Date: Thu, 18 Apr 1996 10:15:46 CDT

Sender: H-Net/H-Urban Seminar on History of Community Organizing &


From: Wendy Plotkin <U13972@UICVM.BITNET>

Subject: Re: PAPER:Lessons from Hull House for..Contemporary Urban


[As described in the earlier announcement, the paper "Lessons from Hull House for the Contemporary Urban University" includes an overview of the emergence of community service and settlement houses in the U.S. at the turn of the century and a description of the University of Pennsylvania's attempts to emulate this example through the integration of academic work and community service in present-day West Philadelphia. The paper is available at the COMM-ORG WWW site (see below).

Amy Cohen, of the Penn Program for Public Service, has graciously sent us a description of the undergraduate and graduate courses that are part of the program.

This is an interesting example of an urban university of some renown acknowledging its relationship to its neighboring communities -- and drawing on the traditional academic disciplines (and not merely an urban institute) to strengthen the ties between knowledge and service.

I'd be interested in hearing from the teachers and students in these courses about the experience of combining academic work with an involvement in the community -- and the community's perceptions of the programs.

In fact, in future weeks, COMM-ORG will be posting an article by Ira Harkavy of the University of Pennsylvania and West Philadelphia community organizer George Brown about the program.

-- W. Plotkin, COMM-ORG

WWW: http://h-net.msu.edu/~urban/comm-org ]

Posted by Amy Cohen <cohen@pobox.upenn.edu>




Afro-American Studies 400 (Fall) Wesley Pugh, Program Evaluator and Researcher, School District of Philadelphia, teaches "Realizing W.E.B. DuBois' Strategy of Science and Social Science Reform for African-American Liberation: West Philadelphia as a Test Case." The course examines the philosophy, strategy, and life of DuBois with a focus on his concept of the "Talented Tenth." Students become involved in community service in an effort to translate DuBois' vision for West Philadelphia.

Anthropology 203 (Fall) "Methods in Urban Ethnography," is taught by Julia Paley. The course teaches qualitative research techniques within the context of anthropological theory. Students will engage in community service as well as community participatory action research. (Cross-listed Afam 204, Urbs 213)

Anthropology 205-301 (Spring) "Health in Urban Communities," is a General Honors course taught by Francis Johnston. The course introduces students to the anthropology of health, the history of community schools, and the West Philadelphia community, as well as teaching research methods. Students in the course develop curriculum and teach health topics to Turner Middle School students, who, in turn, teach these health lessons to their peers. The course focuses on nutrition intervention to improve eating habits.

Anthropology 206 (Summer 1996) "Directed Research on Health in Urban Communities," is taught by Susan Johnston. It provides undergraduates with the opportunity to design and implement a research project combining library with action research in order to contribute to the solution of an urban, health-related problem in West Philadelphia. In the past, students have worked in an elementary school developing conflict resolution skills; have evaluated the effectiveness of a middle school health curriculum; and have analyzed childhood immunization programs.

Anthropology 210-301 (Spring) "Biomedical Science and Human Adaptability," is taught by Penny-Gordon-Larsen, Ph.D. candidate in Anthropology. In the course Penn undergraduates teach and conduct research with Turner Middle School students. Undergraduates develop a procedure for evaluating growth status, which involves the design of a simple demographic and family health questionnaire; the Penn students also train Turner students to take anthropometric data, such as lean body mass and fatness, which is then analyzed by the undergraduates. Undergraduates also teach nutrition to the Turner students. The course, offered for five years, has spurred ongoing graduate and undergraduate research efforts to improve the nutrition of the community, including a nutrition textbook tailored to the Turner School.

Anthropology 561-401 (Spring) Peggy Reeves Sanday teaches a new course, "Cultural Pluralism: Ethnography and Community Service." The course, part of a new core of courses in the anthropology department combining cultural anthropology with service, teaches students to study themselves in the context of their family, community and ethnic background. Students apply those concepts at University City High School in a service-oriented ethnographic project on issues of school-to-work transition, the culture of school disaffection, and inter-cultural interaction within the school. Students from University City High School participate in the course.

