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J. Gray Cox
Gray Cox, professor of political economics, history and peace studies, received a B.A. in the College of Social Studies at Wesleyan University in Connecticut and an M.A. and Ph.D. in philosophy at Vanderbilt University. He has taught at Middle Tennessee State University and Earlham College as well as College of the Atlantic where his teaching includes courses designed to prepare students to collaborate effectively in interdisciplinary projects dealing with human ecological problems in a wide variety of complex contexts and cross-cultural settings. He regularly leads the winter term program in Mexico.
Gray's publications include a variety of articles on social theory and philosophy and two books: The Will at the Crossroads: A Reconstruction of Kant's Moral Philosophy (University Press of America, 1983) and The Ways of Peace: A Philosophy of Peace as Action (Paulist Press, 1986). Gray is a singer-songwriter who has put out two CDs ï¿½ one in Spanish, "Todos Somos Otros," and another in English, Spanish and French, "Streetlight and Colorado." Both are available, along with other live recordings, on his website as well as through Klarity Music.
Gray has collaborated in a variety of projects in community organizing, peace work, election observation and sustainable development. The most recent was serving as translator and narrator for a video documentary on the impact of Hurricane Isidoro on the Ejido of San Crisanto, in Yucatan.
B.A. Wesleyan University, 1974
Ph.D. Philosophy, Vanderbilt University, 1981
HS725Advanced Tutorial in Interdisciplinary Research Methods
This is an advanced tutorial for students who want to use history, anthropology and social science research in their work on community organizing, social change efforts or public policy advocacy. Human ecological approaches to such problems and studies require using interdisciplinary methods to integrate different points of view and different theories in a more comprehensive understanding of a person, text, situation or problem. But how can we do that? What sorts of things are ?methods?, ?theories? and ?disciplines? and how can they be integrated? How is theoretical research related to practical action? How should we deal with the ethical issues that come up in research? How do modern vs. post-modern or neo-liberal vs. neo-Marxist or hermeneutic vs. quantitative views of these things differ? The aim of this tutorial is to cultivate students? abilities to deal with these questions in sophisticated and effective ways in the context of on going research and action projects in human ecology. It deals with challenges in choosing and using methods of research, the construction and application of theories in interdisciplinary contexts, and the negotiation of issues arising in planning and pursing a research process or action project and dealing with ethical issues that arise in it. It is specifically designed to support student work in internships, residencies, senior projects and master?s theses. It presupposes familiarity with the practice of at least two disciplines in the humanities and public policy areas (e. g. history and political science, literature and economics or ethnography and agro-ecology). Students will meet once a week as a learning group and also once a week, independently, with the professor. Tutorial sessions will focus on two kinds of readings: 1.) a selection of articles and chapters dealing with methodological, theoretical, ethical and other aspects of research processes and action projects and 2.) case study materials focused on the pr
HS652Beyond Relativism: Negotiating Ethics in the 21st Century
How can - and should - questions of ethics get resolved in the contexts of interdisciplinary and multiperspectival dialogue, conflict and decision making - as when two communities need to resolve disputes and each have different paradigms of thought and action? These questions may come up in dealing with human ecological problems when people from different professions, religions, or other cultural and social settings need to deal with each other to address common problems and opportunities. They also arise in business, government and NGO work when people pursue socially responsible projects and policies of a variety of sorts. This course will look at the common strategies in normative ethics for dealing with these problems as well as explore ways in which methods of negotiation and conflict transformation can also be helpful. Readings will include classic texts from Aristotle, the Bible, Mill, Kant, Nietzsche, and Buber as well as contemporary readings in professional ethics, in conflict transformation, and philosophical ethics (such as Alasdair MacIntyre's After Virtue). Students will write a series of short papers on texts and case studies and develop a final project in which they work to identify and resolve an ethical problem. Evaluation will be based on class participation, papers, and the final project Level: Introductory/Intermediate. Lab fee: $20. *HS*
HS433Conflict and Peace
How does conflict arise and how is it best dealt with? What is peace and how is it best arrived at or practiced? This course combines a study of major theoretical perspectives with lab work practicing skills and disciplines associated with different traditions of conflict resolution, conflict transformation and peacemaking. Readings will include Roger Fisher, William Ury, Gandhi, Thich Nhat Hanh, Walter Wink, Gene Sharp, Dorothy Day, Elise Boulding, Gray Cox and others. Lab work will involve role plays, case studies, workshops with visitors, and field work. The course will also involve one, mandatory, weekend long workshop. Level: Intermediate. Offered every other year. *HS*
HS768Contemporary Continental Thought
