Building the Beloved Community: The Ethics of Public Life

February 2020

This course is designed around the question “What do we owe to each other?” We will use a range of interdisciplinary lenses to examine the moral challenges and dilemmas which accompany community life. Students will learn to apply the tools of ethical theory to their examination of topics including climate change, racism, economic inequality, and more. Over the course of the semester, students will be challenged to dig into the ethical implications of social decisions made at individual and collective levels. As an inside-out course, which brings together a cohort of MIT students and a cohort of incarcerated students, the class itself will serve as a model for community. Students will be expected to actively examine the dynamics of their own classroom relationships. What do we learn by moving through the barrier between incarceration and broader society? What, perhaps above all, do our social positions in relation to our classmates teach us about the responsibilities of community life?

The course will be held in a minimum-security prison facility, the Boston Pre-Release Center in Roslindale, MA. MIT students will travel to the facility together and should plan to be away from campus from 5pm to 9pm. Limited to 10 MIT students and 10 School of Re-entry students.

Offered with the Educational Jusitice Initiative (ESG. S91 at the Boston Pre-Release Center, Mondays 6:00-8:00pm)
Led by Shannon Schmidt (Prison Educator) and Thea Keith-Lucas (Radius Coordinator)