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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Love as a Force for Social Justice by Stanford University

407 ratings

About the Course

The objectives of this course are: -To introduce participants to different concepts of love, to empower them to be conscious of the power of love and the possibility of practicing it in everyday life, and to highlight in particular the idea of love as a force for social justice. -To communicate a sense of personal strength and empowerment by actively learning from each other and beginning to define how participants can apply their learning in service to society. This course will explore the concept of agape love (compassion/kindness) as a force for social justice and action and as the inspiration for service and the application of knowledge to positive social change. Biological, psychological, religious, and social perspectives of love will be discussed, drawing on the expertise of people from a variety of disciplines. During the six-week course, the following topics will be raised and discussed: kinds of love/defining love; non-violent communication; love and the biology of the brain; love as a basic concept of religious and ethical beliefs (e.g., Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Gandhian); love applied in action, and poetic expressions of love as a social force. This curriculum aims to foster a sense of the importance of love as a key phenomenon in creating community, connection, and functional societies among humans. Course materials will draw from a variety of sources. One of the goals of the class is to provide participants with some knowledge of the literature of love, and readings for the course are listed in the outline of the course on the pages that follow....

Top reviews


Jun 17, 2021

Excellent concepts, theoretical models and practical applications of social justice work in educational institutions, business and non-profit and health care settings. Anindita Ganguly, Ph.D.


Oct 31, 2019

I learned to find ways to look at how ordinary and mundane moments can be lived extraordinarily. This made me radically change my perspective on love and living life fully.

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1 - 25 of 138 Reviews for Love as a Force for Social Justice

By Christina R B

Oct 12, 2020

The world definitely needs two things - more love and a whole lot more social justice. I found this course really important to take at this point in time in history.

By Jennifer G

Aug 24, 2020

Anne Firth Murray was a wonderful professor. Loved her interviews as well as the structure of her class. Great experience and I would take any of her classes. Thank you!

By Kimberly J L

Nov 1, 2019

I learned to find ways to look at how ordinary and mundane moments can be lived extraordinarily. This made me radically change my perspective on love and living life fully.

By Kiran H

May 27, 2018

Love as a Force for Social Justice is a great course to open up your mind and open up possibilities to look at the World with a pair of new eyes :-)

By Edij

Mar 27, 2018

A wonderful course. So many courses are overwhelmingly available now. To me this one is like a hidden treasure.

A treasure because mastering the lessons and skills taught in this course is sufficient, in my view, to fulfill whatever good purpose I may have in my life, whether to become a successful and happy career person, or to have a meaningful live.

Hidden because it is not in the most popular course list in MOOC survey, to the best of my knowledge.

Thank you to all who have made this course available.

By Lauren d S

Mar 4, 2018

This course was really inspiring and life changing. I have learnt practical ways to express love in my every day life on a micro-level, but also about how my choices can make a different on a macro-level. Thank you!

By Rebecca K

Aug 19, 2020

This is an important topic to be taught and I hope it will continued to offered with updates and improvements. I was disappointed that after I and several other students reported that the link to one of the readings was broken no one ever responded. The course did not address current situations, like the current COVID-19 outbreak or the death of civil rights leader Representative John Lewis. The class needs current examples to stay relevant.

By Alyssa R

May 15, 2021

I love this course so far, but would love it more if it didn’t specifically ask for 2 or more paragraphs on answers. I keep missing a point on responses because Coursera seems to automatically push all of the text together whether I submit it on mobile or my laptop. Please get rid of this grading point or replace it with others about substance

By Evelyn K

Jan 15, 2018

Indeed a good course very well adapted to this plataform.

Unfortunally theres no much attendance and the schedule actitvities goes past due.

By Deleted A

Aug 18, 2018

I studied this course on an audit basis, so haven't had the benefit of doing all the assignments. I may upgrade and complete the assignments later. I enjoyed the course and learned a great deal. There are a few areas of discussion I'd like to see expanded if the course is revised at any stage.