Anthropology Independent Study (Fall) taught by Penny Gordon-Larsen, involves undergraduate majors in an intensive research experience in West Philadelphia. Students contribute to a study of obesity among middle school youth and develop their own research projects around this topic.

Classical Studies 125-301 (Spring) Ralph Rosen teaches a course on "Community, Neighborhood, and Family in Ancient Athens and Modern Philadelphia." The seminar focuses on the ways in which the study of "classical" Athens can provide a frame for evaluating the problems of modern Philadelphia. Undergraduates in the course work with students at University City High School.

Education 202-401 (Spring) "Urban Education" is taught by James Lytle. The seminar will provide students with an overview of issues in contemporary urban education. As a part of the course's ethnographic component, Penn students shadow West Philadelphia public school students. University City High School students also participate in this Penn seminar.

Education 323 (Fall) "Tutoring in West Philadelphia Public Schools: Theory and Practice" is taught by Linda Hansell, a Ph.D. candidate in Education. The course provides an opportunity to tutor and to reflect critically on tutoring in relation to an exploration of issues in urban education in the context of West Philadelphia. Each student in the course is involved in tutoring in a West Philadelphia school. (Cross listed Urbs 323)

English 292 (Fall) "Special Topics in Film Studies" is a seminar taught by Craig Saper that examines the relationship between film, video, pedagogy and community building. As part of the course, students work with Shaw Middle School students and University City High School students to script and produce videos on their communities.

English 293 (Fall) "Literature of Social Vision" is taught by Eric Cheyfitz and Farah Griffin. The course links Penn undergraduates and West Philadelphia High School students. The course involves students and faculty from both Penn and West Philadelphia High in a common learning experience emphasizing the historic interactions between African-American and white communities in the United States.

English 401 (Fall) "Teaching American Studies" is taught by Peter Conn. The two credit course exposes students to an interdisciplinary curriculum combining American literature and history. Working collaboratively, the seminar and University City High School teachers of English, Social Studies, Special Education, Art, and Music develop interdisciplinary curricula that are distinctive for each of the High Schools' charters, and links the charters together. The course incorporates much of the same material in a diverse curriculum entailing oral reports, readings, and a substantial essay. In addition, undergraduate students serve as assistant teachers at University City High School. (Cross listed Amcv 401)

English 401 (Spring) "Teaching American Studies" continues as a collective independent study in which a majority of the students in Fall 1995's English 401 continue their work in University City High School, meeting weekly as a group with Peter Conn.

Environmental Studies 404-301 (Spring) "Urban Environment: West Philadelphia" is a seminar taught by Robert Giegengack. Undergraduate students in the course work with middle school students and faculty on projects to improve the environment in the neighborhoods surrounding Shaw Middle School and Turner Middle School (West Philadelphia) and Strath Haven Middle School (Wallingford). Education and outreach focuses on lead toxicity and abatement as well as on appropriate household chemical disposal.

General Honors 210-301 (Spring) "A Seminar in Faculty-Student Collaborative Learning," is taught by Lee Benson, Robert Giegengack, Ira Harkavy, and Francis Johnston. It is an experimental seminar designed to explore the effectiveness of faculty-student collaboration in the design of University seminars and courses.

General Honors History 214 (Fall) "Seminar in Community in Modern Society: Universities and the Reconstruction of American Urban Communities; Penn-West Philadelphia/Philadelphia as a Strategic Test Case," is taught by Lee Benson and Ira Harkavy. The seminar provides an overview of major theories about the role, present condition, and likely future of local communities in modern societies. The seminar focuses specific attention on the "problem of American cities" in the late 20th century. Most students enrolled in the course choose to combine theory with activity in local public schools. (Cross listed Urbs 78)

General Honors History 214 (Spring) "Seminar in Community in Modern Society: Universities and the Reconstruction of American Urban Communities; Penn-West Philadelphia/Philadelphia as a Strategic Test Case," taught by Lee Benson and Ira Harkavy continues as an independent study in the spring semester.

