COOL CLASSES: “Quaker Social Witness”

This seminar examines the commitment to social justice within the Religious Society of Friends and highlights its historical and current manifestations.

Class Name: “Quaker Social Witness”

Taught by: Visiting Instructor of Independent College Programs Bridget Moix


Here’s what Moix had to say about her class:

“Quaker Social Witness” examines the practical and theological commitment of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) to work for a more peaceful, just, and sustainable world. We explore the spiritual foundations, historical record, and current-day practice of Friends in seeking to live out their faith in a world that often seems to run contrary to the foundational Quaker testimonies of integrity, equality, peace, community, and stewardship of the earth. We use the history of Haverford, individual Friends’ lives, the work of Quaker organizations, and interactions with guest speakers to delve into a wide range of topics and get a hands-on feel for what Quaker social witness is in the world, past and present.

I hope students gain both a grounding in how and why Quakers have sought to live their faith in the world over the centuries, and a deeper understanding of their own personal commitments and values as well.  The class is designed for students who have never interacted with Quakerism before, as well as those who have grown up as Friends or been active with the Society of Friends in different ways. I also hope students take away a clear-sighted view of Quaker social witness, with both an appreciation for what Friends offer the world and a critical eye on where our flaws and challenges are as well.

I inherited this class from Kaye Edwards, who created and taught it for a number of years. I was thrilled to be asked to take on teaching the course because I have worked most of my life with Quaker organizations engaged in the work of social witness in different ways in the world, and the course is a chance to share that experience and what I’ve learned from so many other Friends along the way.  It is also a chance to step back from the day-to-day intensity of seeking to bear witness to Quaker values in an often troubled and troubling world, and engage with students in a deeper reflection on why I do what I do as a Friend and what we can learn together. I do believe we all have a unique role to play in helping make the world a better place, and I feel nourished and energized from this course as much as I hope the students do.


See what other courses Independent College Programs is offering this semester.  

Photo by Patrick Montero.

Cool Classes is a series that highlights interesting, unusual, and unique courses that enrich the Haverford experience.