Arab-American & African-American Communities of Detroit: An Exploration through Interfaith Dialogue Winter 2022

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Detroit and the surrounding area boasts the highest percentage of Black residents and the largest Arab American population in the United States. This course will explore the vibrant and complicated history of each of these communities and consider them in relationship to one another. We will also look at issues related to the environment, poverty and racism in the context of the diversity of religious and spiritual perspectives in this region. Students will be invited to reflect on questions of ethnicity and race, privilege, and social justice. To this end, students will learn about the history of the Arab American and African American communities of Detroit and the surrounding metropolitan areas. Students will explore this history of and the relationships between these communities through readings, movies, and virtual visits and conversations with members of these communities and local sites, including religious leaders, youth engaged in social justice work, and the Charles H. Wright and the Arab American National museums. Students will explore how faith communities worked together to address the recent history of the economic depression in the area and the history of racism and the Civil Rights Movement in Michigan. As a final assignment, students will be expected to give presentations on a related topic of their choice or submit a reflection paper.
The Class: Format: lecture
Limit: 13
Grading: pass/fail only
Requirements/Evaluation: final group presentation that will be divided into smaller presentations done by teams of two or three; short paper consisting of a journal that is kept during the course
Prerequisites: a reader will be compiled as we consult with faculty
Enrollment Preferences: based on application

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