Class Central is learner-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Princeton University

HOPE: Human Odyssey to Political Existentialism

Princeton University via edX


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 264 reviews

Start your review of HOPE: Human Odyssey to Political Existentialism

  • 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.
  • 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...
  • 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

    Anonymous completed this course.

    This class is engaging on many levels. Professor Uriel Abulof brilliant use of music, art, and movies to help enforce the lesson ideas and concepts gave this class a great level of depth and changed the way I view art and how I plan to incorporate it more in my teaching.
  • 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
    This was a great course, and I believe succeeds in it's primary purpose: teaching us about our humanity. What makes it, and how we embrace it. The lectures are not just about telling us information, but encouraging introspection. The same with the writing...
  • 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...
  • Paula Rusak
    I studied Philosophy many years ago and came upon this course and tried it to see if it would renew my interest in philosophy.
    This course is very intensive and requires a lot of thinking and reflection - which I think was the whole point of the course and philosophy itself.
    It succeeded - the lecturer was also very good in his presentation.
    Highly recommended..... I would take it again if I could but do it slower this time (I did it in 4 weeks because of when I signed in - so did not have a good opportunity to go into it as deeply as I might have otherwise.
  • Anonymous
    This class has been a wonderful and heartfelt experience in learning. Not only can I say I truly explored these various philosophical concepts, but I will also add that the nature of the presentation of the material made me feel really connected throughout the whole process. What I am trying to say is that I enjoyed the class, and I consider it innovative in a very positive way -- I truly believe that anyone taking it is actually encouraged to think deeper and learn more. Good job guys!
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    No doubt it won the number one course. This course is amazing. It gave me lots of "wow" moments. The combination between music, art, poetry, science and philosophy was enriching , powerful and pleasurable. some anecdotes... - when Tori Amos came with...
  • I thank my guide and professor who helped me through this course. Some concepts were very engaging and made me lose some sleep, I guess . Nevertheless, I found it enriching and gave me a better grasp of the meaning of life, truth, love, humanity and transcending our weaknesses to aim for a better place to live in and exist with a purpose and mission to become who we ought to be.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    The structure of this course is innovative and very appealing, incorporating so much artwork and music videos. You could even say that the music videos are the foundation of the course. It is quite a bit of work. Each lesson takes 2-3 hours. The...
  • Anonymous
    This is course is so enlightening and exciting! It is a perfect journey for our mind to go through the very fundamental questions of life. In addition, it provides a framework for our thinking. It asks questions and provides possible perspectives to inspire me to ask more. The many philosophers quoted and the many good stories told really opened the gate of philosophy for me.
  • 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.
  • Anonymous
    This course was a fantastic undertaking and really helpful for introspective thinking on the major concepts of humanity including the meaning of life, death, love, morals and many more. The blend of pop culture references from music, to film and countless classical paintings as well as texts and philosophies was very impressive and kept one engaged.
  • Anonymous
    The course in my eyes was amazing, it opened my mind in a way that I had never done before and made me question the world.
    I really liked the course was comprehensive and professionally invested.
    I think that everyone should take this course both in order to get out of the degree area you have chosen and in order to be a better person and citizen.

  • 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.

Never Stop Learning.

Get personalized course recommendations, track subjects and courses with reminders, and more.