August 08, 2014, BY Heather Johns

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Welcome to "Cool Classes," a regular feature that highlights the interesting, intriguing and unexpected in Bucknell University's course catalog.

What class? RELI 234: Martin Luther King and the Beloved Community: New Perspectives and Possibilities

Who teaches it? Professor Carol White, religious studies

"Many Americans are unaware that in the 1960s Martin Luther King Jr. offered a global vision of justice and equality in which the highest standards of humanistic principles prevailed. Integral to that vision was the formation of a 'beloved community,' where the powerful spirit of human goodness and compassion would help overcome myriad social problems (hunger, homelessness, bigotry, hatred, illiteracy, etc.).

"This service-learning course is cool because it offers new, fuller ways of both understanding and participating in the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. in the 21st century. Through course readings, community service (both on and off campus), and various reflection and writing exercises, we explore the possible levels of meaning of MLK's beloved community today as we address broad social justice themes such as non-violence, racial justice, gender equality, eco-justice, LGBT civil rights, poverty and myriad forms of discrimination.

"I am hoping students will begin to see the relevance of Martin Luther King's expansive vision today beyond its historical setting of the civil rights era in the 1960s — and to recognize that they can also participate in his legacy today through various forms of community service.

"They will be reinvigorating traditional ideas — community, love, activism, compassion and social justice — as they help re-create new forms of the beloved community today."

See what else is being offered by the Department of Religious Studies.

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