Reimagining Community Safety

Spring 2021
Freshman - Senior
Class Size: 35
4 Credits per quarter
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This series of lectures, screenings, workshops, and discussions is focused on “reimagining community safety.” The course began in Winter and continues Spring. Students can take the course for one or both quarters, and are more than welcome to join in Spring.

2020 demonstrated that “business-as-usual” is no longer viable. The interconnected crises of our moment require action-oriented interdisciplinary inquiry into alternative theories and practices. The most acute of these crises -- the civil unrest and renewed cries for racial justice following the public murder of George Floyd, on the one hand, and the public health and economic catastrophe brought on by the pandemic, on the other -- demand that we take up what Richard Cellarius (an early Evergreen faculty member) called “urgent studies” in order to “focus and legitimize research on solutions.” The objective is not only to contextualize and better understand these crises but also to develop models, skills, and techniques that make it possible for us to flourish in right relation with ourselves, with our communities, and with our environments.

“Community safety” is often taken as a euphemism for “alternatives to policing.” What needs to be the case for things to be otherwise? In order to answer this question, we need to actively reimagine what the topic includes. We will do that by taking a broad view. Our inquiry will include the relation between “community safety” and “community health,” for instance, as well as a consideration of big questions like: “what is a state?,” “what is a law?,” “what is violence?,” and “what is a crisis?”  

Students will participate remotely in lectures, panel presentations, screenings, community conversations, and online discussions (via Canvas and/or Zoom). There will be three or four “main events” each quarter; these will be open to the public, showcasing the power of Evergreen’s interdisciplinary model. We will read one book over the course of each quarter, and brief readings will frame our inquiry each week. Students will keep a journal, and will write brief weekly responses and a reflective synthesis at the end of each quarter.

Topics for Spring quarter will include community crisis responders, transformative justice, the Medicine Creek Treaty, and the continuation of a screening series on mass incarceration and liberation education. Participants will also be introduced to skills and techniques such as critical thinking, mutual aid, social resilience, participatory action research, and systems thinking for social change. 

An associated student-originated-studies module is available for those who wish to research alternatives to business-as-usual approaches to “community safety.” 


Spring 2021 Registration

Course Reference Numbers

(4): 30211

Academic details

Fields of Study
Preparatory for studies and careers in

Political economy, activism, education, community research

Maximum Enrollment
Class Standing


Time Offered
Schedule Evergreen link
see Schedule Evergreen for detailed schedule

First Meeting