The Spirit of Justice

“Justice is what love looks like in public.” – Cornel West

In an age marked by extremism and divisiveness, we offer 'The Spirit of Justice' as a response to the widespread questions, "What is justice?" and "What is to be done?" Part intellectual and religious history, part call to action, in this GTUx Original, Dr. David Kyuman Kim serves as a guide to answering our most pressing questions about justice and public life.


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In this GTUx original...

we will familiarize ourselves with key moments in the intellectual history of ”justice” as an ideal, as well as explore its formative legacy in the Christian religious tradition. Thinkers surveyed will include Augustine, Ella Baker, James Baldwin, and others. Through engagement with texts and theories offered by these sages of thinking about justice, we will move into a conversation about practice – interrogating ourselves, and reflecting upon our larger social framework, to understand our own agency in (re)shaping the world around us in a manner that is, truly, more just.

Module 1:

What is Justice?

Module 2:

Accountability and Trust

Module 3:

Forgiveness and Redemption

Module 4:

What Love Looks Like in Public

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Dr. David Kyuman Kim

David Kyuman Kim was the Founding Director of the GTU’s Center for Values, Ethics, and Culture.

Dr. Kim is a philosopher of religion and scholar of radical love and multiracial democracy. From 2019, he was a Senior Advisor and Fellow at the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity at Stanford University. Dr. Kim spent nearly two decades at Connecticut College as Professor of Religious Studies and American Studies. His honors include fellowships as the Inaugural Visiting Professor of the Humanities at Brown University and Visiting Scholar at the Annenberg School for Communications at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Kim has taught at Harvard, Brown, and Union Theological Seminary (NYC). 

Published widely in religious studies, theology, political theory, and race and ethnic studies, Dr. Kim is the author of Melancholic Freedom: Agency and the Spirit of Politics (Oxford, 2008) and co-editor of The Post-Secular in Question (NYU, 2012) and Race, Religion, and Late Democracy (Sage, 2011). He is also Co-Editor of the Stanford University Press series RaceReligion. From 2009-2012, he was Senior Advisor to the Social Science Research Council’s Program on Religion and the Public Sphere, and was also Editor-at-Large of The Immanent Frame. He is cofounder of the Love-Driven Politics Collective, a group of scholars, artists, and social justice activists dedicated to responding to the political evil, acrimony, anger, and cynicism of our times by cultivating a common politics animated by compassion, generosity, and mercy. His current book project is The Public Life of Love.

A highly-regarded consultant and entrepreneur, Dr. Kim has advised efforts at major companies, such as Vanguard Investments, IBM, and Parliament, Inc. He is Founder and Principal of Radical Love Productions, LLC. and President of the Horn Hospitality Group, Inc., a Bay Area restaurant venture that includes Oakland’s Horn Barbecue and Kowbird Chicken. 

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The views expressed by contributors to GTUx Originals  do not necessarily represent those of the Graduate Theological Union. Read our full disclaimer here.