Under the ongoing pandemic, the very notions of community and community-based work are at once heightened as a value and thrown into crisis, with each person's actions impacting collective health and wellbeing, even as long-standing social inequities come into stark relief. How do we keep connected to our communities and take action as we navigate the challenges of this moment and centuries-long histories of struggle and resilience? What defines "community" now-- longstanding notions of family or group identities, physical proximity, common work, or emergent ties forged during the crisis? How might writing enable connection to both our immediate community and to communities that may be distant from us in space and time (including ancestors or communities of origin)? What does it mean to work and learn in community, whether in class or in collaboration with community-based organizations?
Offered in collaboration with Evergreen’s Center for Community-Based Learning and Action (CCBLA), our program will explore these questions and support students who wish to connect with community through writing/storytelling projects or work with community organizations. Our 6-credit program core will offer a shared set of readings, discussions, and workshops that explore the relationships between the stories we tell and our actions in our communities. In addition, students have the opportunity to develop 2 to 10 credits of internship or project work. Please note that our program meetings will be conducted entirely online, with a combination of synchronous and asynchronous activities to share experiences and learning; students will need access to a computer and stable internet connectivity for this program. Student project and/or internship work may be carried out online or in-person, to the degree permitted by the Governor's COVID-19 social distancing protocols.
Faculty and the CCBLA will work with students to develop project proposals and/or in-program contracts for community-based internships. Writing and storytelling projects (in English and/or Spanish) may include personal narrative, fiction, poetry, or collaborative writing. Internships can involve any focus, such as immigration, adult literacy, food security, homelessness, cooperative development, or public health. Collaborative projects could involve oral history, working with community members (elders, artists, laborers, community organizers, etc.), or designing a community action plan to address a particular challenge or need.
In all cases, we will emphasize modes of identifying and valuing community knowledge. We will engage materials that focus on ethics, empowerment, and the impacts of race, class, gender, sexuality as constituents of our own and community experience, and how collaboration differs from helping or speaking for others. We will develop and deepen skills in documentation, cultural humility, self-reflection, and multiple modes of writing, including creative and reflective writing. This program is ideal for responsible, self-motivated students who value collaborative learning, are enthusiastic about shaping a community of co-learners, and are committed to learning from and with community partners.
Course Reference Numbers
cultural studies, community studies, the non-profit sector, community development, journalism, education, media arts, and writing.
$30 for a required reader in fall quarter