Fall 2016 Sharpe Seminars

Sharpe seminars are designed by the College's faculty to equip our students with community-based and action research training and in addition to honing students' skills for working ethically with and within communities, fostering effective, and immersing students in real-world considerations of both practical and philosophical dimensions of social justice and community engagement. 

Fall 2016 Course Descriptions

AFST150:  Reimagining Communities (Dr. Artisia Green)

This course will examine communities—with an emphasis on geographical, but also situational/circumstantial, virtual, as well as identity and affinity-based communities—and the ways in which they are or can be redeveloped (with an emphasis on the use of performing and visual arts) in moments of transition and conflict to intentionally engage its citizenry, to be more inclusive (cross-culturally empathetic) and/or to actively address issues of social justice.

AFST/INTR 150:  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.  Quantitative methodologies, such as those employed by Medical Sociology and Epidemiology, as well as qualitative methodologies for research, including narrative medicine will be investigated.

GSWS/HIST150:  Introduction to LGBTIQ Studies/History (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 LGBTQ studies offers for understanding power and culture and the LGBTIQ communities in the Commonwealth. 

INTR150:  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. 

SOC150:  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.