    תודה על הקורס, היה מעולה!
  • Sorcha Crowley

    Sorcha Crowley is taking this course right now, spending 4 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    This course is one of the richest and most thought-provoking courses I've taken. It combines philosophy, arts and politics to challenge our notions on a variety of topics ranging from identity, love, hope to alienation, death, god and many more. The underlying...
  • Maria Ortiz completed this course.

    This course HOPE: Human Odyssey To Political Existentialism has ignited my interest in philosophy and political science. It has lead a path to self-discovery as well. Existentialism is finding meaning and purpose in this imperfect world. It is a philosophical...
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    first ı started this course ı dont except too much thing. ı am at the carantine and ı was trying to find something to improve my english and adds me anything about being a human cause ı think especially in that time of the world we have to recall what...
  • Anonymous
    I have to say I thought the course was interesting and it made me think and contemplate about things I wasn't thinking before, but I felt it was a little bit heavy, there were too many discussions and too much information in the lectures. I felt it was taking too much energy and time. but I do think it is a good course just that it need to be a little shorter and focused and less heavy and all over the place. I really enjoyed the gallery tasks and it was nice watching it in public and other people thoughts as well.
  • Exhilarating to say the least, this course will put you in the driver seat of your own destiny in search of the years of your studies and contemplations in asking that existential question: who am I, what am I, and why am I hear to say the few, but there are many more meanings to ask and answer, in the Hope, that everyone who talks the course will discover a meaning about there self, knowing and not having to make the statement: IS THAT ALL THERE IS TO MY EXISTENCE? and with that Good Luck. Virgil. ICT_TA-53.
  • Profile image for David Venegas
    David Venegas
    I sincerely believe this course deserves a 5 star rating. The amount of knowledge you can gather from it is impressive, not only from historical events or philosophy but from yourself as well. The connections made between words said by influential people throughout the ages is smoothly put together and easy to understand. All the lectures and readings where enjoyable for those eager to seek some new knowledge, even if you already know about some of the topics discussed. I truly recommend this course.
  • Anonymous
    It was an interesting journey with a variety of topics that are really significant in our lives, and thanks to professor Uriel for his wonderful well spoken lecture, he explained so much about complex things yet in a very simple and entertaining way which I appreciate, Im also thankful for making this course very flexible and handy for students.
  • Anonymous
    I very much enjoyed the course. It was thoroughly documented and well divided in chapters. During the course I realized that I began to see an idea, an event, an action from more points of view than I did before. So thank you for this and I can hardly wait to see more courses from you.
    Best of luck!
  • Anonymous
    ואו! הקורס הזה ממש פתח לי את החשיבה להרבה דברים שפעם הרהרתי עליהם ונתן לי נקודות מבט שונות על הרבה תחומים בחיים. קורס מדהים
  • Anonymous
    This course is a masterclass at... Hope. Surprising, I suppose. But in all fairness, most of us don't think about it too often - and here, we get some amazing insight into philosophy, despair, freedom, religion and love. Personally, this resonated with me profoundly - and suited my reading preferences well. Very much recommended.
  • Anonymous
    Insightful and inspiring, accessible and very easy to use.
    I loved the lectures and the quizs really helped with understanding the subjects we went over through.
  • Anonymous
    that's the best online course I've ever took. so professional and colorful, the lectures are amazing with the videos and the songs and all of the content. I loved it.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    Wow. HOPE was such a meaningful and informative course. I am a literature and philosophy student, and this course brought the two together (with the added bonus of political thought and current events). Uriel is an engaging teacher, and each video is filled with beautiful artwork, imagery, clips, and songs, which really help bring the lesson to life (and keep me engaged). The quizzes felt so easy, because I was effortlessly picking up information. It felt like a personal, meaningful documentary series; something I would even watch during my free time (if I had any).
    Highly recommended.
  • Denis OSullivan

    Denis OSullivan is taking this course right now.

    Absolutely outstanding! I have taken many many courses, both online and in class, this is one of the best, most provocative, most interesting, most insightful. Uriel is a fantastic lecturer and teacher, but more than that, he has clearly spend a huge...

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