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Reading Creatively for Social Change

Can you trust other people? More importantly, can you trust other people to cooperate toward positive social change? Many of the dominant understandings of human nature told over centuries tell us that people either look out for themselves, or can’t look past social norms, resulting in inaction. These stories influence politics and education; they also set a limit to what we think we can achieve. Hence reading those dominant stories of human nature, contrasted with evidence from across human knowledge and cultures, is an empowering means of imagining a better tomorrow.

Students in this course will learn at their own pace, and encounter many recent theoretical developments in philosophy, anthropology, and psychology to read against those popular narratives that depict humans as selfish and ruthless. Students will strengthen their reading and thinking skills by learning to spot and rethink the dominant stories at the heart of our modern understanding of human nature.

This course is delivered via four online modules: 

  • “The Human Crisis”; Albert Camus and the Possibility of Peace 
  • The State of Nature
  • Wicked Liberty
  • Human Action and Global Challenges

Students will also complete a five-hour practical workshop where they will critique the positions of Hobbes and Rousseau, and the narratives of human nature that have been derived from them. Students will then learn the art of reading dangerously, learning to critique and analyse a selection of more recent advances in psychology, anthropology, philosophy and economics, and the real world examples in those sources, to discover a more optimistic way of looking at human rights issues. 

About this experience

Designed for: High school students in Years 11 and 12 

Delivery: On campus/online

Learning time: A total of 24 hours of learning, consisting of: 

  • 10 hours of online modules on the Bond Learner platform
  • 5 hours face-to-face on campus
  • 9 hours of additional readings and assessment 

Online course start date: Monday, 29 July, 2024

Registrations close: Friday, 2 August, 2024

Practical workshop date: Friday, 9 August, 2024

Cost: $50

Location: Bond University Gold Coast campus

High school study areas

English and Literature Extension

Philosophy and Reason

IB Theory of Knowledge

Meet your educator

Dr Daniel Brennan

Dr Daniel Brennan teaches in ethics and literature. He is the author of The Political Thought of Vaclav Havel (Brill, 2017), Surfing and the Philosophy of Sport (Lexington, 2021). He also co-edited the recent volume Hannah Arendt and the History of Thought (Lexington, 2022) and has published articles on philosophy, politics, film, and literature in some of the world's leading journals. 

Daniel was awarded the Vice Chancellor's Award for Quality Teaching and Learning in 2021. Daniel's teaching philosophy focuses on the ability for creative thinking about the dominant stories of our time to generate new ideas and inspiration for action.

Hear from our students

  • Year 12 student

    I chose to complete the Reading Creatively for Social Change Learn for Credit course because I am interested in philosophy, and how different readings of things reveal their hidden philosophies. I loved the course; it was taught really well, and I loved meeting new people. I would describe the course as surprising, inspiring, and engaging. I would definitely recommend other students participate in a Learn for Credit course at Bond.

    Shani D - Grace Lutheran College
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