History and Principles of Quakerism (HIST, RELG 240)
This course examines the development of Quakerism and its relationship to other religious movements and to political and social life, especially in the United States of America. Special attention will be paid to the roots of the Society of Friends in 17th-century Britain and the expansion of Quaker influences among Third World populations, particularly the Native American, Hispanic, east African, and Asian populations.
Reinventing Quakerism: Haverford College, Rufus Jones, and the Invention of Liberal Quakerism (WRP186)
Quakerism isn’t stable. It varies from generation to generation. The form of Quakerism that is mostly closely associated with Haverford College today is, for example, quite different from the sort of Quakerism that was connected to the college in 1950s. That variety was Quakerism was, in turn, quite distinct from the one that was connected to Haverford a century earlier. There is a real sense in which Quakerism was reinvented in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.Students in the course will examine some of the changes that Quakerism underwent between the 1850s and the 1950s by examining the life and thought of Rufus Jones (1863-1948). Jones grew up in rural Maine, graduated from Haverford College in 1885 and taught at Haverford for most of his career. Jones was one of the founders of an organization—the American Friends Service Committee—that was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1947. He was a prolific author whose books won him international fame. Jones’s assertion that Quakerism is at heart a “mystical” faith was sagacious, provocative, and extremely influential.
Ethical Struggles in Catastrophic Times: Quakers’ Responses to the Holocaust (ICPR, PEAC, RELG H116)
In the 1930s and 1940s, Quakers engaged in a number of remarkable—and controversial—activities that were intended to provide assistance to people who were being persecuted by the Nazis. Those actions were criticized by some US citizens (who thought that Quakers were giving unwitting aid to the Nazis) and also derided by Nazis such as Joseph Goebbels (who thought that Quakers were demonstrating a complete lack of awareness about how the world really works.) Nevertheless, Quakers’ actions did end up saving some lives. Students in this course will examine what Quakers accomplished—and failed to accomplish—in the 1930s and 1940s. The course is not designed as a venue in which to decide, once and for all, which of the Quakers’ actions were wise and which were foolish. The course is meant, rather, to offer students an opportunity to reflect on the ethical questions with which Quakers wrestled and an invitation to compare those questions with on the ones they face themselves. Special attention will be paid the connections between Quakers’ responses to the Holocaust and Quakers’ religious beliefs and practices.
History of Haverford College: Conflict, Consensus, and the Liberal Arts (HIST 252)
This course introduces students to the history of Haverford College, with an emphasis on controversial moments that have defined the meaning of a Haverford education. What, if anything, makes Haverford College unique? How has its status as a school of Quaker origin been significant and does that legacy remain relevant today? Finally, what is the purpose of a values-based undergraduate liberal arts college education in the hyper-competitive, debt-fueled and increasingly consumerist educational marketplace found in the contemporary United States? These questions will be central to your intellectual development at Haverford and, hopefully, for the remainder of your lives. By the end of this semester, you will have begun to formulate your own answers. You will also know more about Haverford College than any other members of the campus community!