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Assignment 1 (for Friday, January 21 at 5:00 PM, via Canvas)

In 1 Corinthians 13 (Links to an external site.), St. Paul lists several characteristics of love:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

In “‘Only Connect …’ The Goals of a Liberal Education (Links to an external site.),” William Cronon enumerates “the ten qualities I most admire in the people I know who seem to embody the values of a liberal education, starting with: “They listen and they hear.”  He concludes his essay with: “Liberal education nurtures human freedom in the service of human community, which is to say that in the end it celebrates love.”

In a 1200 to 1800 word essay, evaluate Cronon’s statement. Your essay should include the following sections:

  • Which of the characteristics enumerated by St. Paul–patience, kindness, etc.–come most readily to you? Why? Which ones are harder to attain? Why are they hard to attain?
  • With which of Cronon’s ten qualities-listening and hearing, etc.–do you think you are most proficient? Why? With which ones are you not yet proficient? What steps do you hope to take to become more proficient in these qualities?*
  • If members of the Middlebury community–students, faculty, staff–were to become significantly more loving, using St. Paul’s criteria, how would our community change? How (if at at all) would we better achieve the ideals of the liberal arts?
  • In the introduction to all about love (Links to an external site.), bell hooks writes: “Schools for love do not exist.” Should Middlebury commit itself to being a “school for love?” Why or why not? If you believe it should, what first steps should our Middlebury community take toward that goal, and who should lead them?

* As you take on the first part of this essay, recall your personal reflections on “What matters you” and “the shoulders you stand on.”

Assignment 2 (for Friday, January 28 at 5:00 PM, via Canvas)

Building on the legacies of bell hooks, Gandhi, John Lewis and others, what leaders and public intellectuals are making a case for in love in action now? For this assignment, pick one such leader and research what they say and–critically–what they do. Then answer the following questions in a 1200 to 1800 word essay:

  • What is their vision for love in action?
  • How is their vision similar to those of the folks we’ve learned from? How does it differ?
  • Are you convinced by their approach? Why or why not?
  • Does their work make you more or less confident about the potential for love in action in our troubled times?

Assignment 3 (for Friday, February 4 at 5:00 PM, via Canvas) – draft

  • Your journal
  • Your interview