*Abbreviations under the "Available" column: A = Available // NA = Not Available // R = Previously Registered // WL = Currently on the Wait List

Civics in Charlottesville: Meetings of Opposites

Political polarization is only one symptom of the national disease which afflicts us. As a country, we’ve been working as opposites–Us against Them–for so long that our social compact has suffered grievous harm. I’m hoping to renew the substance of our polity, our stake in each other–a modest aim. But, this course is an experiment, a first attempt.
“In genuine  dialogue,” says Martin Buber, “–no matter whether spoken or silent–each of the participants really has in mind the other or others in their present and particular being and turns to them with the intention of establishing a living mutual relation between himself and them.” Buber’s word for this experience of genuine dialogue–the opposite of debate–is “Meeting.” Even in Charlottesville, supposedly the happiest place on earth, we never achieved a real dialogue on the Western Bypass, for example. Now a heated argument has flared about what to do with the statue in Lee Park. Our challenge is not to win a debate. It is to walk uphill together. To enable that musculature, we need this phenomenon of Meeting. What is it to establish among ourselves Buber’s living “mutual relation”?  Using philosophy from Buber and others, experiences adapted from Outward Bound, research into perception and inquiry into the substance of our experience of others, we might be able to shift the culture of the country we live in.  

Instructor Bio:

An independent academic, schoolteacher, and exercise instructor, Henry McHenry grew up in Birmingham, AL, graduated from Yale, and has taught for years in the Upward Bound program and as a substitute in Albemarle County schools. He holds a PhD in English Language, Literature, and Pedagogy from UVA and is the author of From Cognition to Being: Prolegomena for Teachers.

Recommended Reading:

Buber, Martin. I and Thou, 1996. Volf, Miroslav. Exclusion and Embrace, 1996.

Course Number Instructor Dates Day Time Location Available
A31 Henry McHenry Jr. Feb 23, Mar 2, 9 Th 10:00-11:30 a.m. OLLI Conference Room WL

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