PHIL 350 – Radical Self-Care

This is a higher-level seminar on philosophy as a way of life that will explore how the notion of self-care has been developed and deployed throughout history by several political theorists and activists, including Mohandas Gandhi, MLK Jr., Nelson Mandela, Audre Lorde, Angela Davis, bell hooks, and Sara Ahmed.

When conducted in the present day, reflection on how one should live naturally requires attending to matters of sociopolitical concern, such as healthcare inequities, environmental degradation, wealth disparities, and prison reform. An investigation into the links between personal and social well-being has so far been something of a lacuna in the field of philosophy as a way of life, though in a variety of formulations and across several traditions, practices of self-care and self-formation have typically been seen as continuous with (and even a prerequisite for) a robust engagement with others and the pursuit of social justice causes. We will explore the connection between these two domains in this course. As a project during the semester, students will be asked to engage in a cause that matters to them by implementing selected ideas from the thinkers and activists that we’ll be studying.

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