Sharpe Seminars

Fall 2016 Course Descriptions


SOC150W:  Communities and Neighborhoods:  Class, Race, and Space  (Dr. David Aday)

 This seminar will focus on lived experiences of disparity, seen from the perspective of neighborhoods and communities through ethnographic methods.  We will read original studies of selected neighborhoods and communities in the U.S. and in other countries.  We will focus on disparities in health and health care and in access to other resources needed to survive and thrive.  Among other sources, we will read Venkatesh, S. A. (2006). Off the books. Harvard University Press; Gregory, S. (2006). The devil behind the mirror: Globalization and politics in the Dominican Republic. Univ of California Press; and, likely, one of the Elijah Anderson books.

Students will be introduced to theories, concepts, and methods for community-engaged research and community based participatory research (CBPR) by considering how they might take on aspects of issues described in the ethnographic studies.  They will work individually or in small groups to imagine, design, and propose community-engaged research focused on disparities in health, employment, housing, education, or security (crime).  Students (individually or in small groups) will be responsible for developing, writing, and defending final proposals for community-engaged research.

INTR150W:  Living with the Environment (Dr. Dennis Taylor)

The seminar Living With the Environment builds a broader conceptualization of community interests through establishment of the ethical and moral underpinnings of the human place in nature, and the teaching of practical knowledge needed for both policy-making and scientific understanding directed at solutions that build strong environmentally grounded communities where humans can benefit from the natural capital of their surroundings. Student projects are focused and issue driven, intended to provide direct practical benefits for community partners, opportunities for expanded scope and diversification, and to act as vehicles for teaching important principles and concepts applicable to the problem of human impacts on natural systems. Restricted to Sharpe Scholars. 

COLL 150/HIST 150/GSWS 150 LGBTIQ US History: An Introduction (Dr. Leisa Meyer)​

We will explore the field of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTIQ) Studies and its relationship to both the lives of LGBTIQ people and society more broadly. Using interdisciplinary approaches that incorporate race, class, gender, and nation as analytical categories alongside sexuality, we will look at the tools LGBTIQ studies offers for understanding power and culture and the LGBTIQ communities in the Commonwealth.

COLL150/AFST150W​ Spiritual Activism for Social Change (Prof. Artisia Green)​

Students will investigate indigenous myth-histories and traditions as a means of conceptualizing the issues facing “borderland” communities—spaces of wounded bodies and psyches or outer terrains as the site where inner struggles are played out. Historic and current borderland communities of consideration include but are not limited to Watts, Newark, Trenton, Chicago, New Orleans, Detroit, Ferguson, and Baltimore. Students willdevelop internally driven, holistic, political and spiritual theories of social justice and apply such theories as a methodology for understanding and solving contemporary social issues, challenging unjust social structures, or to bring about material change. 

INTR 150W:  Health Disparities (Dr. Monica Griffin)

Health Disparities supports Sharpe Scholars’ development toward community-based participatory research that examines and actively engages the issue of health disparities in the U.S health care system and globally.  Class readings and discussions will focus on solutions for promoting health equity, such as cultural competency, advocacy, and social justice.  Students will become involved with communities and organizations in order to explore the role of culture, socioeconomic status, health literacy, and social and community networks in sustaining and diminishing health disparities.