This course examines pivotal works and ideas of late 20th and early 21st century Continental thinkers. It will take a collaborative, seminar approach to key works including Derrida on "Differance", Cixous and Derrida's "Veils", Deleuze and Guatarri's "Anti-Oedipus", Lyotard's "The Post-Modern Condition", and Zizek's "The Sublime Object of Ideology" as well as shorter essays by other writers such as Foucault, Badiou, Baudrillard, Habermas and Harraway. Students and the instructor will take turns leading analyses of texts, their contexts, and their significance. Students will also be required to do short weekly writings with a major term paper on an author and topic of their choice. Evaluations will be based on the quality of class participation as well as the creativity, insight and clarity of analysis in work leading class sessions, short essays and the final paper. The course presupposes some familiarity with the philosophical tradition to which these writers respond and an ability to engage in careful analysis of very challenging texts. If necessary the class the will be subdivided into sections to insure that students have a small seminar experience that is appropriately challenging for their level of skill and background. Writing-focus option. Level: Intermediate/Advanced; Permission of instructor required; Class limit: 20; Lab fee $20, *HS*
HS497Contemporary Social Movement Strategies
When groups organize others to promote social change, what alternative strategies do they employ and how effective are they in varying circumstances? Can any general principles or methods for social change be gleaned from the successes and difficulties encountered in various social movements around the world? We will use Bill Moyer's DOING DEMOCRACY and a series of other theoretical readings to look at general models and strategies. And we will use a series of case studies including, for instance, the Zapatistas, Moveon.org, the liberation of Eastern Europe, the U. S. Civil Rights Movement, the anti-Globalizaton movement, the Breast Cancer Social Movement and the Gay and Lesbian movement. Students will write a series of short analyses of cases considered in class and do extended case studies on their own. Evaluation will be based on the quality of class participation, research and writing. Level: Intermediate. Lab fee $25. *HS* *HY*
HS726Continental Philosophy: Self & Other from Kant to Foucault
This course will introduce students to – and give them practice working with – some of the central concerns, concepts, and philosophical methods associated with the continental European traditions that grow out of and respond to the transcendental idealism initiated by Kant. Ways in which understandings of objects, the Self, freedom and relations with others vary will be used as central themes to explore connections and contrasts between these philosophers. The central texts focused on will include include material from Kant’s FIRST CRITIQUE and his moral philosophy, Hegel’s PHENOMENOLOGY, Kierkegaard’s FEAR AND TREMBLING, Martin Buber’s I AND THOU and Foucault’s THE HISTORY OF SEXUALITY, PART I. Other texts that may be read in excerpts include, 20th century writings on phenomenology and existentialism Tillich, Freire, Sartre, de Beauvoir. Class format will alternate between lecture, discussion and seminar style textual exegesis. Evaluations will be based on a series of short papers and a final paper on an independent reading agreed upon. Class discussions will include occasional examination of passages in the original language of the primary texts. Students with fluency in German, French, Spanish or Danish will be encouraged to practice exegesis in the original language. The level will be introductory to intermediate but students wishing to take the course at a more advanced level with more extended work in exegesis of difficult texts may arrange to do so.
Level: Introductory. Lab fee $20. Class limit: 20. *HS*
HS776Doing Human Ecology in Cross-cultural Contexts: France
This course is part of a program in French Language and Culture in Vichy, France. It will provide credit for the winter orientation process preparatory for the program, learning from homestay in Vichy, the other cultural experiences that are a part of the program and for the final two week project. This final project will be in the local community working with a bakery, a farm, an NGO, a government agency, a business or some other organization that fits with their interests and provides them with an opportunity for practical learning of French language and culture in an immersion context. The course is designed to employ group exercises and individual reflections on experiences to develop the student's insight into French culture specifically and, just as importantly, into the process of learning a second language and entering into cross-cultural exchange and collaboration. Skills and insights from anthropology, history and conflict resolution will be cultivated. Evaluation will be based on the student's ability to demonstrate skills and insights into cross-cultural collaboration and learning through short papers based on journal writing, the final project report, and the successful completion of homestay, community collaboration and other immersion activities. Prerequisite: at least one course in French language. Requirements: Co-enrollment in HS775 "Immersion Program in French Language and Culture" and permission of instructor. Level: Intermediate; Class limit: 12; Program fee: $3,390
HS878Ethics: The History of a Problematic
This is a course on the history of ethical thinking in the West. It deals with ways that philosophers from Socrates, Plato and Aristotle to Aquinas, Bentham, Kant, Marx, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, A. J. Ayer, Sartre, de Beauvoir, Sara Ruddick, Gandhi, Nozick, Rawls and Alasdair MacIntyre have addressed questions like the following: What is the best way to live as individuals - and what does this imply about how we should structure our society? Why are there so many types of moral disagreements in modern societies? Why do these disagreements never seem to end but go on indefinitely? Are there ways to resolve these disputes that are persuasive between ethical traditions and across cultures? The central text for the course will be MacIntyre's AFTER VIRTUE which provides a systematic narrative for the history of Western ethics that claims to diagnose its core problems and provide solutions. Key texts and passages from the philosophers central to that narrative will be examined in detail and interpreted in light of their historical contexts using material from texts such as W. T. Jones HISTORY OF WESTERN PHILOSOPHY and Copleston's HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY. Students will develop skills to critically analyze philosophical texts and arguments in both their theoretical and historical contexts through class discussion, role plays, and a series of short papers. There are no prerequisite courses but students must be prepared to deal with complex arguments that move between philosophy, history and other disciplines.
