Try to define freedom. Do you land on words like choice, speech, or even obligation? Does your language emerge from the realm of politics or literature, psychology or religion? In this course, we will study the evolving idea and experience of freedom, especially in the American context. Studying texts chosen from ancient philosophy, modern literature, and political history, we will read excerpts from Thucydides, the American Founding Fathers, Frederick Douglass, and Herman Melville. We will ask ourselves how the idea of freedom has developed in American life and begin to shape our own definitions of a concept that has great relevance for our moral and political lives, particularly in a time of uncertainty, instability, and anxiety.
Dr. Tamara Tweel
Dr. Tamara Mann Tweel is Director of Civic Initiatives at the Teagle Foundation. She joined the Foundation in 2019. Previously, she served as the Founder and Director of Civic Spirit and the Associate Director of the Freedom and Citizenship Program at Columbia University. She currently teaches in the American Studies Program at Columbia University and serves on the Advisory Council of the Princeton University Office of Religious Life. Tweel received a master’s degree in theological studies from the Harvard Divinity School and a doctorate in history from Columbia University. In 2009, she received the K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award from the Association of American Colleges and Universities. She recently testified before Congress on the value of the humanities, bringing the stories of the Freedom and Citizenship students to our national representatives. Her work has been published in numerous academic and popular journals, magazines, and newspapers, including The Washington Post, The Harvard Divinity Bulletin, The Journal of World History, and Inside Higher Ed.
Meet the Instructor
Tikvah aims to make all of our courses available to as many qualified students as possible. In the event that Tikvah needs to add additional sections, this course may be taught by a different faculty member with a similarly high level of expertise.