We will look as objectively as possible at the social and cultural environments in which we live. We will seek to gain fresh perspectives on how we shape — and are shaped by — the multiple forces and environments that surround us. Why have we developed certain beliefs, perspectives, and behaviors? How much of our behavior is actually under conscious control? How much is dictated by our biological make-up or societal dictates? Current topics such as the January 6 insurrection (mob psychology); criminal acts (the Murdaugh killings, assaults on minorities, etc.); and the resurgence of fascism in America will be discussed along with classic findings from sociology, anthropology, biology, and psychology. We will also consider how free will relates to our behavior and to individual responsibility for our actions; how we develop our moral sense of right and wrong; and how race, gender, and social class affect our views of others.
Instructor Joel Shapiro, Ed.D. retired as Chair and full professor of education and psychology from Green Mountain College, Poultney, VT. He won a Fulbright Scholarship to teach at the University of Presov, Slovak Republic and wrote a book for college professors on ways to successfully integrate international students into American classrooms. Additionally, he wrote numerous articles for American and European professional journals and lectured at universities and conferences throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. Joel has won teaching awards at several colleges. Prior to beginning his academic career, he was a school psychologist working with children with special needs. He received his Bachelor’s degree from Colgate University, his Master’s degree from Temple University and his doctorate from Nova Southeastern University.
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