Gandhi & King

Gandhi & King

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Welcome to a virtual experience of a Union Theological Seminary Course! This class, taught by renowned faculty John Thatamanil and Cornel West, has been made available to the wider public to share a taste of what Union has to offer.

This course seeks to explore the life and teachings of Mohandas K. Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. Recent years have seen a considerable expansion of the literature on both figures. The time is ripe for a reconsideration of their legacy with respect to such central questions as the viability of nonviolent resistance in a context of neoliberalism, ecological devastation, the relationship between spirituality and political engagement, and the conflict between religious traditions. What is the meaning and promise of their double legacy for our time? What can both figures teach us about interreligious dialogue and learning? What is the relationship between the work of Gandhi and King and the later emergence of liberation theology? What can we learn from Malcolm X’s critique of King, B. R. Ambedkar’s critique of Gandhi and feminist critiques of both?

Please join us in watching these select lectures from the course.

Video 1: Introduction
Lecturers: Cornel West and John Thataminal


Video 2: Gandhi the Philosopher
Lecturers: Akeel Bilgrami

Akeel Bilgrami is Sidney Morgenbesser Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University. After a first degree in English Literature from Bombay University, he defected to philosophy because he found the former too hard. He went to Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar and there got another Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (1974). He has a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago (1983), after writing a dissertation, “Meaning as Invariance,” on the subject of the indeterminacy of translation and issues concerning realism and linguistic meaning. He joined the Philosophy Department in 1985 after spending two years as an Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

His book of selected essays on the moral psychology of politics entitled Secularism, Identity, and Enchantment was published by Harvard University Press in March 2014.  He is also contracted to publish two small books in the very near future, one called What is a Muslim? (Princeton University Press) and another on Gandhi’s philosophy, situating Gandhi’s thought in seventeenth century dissent in England and Europe and more broadly within the Radical Enlightenment and the radical strand in the Romantic tradition (Columbia University Press).