Syllabus Update

Course Information

Limited Enrollment:
Dept Web Page:

Additional information/Expanded description:

Silence and Witness. The Quaker Tradition by Michael L. Birkel, Orbis Books (2004)

Selected pamphlets from Pendle Hill, Friends General Conference, Friends Bulletin

John Woolman: A Nonviolence and Social Change Source Book ed. by Sterling Olmsted and Mike Heller, Wilmington College Peace Resource Center (1997)

Mothers of Feminism. The Story of Quaker Women in America by Margaret Hope Bacon, Friends General Conference (1986)

The Intrepid Quaker: One Mans Quest for Peace. Memoirs, Speeches and Writings of Stephen G. Cary, Pendle Hill Publications (2003)

Additional articles posted on Blackboard and books on reserve in Magill Library.


Class participation 20%
Exam on Quakerism 15%
Written Assignments
Interview 15%
Reflection 20%
Final Project 30%


WEEKS 1-3: Who are the Quakers? Why social witness and not social action?

Background on the Religious Society of Friends


WEEKS 4-5: Elaborating Quaker Testimonies

Social Testimony

Assignment: Written interview with a Quaker, exploring his/her experiences in social witness, 5pp. (A list of Quakers who have agreed to be interviewed will be provided; I will coordinate this assignment to not burden individual interviewees.)

WEEKS 6-10: Spiritual Leadings and Friendly Followings

John Woolman (1720-1772)

Impact of Quaker women and Quaker attitudes about women (1800-1920)

Assignment: Reflections on readings by and about Woolman or Quaker women, 7-10 pp. Specifically, in what ways do they and dont they speak to you as you struggle to understand and act on a current social problem of particular concern to you.

WEEKS 11-14: Quakers in the 20th and 21st centuries.
We will begin our exploration of modern Quakers by considering the life of Steve Cary (1915-2002), a weighty Friend and beloved member of the Haverford community.

We will conclude the class by examining four Quaker organizations in more detail through their websites, printed resources, and conversations with current and former staff members.

FINAL PROJECT: Analysis of a current Quaker project on social justice, examining the spiritual foundation of its mission in light of Quaker testimonies, and the effectiveness of its social witness. What do you see as the major challenges facing the organization? 10-15pp