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COURSE NUMBER: SSCI 320
COURSE TITLE: The Study of Voluntary Simplicity
NAME OF INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Joanne Moyer
CREDIT WEIGHT AND WEEKLY TIME DISTRIBUTION: credits 3(hrs lect 3 - hrs sem 0 - hrs lab 0)
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Voluntary Simplicity has a long history as a personal and community response to societal concerns ranging from poverty and inequality to problematic cultural influences and environmental degradation. This course examines the concept, theory, and practice of Voluntary Simplicity as an alternative value system and lifeway. The course explores Voluntary Simplicity's historical roots and contemporary expressions, emphasizing its contribution to environmental sustainability, social justice, community vitality, and personal well-being.

Prerequisites: 3 credits of ENVS 200, EDUC 363, GEOG 310 or 321, ECON, POLI, SOCI, PSYC (not 327, 370, 375, 385, or 477)

Same as ENVS 320.
REQUIRED TEXTS:
  • Mark A. Burch. 2000. Stepping Lightly: Simplicity for the People and the Planet. Gabriola Island: New Catalyst Books.
  • Doris Janzen Longacre, and Valerie Weaver-Zercher (Ed.) 2010. Living More with Less. Scottsdale: Herald Press.
  • Other Readings as assigned (see page 4), posted on Moodle. See page 8 for bibliography. 
MARK DISTRIBUTION IN PERCENT:
Participation 10%
Practice of Simplicity 20%
Historical Profile 20%
Group Project and Presentation 15%
Class Project 10%
Take-Home Exam 25%
100%
COURSE OBJECTIVES: To enable to students to:
  • Understand the history, context, and theory of the voluntary simplicity movement.
  • Engage with and critically reflect on voluntary simplicity practice.
  • Consider the implications and applications of voluntary simplicity in addressing local and global issues, such as economic equity, environmental sustainability, community building, and quality of life.
  • Develop and improve their writing and oral presentation skills, and their ability to work in groups.
  • Apply voluntary simplicity principles in their own lives and communities.
COURSE OUTLINE:
  • Course Introduction; Voluntary Simplicity: Definitions and Roots
  • Religion and Spirituality
  • Mindfulness - Guest: Chris Peet
  • Personal Simplicity - Self-Sufficiency "field trip"
  • Community Guest: Rosalie Gelderman
  • Work and Livelihood - field trip
  • Economy and Environment - Guest: Gerda Kits
  • Technology and Transportation - Guests: Amy Feaver, Rem Kooistra
  • Equity and Non-violence
  • Resisting Consumption: Activism and Social Transformation
  • Conclusion


Required texts, assignments, and grade distributions may vary from one offering of this course to the next. Please consult the course instructor for up to date details.

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