Level: Introductory/Intermediate. Prerequisites: none. Class limit: 15. Lab fee: $25. *HS*
HS822Existentialism and Post-Modernism from Nietzsche to Irigary
This is a study of key texts in the tradition of Existentialism and Post-modernism. As a point of entry into the full range of themes, questions and ideas in that tradition, it focuses on the ways in which authors frame and interpret the experiences of freedom and of love. Are these the most profound and important aspects of human being-in-the-world or illusions used to manipulate the masses? How is individual freedom related to communal liberation? What role does love play in struggles for individual redemption or national liberation? How are experiences of freedom and love gendered? How are they related to instinctual drives for power or sex? What is the nature of the self and how is it realized or transformed by acts of freedom or love, or by events and institutional trends in history? Texts may include: Nietzsche's GENEALOGY OF MORALS, Kierkegaard's FEAR AND TREMBLING, selected readings from Michel Foucault, Luce Irigary's THE WAY OF LOVE, Paulo Freire's THE PEDAGOGY OF THE OPPRESSED, Sartre's "Existentialism is a Humanism", and selections from Simone de Beauvoir"s THE SECOND SEX and Martin Buber's I AND THOU. Two films will also be used as texts. Students with relevant skills will be encouraged to work with texts in the original languages. Evaluation will be based on the level of understanding of - and engagement with - texts studied and the development of skills in textual analysis and writing as demonstrated in class participation, a series of short papers, and a final project. Level: Intermediate. Prerequisites: none. Class limit: 20. Lab fee: $25. *HS*
Are we approaching a point of radical change in human history in which exponential technological change will result in a "singularity", a transformation so rapid and fundamental that we will not be able to comprehend it? What will be the principal features of life on Earth in the mid-future - 20 to 40 years from now - and how should we best plan to deal with them? To what extent will they be the result of unavoidable historical trends, human planning and invention, or random contingencies? What skills and methods can we learn to imagine the future, invent it, predict it, plan for it and/or cope with it? This is an advanced course in human ecology that will adopt a very interdisciplinary approach. It will include readings in public policy by social scientists and futurists like Ray Kurzweil, Alvin Toffler, Otto Scharmer and James Martin as well as works in fiction and film. Classes will combine a seminar format for critical discussions of readings with exercises in using different methods for dealing with the future. These will include a weekend workshop in futures invention using methods developed by Warren Ziegler and Elise Boulding. This workshop will be open to public participation. Members of the COA community interested in renewing the College curriculum are especially encouraged to participate. Students will be expected to take part in leading seminar sessions, develop reports on alternative approaches to dealing with the future and visions of it, and do a major final project. The final project should a vision/description of some key features of a desired, possible future and strategies for promoting it. It may use interdisciplinary theories, predictive models, narrative, visual art or other creative approaches to developing it. Standards of evaluation will presume intermediate to advanced levels of competency in the disciplines used in the final project. There will be a weekly lab session. Level: Advanced. Pre-requisites: Signature of instr
HE001Human Ecology Core Course
Human Ecology is the interdisciplinary study of the relationships between humans and their natural and cultural environments. The purpose of this course is to build a community of learners that explores the question of human ecology from the perspectives of the arts, humanities and sciences, both in and outside the classroom. By the end of the course students should be familiar with how differently these three broad areas ask questions, pose solutions, and become inextricably intertwined when theoretical ideas are put into practice. In the end, we want students to be better prepared to create your own human ecology degree through a more in depth exploration of the courses offered at College of the Atlantic. We will approach this central goal through a series of directed readings and activities. Level: Introductory. Lab fee: TBA. *HE*
HS775Immersion Program in French Language and Culture
This double credit course is offered through collaboration with CAVILAM university as part of the COA program in Vichy, France. For eight weeks, students take 20 hours a week of language classes and workshops taught by immersion methods and advanced audio-visual techniques. Students also live with host families in homestays and take part in a variety of cultural activities. They are carefully tested and placed at levels appropriate to their ability and are expected to advance in all four language skills - reading, writing, speaking and listening - as gauged by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages scale of learning levels. Level: Beginning to advanced (depending on prior language level). Requirements: co-enrollment in HS776 "Doing Human Ecology in Cross-cultural Contexts: France" and permission of instructor. Class limit: 12
