With Laura Greenfield

What does it mean to listen radically? This course focuses on the role of listening in communication practices geared towards sociopolitical transformation. Moving beyond listening as performance or listening as merely “active,” we will explore what kinds of listening practices open up opportunity for ethical change to happen. In particular, we will differentiate it from the kind of listening that usually happens in debates, discussions, and even general dialogue. Instead, we will explore the kind of consciousness-raising listening that can happen through dialogue but push it further to examine how to move from passive awareness to critical and active change-making as a result. In other words, what can we do ethically with what we have learned, and how can that vision re-inform our future listening practices? This course will invite theoretical exploration and hands-on practice as students encounter a variety of schools of thought. These might include components of nonviolent communication, intergroup dialogue, Buddhism, alternative medicine, resonant storytelling, and embodied listening, among others. We will also explore sociological research to understand barriers to radical listening, such as implicit biases related to social identities including race and gender. Guest speakers will provide a variety of perspectives, and frequent group activities and sessions with peer mentors from the Transformative Speaking Program will facilitate practical application.

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