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Margo Chavez-Charles,
Core: Humanities    



This class is an exploration of the tradition of dissent. Beginning with Socrates, we will look at the stories of those individuals or groups of people who spoke up against the status quo to defend something precious to them. We will debate the morality, the practicality and the effectiveness of their dissent and of their means of dissent. Socrates lived in the earliest great democracy, so it is fitting to begin with him as we carry our investigation to our modern times and our modern democracies in which the right to dissent must still be safeguarded. Our exploration will carry us into the meaning of democracy and of freedom. Ultimately, we are interested in applying this knowledge to a current re-assessment of American democracy, and of dissent and its effectiveness.

As with all University Honors classes, an important objective is to develop our skills within the seminar format: the skills of engaged discussion, attentive reading and listening, and clarity in written and oral expression.


•              Plato, The Apology and excerpts from Phaedo

•              Sophocles, Antigone

•              Aristophanes, Lysistrata

•              Machiavelli, excerpts from The Prince

•              Gandhi, Gandhi on Non-Violence

•              Lillian Hellman, Scoundrel Time

•              Howard Zinn, The People Speak: American Voices, Some Famous, Some Little Known

•              Andrew J. Bacevich, The Limits of Power

•              Course Reader purchased from the Honors office with selected readings to include Martin Luther King,  Noam Chomsky, Henry David Thoreau and others.



Regular attendance; active listening and participation in discussion; weekly responses or observations; group activities; one 5-page paper; one final paper of 8-10 pages; portfolio with reflective essay.


Margo Chavez-Charles uses history and literature in her interdisciplinary classes at the Honors College to create classes revolving around issues of peace and war, social justice, and intercultural communication. She regularly works with the Honors College intensive Spanish language and culture program (Conexiones) in Spain or Latin America.