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Stanford University

Love as a Force for Social Justice

Stanford University via Coursera


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The objectives of this course are: -To introduce participants to different concepts of love, to empower them to be conscious of the power of love and the possibility of practicing it in everyday life, and to highlight in particular the idea of love as a force for social justice. -To communicate a sense of personal strength and empowerment by actively learning from each other and beginning to define how participants can apply their learning in service to society. This course will explore the concept of agape love (compassion/kindness) as a force for social justice and action and as the inspiration for service and the application of knowledge to positive social change. Biological, psychological, religious, and social perspectives of love will be discussed, drawing on the expertise of people from a variety of disciplines. During the six-week course, the following topics will be raised and discussed: kinds of love/defining love; non-violent communication; love and the biology of the brain; love as a basic concept of religious and ethical beliefs (e.g., Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Gandhian); love applied in action, and poetic expressions of love as a social force. This curriculum aims to foster a sense of the importance of love as a key phenomenon in creating community, connection, and functional societies among humans. Course materials will draw from a variety of sources. One of the goals of the class is to provide participants with some knowledge of the literature of love, and readings for the course are listed in the outline of the course on the pages that follow.


  • Introduction
    • Course introduction
  • Words and the Meaning of Love
  • Love and the Brain
  • Love and Monotheistic Religions
  • Love and Systems of Ethical Thought
  • Love in Action in One-on-One Interactions
  • Love in Action at Work in the Business Community
  • Love in Action in Non-Governmental Organizations
  • Love and Social Justice
  • Love as an Expression of Creativity and Meaning in Life
  • Love in our Future Lives

Taught by

Anne Firth Murray


5.0 rating, based on 1 Class Central review

4.7 rating at Coursera based on 412 ratings

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  • Anonymous
    I am a 57 year old man, who's found a new beginning in life and has regained a youthful spirit and belief that all is possible. Two years ago, I made a decision that would change my life, I decided to go back to school and complete my hig…

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