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E-Seminars: E-Seminar Detail

E-Seminars in This Series

E-Seminar 1
Gandhi: Discovering the Power of Nonviolence

E-Seminar 2
Martin Luther King Jr.: An American Gandhi

E-Seminar 3
Gandhi's Disciples

Nonviolent Power in Action
A Series of Three E-Seminars

Taught by: Dennis Dalton

E-Seminar Description
Nonviolent Power in Action is a series of three online seminars based on Dennis Dalton's enormously popular course, which he has taught since the late 1960s, on the nature and power of the Gandhian political philosophy and practice of nonviolence.

In e-seminar 1, Gandhi: Discovering the Power of Nonviolence, Professor Dalton examines the roots of Gandhi's ideas, from Henry David Thoreau and Leo Tolstoy to the Jainist culture of Gandhi's native Gujarat in India. Dalton then discusses Gandhi's concept of satyagraha—the power of nonviolence—and traces its development from its beginning in 1906, at a time when Gandhi was in South Africa. The e-seminar looks at Gandhi's use of satyagraha, particularly against the British colonial rulers in South Africa and later in the salt march in India in 1930.

In e-seminar 2, Martin Luther King Jr.: An American Gandhi, Professor Dalton analyzes the practice and theory of the great civil-rights leader, who emerged on the scene during the bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1955. King, who learned from Gandhi's writings, would become a towering figure in the history of nonviolent power in action. Professor Dalton discusses King's explicit principles and tactics of nonviolence.

In e-seminar 3, Gandhi's Disciples, Professor Dalton looks at Gandhi's legacy and how his philosophy of nonviolence was adopted by a variety of social movements during the twentieth century, from the Danish and French Huguenot resistance during the Nazi era to the United Farm Workers under the charismatic leadership of Cesar Chavez.

Series Length:9-15 hours
Start Date:Anytime
Columbia Students, Faculty, Staff, and Alumni:FREE
Interested in this
Go to the series now.

E-Seminar Objectives | Outline | Instructor's Background | Recommended Reading | Technical Requirements

E-Seminar Objectives
•    Acquire an appreciation for the power of Gandhi's legacy to inspire political action throughout the twentieth century, across a wide range of geographical locations and cultural situations.

•    Understand the basic elements of Gandhian political philosophy and their roots in Eastern and Western philosophy.

•    Examine the salt march, the first major political action staged by Gandhi in India, as an historical event and evaluate it as an expression of Gandhian practice.

•    Gain a general knowledge of Gandhi's life.

•    Identify the theoretical perspective of Martin Luther King Jr. and the Gandhian elements in his theory and practice.

•    Learn the basic chronology of events at Montgomery, Alabama, the birth of the modern civil-rights movement.

•    Learn to analyze certain political actions for their expression of Gandhian thinking.

•    Gain an awareness of contemporary Gandhians.

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E-seminar 1
1. Introduction
2. The Roots of Nonviolence
      United States
3. Satyagraha
      The South African Roots of Satyagraha
      Satayagraha and Indian Politics
      Nonviolence: Theory versus Practice
      Nonviolent Actions against the British
4. Gandhi and Mao

E-seminar 2
1. Montgomery Bus Boycott
2. King's Theory:
      King's Seven Principles
      Kings Four Tactics
3. Conclusion

E-seminar 3
1. World War II: Rosenstrasse, Denmark, and Le Chambon
      Le Chambon
2. The Sixties
      Cesar Chavez
      Dorothy Day
      The Berrigan Brothers
3. Success and Failure of Nonviolence
      The Serbian Example
      Failure at Tiananmen
      Lessons from Tiananmen
4. Contemporary Gandhians
      Thich Nhat Hanh
      Dalai Lama
      Aung San Suu Kyi
5. Conclusion

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Instructor's Background
Instructor's Background
Dennis Dalton is a Professor of Political Science at Barnard College, Columbia University, where he has been lecturing on the history and philosophy of nonviolence since the late 1960s. He previously held the Ann Whitney Olin Professorship at the college. Dalton is a favorite lecturer among students on campus, and his course on nonviolence is chronically oversubscribed.

Dalton went to India for the first time in 1960, only twelve years after Gandhi was assassinated, and had the opportunity to become well acquainted with several key associates of Gandhi, who were still alive at that time. He has been back numerous times since then and has expanded his areas of research to include other disciples of Gandhi, including Martin Luther King, Jr. as well as some of the lesser-known righteous gentiles of the second world war.

Dalton himself has participated in a variety of political movements, including the civil-rights movement, the movement against apartheid in South Africa, the movement against the war in Vietnam, and the campaign for nuclear disarmament.

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Recommended Reading
Ackerman, Peter and Jack DuVall. A Force More Powerful: A Century of Nonviolent Conflict. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2000.

Dalton, Dennis. Mahatma Gandhi: Nonviolent Power in Action. New York: Columbia University Press, 1995.

Gandhi, Mahatma. Mahatama Gandhi: Selected Political Writings. Edited by Dennis Dalton. Indianapolis: Hackett, 1996.

Sharp, Gene. The Politics of Nonviolent Action. Manchester, New Hampshire: Porter Sargent Publishers, 1973.

Washington, James Melvin, ed. A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1991.

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Technical Requirements
You will need to use a computer with Internet access to complete this course. We recommend the following minimum configurations:

Windows 95, 98, 2000, XP, or NT
64 MB of RAM (128 recommended)
Monitor: 800x600 resolution recommended
Connection: Internet service and 56K modem minimum
Browser: Internet Explorer 4 or above (Internet Explorer 5 strongly recommended) or Netscape 4.7 or above
Sound Card (if you can hear audio you have a sound card)
Plug-ins: RealPlayer 7 or later; Flash Player 5 or later; Acrobat Reader 5 or later
(all plug-ins are free)

MAC OS 8.6 or higher
64 MB of RAM (128 recommended)
Monitor: 800x600 resolution recommended
Connection: Internet service and 56K modem minimum
Browser: Internet Explorer 5 or above or Netscape 4.7 or above
Sound Card (if you can hear audio you have a sound card)
Plug-ins: RealPlayer 7 or later; Flash Player 5 or later; Acrobat Reader 5 or later
(all plug-ins are free)

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