General Honors History 214-401 (Spring) "Seminar in Urban University - Community Relationships: Penn - West Philadelphia as a Strategic Test Case" is taught by Lee Benson and Ira Harkavy. The seminar asks how American universities can reinvent themselves to help spark an urban renaissance in the 21st century. The seminar asks how the University of Pennsylvania might be reinvented to realize William Penn's vision of the Good City and Ben Franklin's vision of the Good University.

History 200-922 (Summer 1996) "Strategies Toward Revitalizing Urban Schools and Their Communities: West Philadelphia as a Case Study" taught by Ira Harkavy and Amy Cohen. The course is a part of the Scott Paper Company Public Service Summer Internship which enables Penn undergraduates to engage in research focused on West Philadelphia. Penn's Pennsylvania Service Scholars, part of the only statewide higher education AmeriCorps program that allows students to combine service and scholarship, also participate in the program. Students participate in the undergraduate seminar on Urban Revitalization and have worked at tone of the three West Philadelphia public school Summer Institutes with other Penn faculty and graduate students to develop health programs focused on health and nutrition, conflict resolution, and community studies. Over the last 6 years, the intensive twelve-week internship has been the catalyst for the development of many West Philadelphia Improvement Corps (WEPIC) programs.

History 204-303 (Fall) "Teaching American History: A West Philadelphia Workshop," is taught by John Puckett. The course introduces students to the history of West Philadelphia from 1854 to the present; it also engages students in an examination of the uses of local history. Penn students become mentors to West Philadelphia High School students with whom they engage in local history projects.

History 204 (Spring) "Teaching American History: A West Philadelphia Workshop," is taught by John Puckett and continues as an independent study in the spring semester.

History 204 (Fall) "Ethnicity: Immigration and Immigrants in American History" is taught by Max Page. The seminar explores the changing meanings of ethnicity through examination of the history of immigration to and within the United States over the last century. One thread throughout the course, and the focus of students' research projects, is the development of a portrait of immigrants and their lives in West Philadelphia over the last 50 years.

History 443-401 (Spring) Michael Zuckerman teaches a course on the "American National Character." The course asks if there is a national character and how knowledge of the American national character can help solve the problems of Philadelphia. Students in the course work as academic tutors and implement service programs at University City High School as a part of their examination of the national character.

History and Sociology of Science 265-401 (Spring) Robert Kohler teaches

a new course, "Environmental History," consisting of discussions and readings in environmental history, including some study of cities as environments. In addition, some students work with teachers in local schools to facilitate both accessibility of literature on environmental history and adaptation of this literature for use in local classrooms.

Sociology 302 (Fall) "Community Research and Community Service," is taught by Frank Furstenberg and continues in spring 1996. In the course, undergraduates do research and service with teachers and students at University City High School. Each Penn student works with the school community on an individualized project which focuses on school-age pregnancy. Undergraduates collaborate with a teacher to incorporate the project into the school day curriculum. In addition, 5 high school students are engaged in a pre-college internship in conjunction with the course.

Sociology 302 (Spring) "Community Research and Community Service," is taught by Frank Furstenberg and continues; undergraduates in this spring course will be completing senior theses.

Urban Studies 324-401 (Spring) Daniel Romer and Hillard Pouncy teach a new course, "Seminar on Strategies to Reduce Intergroup Tension in Multi-Cultural Settings: West Philadelphia and Penn as a Test Case," explores various approaches to reducing intergroup tension with particular emphasis on Penn and its surrounding community, including the public schools and neighborhoods. The seminar reviews what is known about ethnic and cultural group tension, including methodologies for assessing group tension. Students are then encouraged to study the ethnic and cultural tensions that exist at various local sites, including the public schools, the neighborhoods, and Penn. Specific intervention strategies are proposed that might alleviate tensions and increase intergroup cooperation. The seminar also brings together faculty from University City High School and others concerned with intergroup tension in Philadelphia.