1) Firstly, one of the greatest causes of sadness and pain in the world, is warfare. There is a link to a very interesting research paper on the effectiveness of non-violent approaches to dispute settlement vs war. I'd like to see the subject of love and violence discussed in the context of, "If one is a soldier, is it an unusual and yet acceptable form of love to commit violent acts, in order to protect one's country, society or family from some form of oppressive tyranny?" This is perhaps the most controversial discussion we could have about love and violence, but I think it's worth exploring.

2) Whilst I respect (and even love) those with religious beliefs, I'd prefer to see equal time/weight in the course given to non-religious, atheistic or agnostic views on what love means to different people.

Finally, an observation, when one of the speakers is talking about the tenets of Sufism (in the Islam section) she refers to 'the hands to strike with' - so many more creative, loving uses of the hands to consider methinks.

Thanks for providing this course Anne, it made me think about many aspects of love and our general approach to people, animals, the envrionment and business. I was particularly excited by the Nipun Metha video about designing for generosity, and the young students' talk at the end about how the course would impact their future lives was filled with great wisdom for such young minds.

By Ron S

Oct 25, 2020

Very powerful, interesting & enjoyable course! Rich & diverse, and incredibly well-aligned views of love from the world religions, great thinkers, philosophers & artists. By consciously adopting a stance of loving kindness in my own world, I feel less anxiety, less fear, less despair, and less rage in the face of dehumanizing & oppressive systemic racism in the U.S. Our current U.S. leader, and our politics, bring an overwhelmingly debilitating force that threatens our daily quality of life, our health, and our ability to live with peace of mind. I struggle with finding happiness in the world the U.S. political powers have created. I'm using the core principles & practices of Loving Kindness, learned in this course, to first regain my own balance, reclaim my own mental & psychological well-being, and rediscover joy & beauty & love in the world, in the face of all the harsh and ugly being created by our government. In my own small way, once I can bring more authentic love into the world, I can begin to effect positive change in the lives of others. By interacting with others in this way, my life is better, and others I encounter receive the profound gift humans thrive upon of empathy & compassion. This is now what drives my every interaction with others, which can create my own distinctive ripples of social justice, through love, in the world: The major world religions share a central, guiding principle for how we are meant to live in this world, and connect with each other: Loving Kindness. This consists of Empathy, “I see your suffering”...and Compassion, “I am moved to get in there and take action to eliminate your suffering by helping to improve your human condition”.

By Saurabh D

Aug 19, 2020

The course 'Love as a Force for Social Justice' is beautifully crafted toward understanding the ontology of agape love, and what it entails. The course enables us to empathetically look into our surroundings where there are still many human beings who selflessly care for the other. The course also facilitates a dialogue around the importance of practicing agape in our day to day lives, in institutions like medical facilities and the success stories emerging out from being kind and compassionate toward the other.

The course also enables us to understand the power of love in Social Change Movements where the latter is instrumental in demanding Social Justice for the marginalized groups and the ones who have faced violence. Last but not least this course helps you to think in different paradigmatic ways about your ultimate goal in life. I extend my sincere gratitude to the instructor Prof. Anne Murray and her team. I wish very good luck to my fellow participants who may feel empowered like me in the times after the course. Cheers!

By Tet G

Oct 7, 2021

I just wanted to thank you. You did a really great job of designing the Stanford course Love as a Force of Social Justice. I myself have assisted 40 NGOs in my 52 years of existence. I began as a teen protesting the monstrous dictatorship of President Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines and pushed his regime to its downfall in 1986 in the famous 3-day bloodless revolution, and then watching the rebuilding of democratic institutions and the work of keeping the faith despite all the rollercoaster rides of different presidents. Thank you for your deep spiritual workshop. I am also a follower of Thich Nhat Hanh and have helped pioneer and keep his sangha here alive in the Philippines. I do not usually gush over white people but you deserve to know that you are a bright shining star in the desert of your culture. Thank you once again.

By Antonia S

Jul 22, 2020

I wasn't looking for this course, but it found me. During this time of pandemic, learning about how love can be a force for living a life of purpose helped me feel hopeful, creative, and committed to carry on and do what I can to help others carry on as well. I found the topics covered to be very relevant to the times. The learning approach and materials, the sharing of the resource persons, the writing assignments focusing on insight-promoting reflection questions -- these provided a rich learning experience which I feel can have a transformative influence in both my personal and my professional life. Many thanks to Anne Firth Murray and team for this course, indeed a gift that I know will keep on giving.

