LATS 314
Social Geographies: Bridging Theory and Praxis in New England Fall 2024
Division II

Class Details

How do we define a community? How do people create community spaces? What tools do we use to explain and understand what a community is? Building on the praxis of Black sociologist Patricia Hill Collin’s notion of the “Insider/Outsider,” this course focuses on the social life of community spaces. It analyzes the construction of community by individuals, groups, and societies, and how these various actors participate in the production of space. In doing so, comparisons will be made with case studies across space and time, and we will apply these theories and research methods to understand our lives in New England. This seminar asks students to take on the role of a researcher, one that must navigate the line between being part of a group and maintaining a methodological distance. Students in this course will become familiar with how people come together to create and contest community, community-based approaches to understand social problems, and structural conditions that produce social inequities. We will consider issues of difference, identification, and access via race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and disability and examine relational ways to understand poverty, family dynamics, and fear. Readings and course materials will be highly interdisciplinary drawing from disciplines such as ethnic studies, sociology, and geography; course readings will be supplemented by films and an experiential learning component. As part of this component students will meet outside class hours to work with a local community-based organization over the semester and write a 10-page final paper that connects course readings with their fieldwork experience.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 25
Expected: 15
Class#: 1579
Grading: yes pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Students are evaluated on regular assignments, active class participation, completion of service learning hours, and a final paper.
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: LATS concentrators
Distributions: Division II

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