Ethical Reflection

Ethical Reflection forms the third, key component of the Shriver Peaceworker Program. Because Peaceworkers study in a variety of academic programs and serve in a variety of settings, this third component is the key to building a strong Peaceworker community and integrating their service and learning.

The Peaceworker Program includes a number of structured opportunities designed to enable Fellows to integrate the practical, theoretical and moral dimensions of their experience. Peaceworkers begin the program their first summer by enrolling together in a graduate seminar.  Building upon this seminar in subsequent Fall and Spring semesters, Peaceworkers enroll in a series of four Practicum seminars, each guided by a framing topic and core curriculum, but infused with the particular knowledge and experiences of the Peaceworker Fellows themselves. Meetings are interactive and include opportunities for discussing texts and films, but also encourage site visits, experiential learning, and special guest presenters. These seminars are interspersed with community retreats and individual advising sessions that provide additional and diverse opportunities for ethical reflection.

Summer Proseminar in Sociology: “Foundations in Ethics and Social Change”
This course serves as an introduction to the Shriver Peaceworker Program, initiating a conversation about issues, ideas, and methods of social change that will continue throughout the program’s two years.  The course has a number of goals which include fostering a purposeful community among Fellows and furthering their development as informed social critics and creative agents of progressive change.  Primary course topics include urban studies (from general theory to the specifics of Baltimore and Washington D.C.), moral imagination (with attention to cognitive processes, non-violent methods, and religious sensibility), and tools for civic engagement and social change (from the abstract and philosophical to the concrete and practical).  Course texts reflect this breadth of topics ranging from classics to contemporary and spanning a number of disciplines.

Sample of previous texts:

  • Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities.
  • Richard Rorty, Philosophy and Social Hope.
  • Scott Stossell, Sarge: The Life and Times of Sargent Shriver.
  • Sargent Shriver, The Point of the Lance.
  • Ed Orser, Blockbusting in Baltimore.
  • George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, Metaphors We Live By.

PRAC 090:  “Service, Peace, and the Individual: Ethics, Leadership, and Personal Practice
This seminar allows Fellows to explore the personal aspects of their service leadership and their work for peace.  What do service and peace mean for you and what is the source, the story, of your deepest ethical values?  How do you practice these values?  What does it mean to be a servant leader?  How do you take care of your “self” and sustain your work?  Who are the models that inspire you and what are their lessons?

Sample of previous texts:

  • Thich Nhat Hanh, Being Peace.
  • Robert Bellah, Habits of the Heart
  • Hunter Lewis, A Question of Values
  • Anne. Colby, William Damon, Some Do Care
  • John Lewis, Walking With the Wind
  • Otto Kroeger and Janet Thuesen, Type Talk at Work

PRAC 091: “Service, Peace, and Society: Social Formation and Social History”
This seminar steps back to consider the social and structural-level aspects of service and peace work.  What are some helpful methods and theories of social change?  What are the mechanisms of social construction, and how do these influence divisions of class, gender, race, sexual orientation and other defining social categories?  Are there lessons to be learned today from historical social change movements?  As emerging leaders for service and peace, what is your vision of society?  How are social critique and social hope interconnected visions?

Sample of previous texts

  • Robert Coles, The Call of Service
  • Cornel West, Race Matters
  • Robert Putnam, Bowling Alone
  • S. James, F. Marx, and P. Gilbert, Hoop Dreams (film)

PRAC 092: “Service, Peace, and Culture: Issues and Intersections”
This seminar explores the influence of culture on personal and social contexts.  What is culture and how does it shape who we are?  What have been some lessons of your intercultural experience?  Does culture have a politics?  Is culture resistant to change or open to it?  Is culture the surface veneer covering deep human universals, or is cultural difference a profound reality making human solidarity more a matter of openness to diversity rather than an acknowledgement of commonality?

Sample of previous texts:

  • Clifford Geertz, The Interpretation of Cultures
  • Gloria Anzaldua, Borderlands/La Frontera
  • Lawrence Harrison and Samuel Huntington, eds., Culture Matters
  • David Simon and Edward Burns, The Corner

PRAC 093: “Service and Peace-Building: The Meaning and Role of Religion and Spirituality”
This seminar explores the irony of religion and spirituality as they influence service and peace work.  Is religion the problem or the solution to building lasting peace?  How should religion and spirituality enter the public sphere: as personal influences or political forces?  What religious traditions have inspired great works of service and peacebuilding?  Is interfaith dialogue an important aspect of peace work?  Is there a fundamental global ethic underlying the myriad religious moral systems?

Sample of previous texts:

  • Dorothy Day, The Long Loneliness
  • Daniel Berrigan, The Trial of the Catonsville Nine
  • M.K. Gandhi, My Experiments with Truth
  • Jonathan Z. Smith, Dictionary of Religion
  • Huston Smith, The World’s Religions
  • Kung, Hans and Karl-Josef Kuschel, eds., A Global Ethic

Retreats:
In addition to these regular seminar meetings, Peaceworker Fellows gather three times each year (Summer, Fall, and Spring) for weekend retreats that combine skill-building workshops, ongoing issue discussions, and community building activities.

Sample of retreat sessions:

  • Workshops in facilitation, mediation, leadership, career development
  • Discussions of current events, local issues, and service placement case consultations
  • High / low ropes courses, team-building activities

Throughout the year Peaceworkers also have opportunities to share their experiences and learning by leading service reflection sessions for undergraduate service-learning students. Fellows also have regular individual advising meetings with the Peaceworker program director (five/year).  The agenda for these sessions is open and often includes brainstorming research or project ideas, discussing service placement issues, career planning and exploration, and other items of concern or interest.

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