By Tammy A L

Dec 4, 2020

I really enjoyed this course. I found the information and insights particularly useful during a global pandemic and a hostile political climate. It gave me peace and hope knowing that other folks are looking at social justice and life in general with more acts and behaviors associated with loving-kindness, compassion and empathy. I will continue small acts of kindness and bringing my awareness to small acts of kindness as a way to contribute to social justice. It's a start that I hope to take to a bigger scope in the near future. Thank you Anne and the College for offering this as a free course. I appreciate your generosity. T. Lane

By Alice M

Aug 29, 2020

This course made me look at violence from a very different perspective. It's a very good initiative taken by Coursera to sensitize the world about how love can conquer violence. The importance of Agape love has been highlighted beautifully through reference materials and videos. The discussions were brilliant. It has exposed me to look at social justice from a different angle and how love and compassion can bring a change in the outlook of society.

By Marlaina R

Apr 29, 2018

Outstanding class! I have to knock a star off because some of the assignment instruction prompts did not match the grading rubrics. That meant that sometimes I would follow the assignment prompt exactly, but the questions posted for peer grading would have different requirements for the assignment and we would not receive full credit even though we followed the instructions.

By Kathy A M

Nov 4, 2022

Very interesting but could not complete w/o paying for certificate.

By Renuka B

Jan 29, 2020

I completed this course with all passing grades - but i did not get my certificate and nor does it update as completed course.. Also I do not know / understand how / who to write about the certificate that i must get after completion that i have paid for.

By Nicole H

Apr 11, 2022

Informative course. The peer review aspects were frusterating at times but I am glad I took it.

By Leah G

Oct 21, 2017

I found this course to be very interesting, and I thought that the videos in particular, with people discussing love from all sorts of viewpoints (philosophical/religious, neuroscience, business, art and music, and so on) were really eye-opening. Writing the essays and reading my classmates' work was an equally interesting piece of the project, because being on the lookout for instances of agape love in my life as a subject for the next week's essay really made me more aware of how much love is all around us every day. I do want to mention to future students that the readings here may be a little long sometimes, but many of them were also extremely interesting, and overall I found it to be a really worthwhile use of my study time. This class is for everyone. We all spend so much of our education studying wars and violence and actions spurred by hatred- why not change our academic lens a bit and focus on studying love sometimes, too? I found it refreshing.

By Susan B

Mar 25, 2021

Great course. The mix of readings, videos and weekly writings kept the course interesting and doable. I liked the peer review process--both in knowing that my writing would be looked at by someone else, and in seeing what different ideas others came up with for the same questions. I reviewed as many as it would let me each time, and I would suggest that more visibility and more feedback would be an improvement in the course. I also liked having the videos interrupted by short questions which made me think a little deeper.

Some of the readings could use some editing or formalizing a bit. The Frank Andrews book is SO good, and I intend to read and practice it from start to finish. Some of the suggested readings were also excellent--I was glad to have those suggestions. Thank you very much for producing this course.

By Paula M

Apr 21, 2021

Dear Anne, Thank you for designing this course and making it available online through Coursera. I am 75 and semi-retired and am deeply grateful for all the work you have done to organize and share these insights. I feel as though I have just returned from a grand tour of the globe, a journey of exploration into the perennial landscape of self-discovery and love. In the process of watching your videos and TED talks, and following through with the various reading assignments and subsequent self-reflection, I gained a more compassionate view of my true self, my role in life, and the interconnectedness we all share as members of one human family. Gracias! Paula Morin, Missoula, MT

By Leonor A C

May 6, 2021

This was an excellent course. It changed my view of love and I now see that I need to be aware to be able to make the decision to make an act of love. I am very grateful to professor Anne Firth Murray for thanks to her I feel I have changed as a person. I feel more responsibility now to practice and teach agape love to people around me and contribute to creating a society that lives to love. I would love to do another course regarding love, a deeper level, with professor Anne Firth Murray.