At the founding moment of American democracy, we the people established an historic mechanism to have power over our government.
The jury is an institution in some legal systems in which a panel of citizens weigh evidence and decide verdicts of court cases. “To jury” is, at its most basic form, to judge. It is an exercise in the deliberation of issues, persuasion, and the polling of results. JuryX: Deliberations for Social Change is an invitation to explore the concept of jury in both in theory and in practice, exploring both the political theory and history of the jury as well as techniques for engaging in juristic discussion.
The course consists of six modules. In each module, you will begin by engaging with a case on your own, much like a jury views evidence, before engaging in small group discussions with your peers about the topic at hand. The course begins with historical legal cases and then moves to major contemporary issues. These include: decriminalization of marijuana in Jamaica and worldwide efforts to legalize, the potential for the Olympics and World Cup to advance education, individual identity and anonymity surrounding the NSA leak by Edward Snowden, and lethal police action against young black men, crystallized in the hashtag #icantbreathe.
Deliberations will be real and virtual, synchronous and asynchronous.
Cases will be hosted on the edX platform, but deliberation groups will meet in a variety of media best suited to each group. The supported deliberation environment for online synchronous deliberation will be ‘Unhangout,’ a video-based discussion tool developed at the MIT Media Lab. Many other opportunities for gathering, deliberating, and returning results are also available, including face-to-face gathering and asynchronous deliberation online using open social media like Facebook and Loomio.
JuryX: Deliberations for Social Change is ultimately about the most fundamental of human interactions: communication. By listening, speaking, persuading, and being persuaded, you will learn about yourself and your jury in relation to others.
What you'll learn:
- How to deliberate for social change using a process designed to move a community or affinity group from difference to consensus
- How to reflect upon your participation in the deliberative process
- How to use web-based tools to discuss emotionally charged issues
- A high-level history of the jury