Anthropology 211/Urban Education 211: Social and Cultural Change
Instructor: Robert O’Brien,
This is a service-learning course. Service learning puts course material into action (and question). It is an experiential learning technique where students do community work that relates to course work and vice versa. If I were teaching a math course, students would be learning math skills, then doing something like tutoring middle school students, building a bridge, or helping senior citizens with their taxes.
This service-learning course is an exploration of theories of society and culture and explanations of change and development. The way it will work is that we will read and discuss ethnography and anthropological theory that deals with change at the same time we are doing work in community organizations. Part of what we will be doing over the course of the summer is figuring out whether or not these organizations are engaged in social and cultural change, and, if so, how. We will discuss how our empirical findings reflect on our theoretical perspectives. Ideally, this is a dialectical (we’ll discuss this) process that forces us to confront both our theories and practices in order to develop new ones.