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Philosophy and Religion

Partners in Philosophy

This prison program was completely student initiated and administrated by Philosophy and Humanities major James Schelberg ’12, and co-administered and supported by Jared Rankin (formerly WC ’13 now at Bard College).

The program features both Philosophy and inter-disciplinary Humanities courses taught to inmates of the maximum security Jessup Correctional Institution in Baltimore. A recipient of the full-tuition Hodson Trust Scholarship, Schelberg during his recent experiences as a Marine corporal in Iraq and Afghanistan came to believe in the importance of basic education for well-functioning individuals and societies.

The program features multi-week courses for inmates involving a variety of Washington College instructors leading discussions on readings in Art, Philosophy, Logic, History, Literature, and Classics. Schelberg and Rankin’s program was prominently featured in an article in the Washington Post.

See here for details and a link to the Post article.

Since the Post article appeared their efforts has inspired other schools - including Morgan State, Loyola Baltimore, and UMD - getting involved in educational efforts at the Jessup prison.
In Summer 2013 Rankin conducted a course, using WC professors, on Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. Profs. Kevin Brien, Matthew McCabe, and Peter Weigel each contributed a two-hour session to the seven week course.
More information on the program is available by request from the WC Department of Philosophy and Religion.