Globalizing Non-Violence: Before and After King (video)

Posted on December 14, 2020 by PLT Staff

Lecture given by Isaac Barnes May at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA (November 18, 2020). The lecture begins at 19:20. May gives a sweeping tour of the non-violence movement, starting with the 19th century, all the way up to the present day. Along the way, he makes linear connections between Martin Luther King, Jr., and diverse figures of the non-violence movement, such as abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, author Leo Tolstoy, Gandhi, and the Quakers. May’s exploration demonstrates how certain Protestant denominations grew to embrace non-violent ideas and specific techniques, how Kingian non-violence has ended up in unexpected places, how ideas of non-violence can be changed to fit each person’s needs and requirements, and how non-violence transcends the civil rights movement as well as international borders. The two Q&A sessions, which follow at 1:19:55 and 2:06:10, address Quakerism’s political influence up until the Vietnam War, the symbiotic interplay between violence and non-violence, the role of theatricality in the non-violence movement, and the effectiveness and relevance of non-violence in today’s world. To find a listing of all our Occasional Lectures, click here.

Excerpt: “Many of the debates that people were raising about non-violence [as early as the 1850s] are also similar [to later eras]. There are key questions: Is non-violence required for Christian believers? Does it work to achieve social change? Should you keep adhering to non-violence, even if it doesn’t seem to be working? Or should you move on to more expedient methods? What’s the connection between non-violence and practical politics? These are all questions that come up again in the 1960s. These are questions that exist in the century prior.”

  • Video Information
  • Date Recorded:December 11, 2020
  • Location Recorded:Charlottesville, VA
This video is published by the Project on Lived Theology (PLT). For any questions related to its use, please contact PLT ( Copy available for use subject to Creative Commons License CC-BY-NC-ND (Attribution required, Non-Commercial use, No Derivatives, 3.0, Unported).