Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS) 164-A with Professor Michael Nagler

Theory and Practice of Nonviolence

When Michael Nagler taught at UC Berkeley, he ran a very popular course on the theory and practice of nonviolence out of the Peace and Conflict Studies Department. The entire course was filmed and is now archived with us at the Metta Center for Nonviolence. We've set it up for you here with video and transcripts for each lecture, as well as the course reader!

About PACS 164A (from the course reader):
This section of the course is dedicated to the theory and practice of nonviolence, especially principled nonviolence, which Mahatma Gandhi called "The greatest force at the disposal of humankind." We will in fact be using Gandhi as our primary example, since he was the first, and remains so far the greatest pioneer of this science. The main purpose of the course is to help us understand how nonviolence works, which will enable us to account for its successes and failures -and ultimately understand how to use it in our own lives as well as a tool for social change. The theory will emerge from a fairly close study of the history of nonviolence from earliest times up to the brief career of Martin Luther King, Jr., with particular emphasis on the career of Gandhi first in South Africa (1893-1914) and then in India (1915-1948). Students will become familiar with this history and develop a way to analyze it, so that they leave the course more able to understand (and communicate with others) some of the basic laws of nonviolent dynamics.

Your Instructor

Professor Michael Nagler
Professor Michael Nagler

Michael Nagler is Founder & President of the Metta Center for Nonviolence. He is also Professor Emeritus of Classics and Comparative Literature at UC, Berkeley, where he co-founded the Peace and Conflict Studies Program. He is director of the documentary film on nonviolence, The Third Harmony, author of The Third Harmony: Nonviolence and the New Story of Human Nature, The Search for a Nonviolent Future, and The Nonviolence Handbook: A Guide for Practical Action. Michael is a long-term practitioner of passage meditation and resides in an ashram in Northern California.

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.

Get started now!