HS464Left, Right and Future: Alternative Political Philosophies
This course looks at some of the key philosophies behind alternative political systems people around the world use to govern themselves or propose to use in the future. The aims of the course are: 1.) to increase specific knowledge about some important examples of alternative political philosophies and systems that embody them and 2) to develop analytic skills for understanding key systematic features of these alternatives, for evaluating their key merits and flaws, andn for advocating alternatives. Readings will include Plato's Republic, The Communist Manifesto, selections from fascist, liberal, and anarchist writers as well as some case study readings in comparative politics. There will be a strong emphasis on discussion skills and writing. Evaluation will be based on class participation and a series of short papers. Especially recommended for people interested in community organizing, public policy work and education. Level: Introductory/intermediate. Prerequisites: None. *HS*
HS724Numbers, Names, and Narratives: Doing H.E. in H.S.
This is a course for students who want to use history, anthropology and social science research in their work on community organizing, social change efforts or public policy advocacy. Human ecological approaches to such problems and studies require using interdisciplinary methods to integrate different points of view and different theories in a more comprehensive understanding of a person, text, situation or problem. But how can we do that? What sorts of things are "methods", "theories" and "disciplines" and how can they be integrated? How is theoretical research related to practical action? How should we deal with the ethical issues that come up in research? How do modern vs. post-modern or neo-liberal vs. neo-Marxist or hermeneutic vs. quantitative views of these things differ? The aim of this course is to develop students' abilities to articulate different ways of framing these questions and answering and to develop their abilities to apply those questions and answers in projects in human ecology, including in internships, residencies and senior projects. The class will examine a series of texts that provide case studies that address these problems at a practical as well as philosophical and methodological level. Work for the class will include a series of short papers and exercises that provide descriptions and critical analyses of texts read in class and provide applications of theories and methods to a project. Texts used may include, for instance: ALBION'S SEED by David Hackett Fischer, THE EVALUATION OF CULTURAL ACTION by Howard Richards, THE ETHNOGRAPHIC METHOD by James Spradley, THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW by Wade Davis, THE TWO MILPAS OF CHAN KOM by Alicia Re Cruz, INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH: PROCESS AND THEORY by Allen F. Repko, and a series of other short articles and chapters. NOTE: This course is especially recommended for sophomores and juniors interested in pursuing advance work in Human Studies. A more advanced tutorial is available.
HS841Tutorial: Possible Future Paradigms
This tutorial explore the possibilities for very deep change in humanity?s framework for understanding and existing in the world. What are alternatives to the dominant paradigms of today and how can we best understand these alternatives? What might life on earth might be like in the near future? How will people live? How will people think? How will people organize themselves? Who will have power? What will we value? How and what will people eat and consume? How do paradigms shift? Will there even be a new dominant paradigm? How will we get there - by force or by choice? As the tutorial proceeds we will progressively focus the alternatives considered, the questions focused on and the ways in which they are dealt with based on student interest, findings in research and analysis we develop as a group. Members of the tutorial will meet weekly with the professor to discuss readings and short response papers. Mid-way through the term they will conduct interviews with an array of faculty and students. They will also aim to have a weekly open forum for discussion with members of the COA community at large, to provide wider perspective and more ideas. The final project will be for students to craft a large scale concept/idea map of the material encountered in the term which will include their own vision of a future world. Students will be evaluated on the extent to which their comments in discussion and in the weekly open forums, their response papers and their final projects demonstrate: a thorough and critical reading of texts; a progressively deeper grasp of the contents of the texts; the ability to articulate and analyze systems of ideas cogently; the ability to think creatively and concretely about alternative futures paradigms; the ability to write clear, effective, analytic texts; and an ability to design and pursue independent lines of inquiry and self-directed learning on their own.