City and Regional Planning 702-001 Studio (Spring) "A New Vision for the 40th Street Corridor," is taught by Norman Day. Studio participants will prepare an urban design plan and implementation strategy for future activity and development in the area between 38th and 42nd Street from Powelton Avenue to Baltimore Avenue. This studio's activities will be closely coordinated with LA 702 Studio, taught by Professor Robert Hanna (see below).

Education 623-001 (Spring) "Curriculum Foundations: Theory Into Practice," is taught by John Puckett. The course focuses on developing thematic community school curricula through both theoretical reading and practice in partnership with West Philadelphia school teachers.

Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning 702-001 Studio VI (Spring) "A Town and Gown Partnership for the Twenty-First Century" is taught by Robert Hanna. The course focuses on the area between 38th and 42nd Streets and Filbert Street and Baltimore Avenue, where the University and West Philadelphia communities meet and interact. This studio provides students with the opportunity for real-world problem-solving in the form of site analysis, problem and opportunity identification, formulation of alternative strategic planning options, testing of options and final site and/or building design resolution. This studio's activities will be closely coordinated with CP 702 Studio, taught by Professor Norman Day (see above).

Social Work 708 (Fall) taught by Jane Isaacs Lowe is the first of a two-semester graduate "Macro Practice" seminar that teaches social work practice with a focus on the social service needs of the Turner Middle School and its surrounding community. The class readings are related to theories, strategies, and skills involved in designing interventions at the macro level and in working with communities.

Social Work 718 (Spring) taught by Jane Isaacs Lowe is the second of a two-semester graduate "Macro Practice" seminar.


Additional Courses Planned for 1996-1997

Education 240 (Fall 1996) "Education in American Culture" is taught by John Puckett. The course involves undergraduates, working directly with 8th grade students and teachers at the Shaw Middle School, in the development of readings and video productions that illuminate the impact of social factors on schooling; curriculum development; and critical reflection on service learning.

History 204-302 (Spring 1997) "The Migrant Experience in America: A Look at West Philadelphia," is taught by Walter Licht, Associate Dean, Graduate Division, School of Arts and Sciences. The course treats West Philadelphia as a destination, a place to which tens of thousands of people have migrated in the last century. Students are introduced to a general historical literature on the migration experience, with particular attention to the process of getting and keeping work, and then engage in cooperative research projects that take them into archives and, more importantly, into the community for first hand interviewing. A significant emphasis is on job networks that existed in West Philadelphia among various immigrant groups. The course works with students in the Communications Charter at University City High School. The course also works to develop job networks for University City High School students.

History 200 (Fall 1996) Lee Cassanelli will teach "Urban Diasporas in Comparative Perspective: Africans and Afro-Americans in Philadelphia and the World." A look at historical and contemporary patterns of rural-urban migration, social networks, cultural adaptation, and intergroup relations among people of African descent in Africa, Europe, and the Americas, using Philadelphia as a detailed case study.

English 293 (Spring 1997) Alan Filreis will teach "The Literature of the Holocaust." The course combines critical readings with movie screenings and visits from Holocaust survivors in order facilitate greater understanding of the Holocaust. Penn students will cooperate with twelfth grade AP English students and faculty from Edison High School through direct contact and on-line services. The purpose is to integrate the curricula of the two classes and establish an intellectual partnership with local North Philadelphia youth.

Anne Whiston Spirn (Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning) is developing a new graduate course in landscape architecture focused on "Landscape and Community in the Mill Creek Watershed." The course will enrich the social studies and science curricula at Sulzberger Middle School. Penn students and students and teachers at Sulzberger will work with the neighboring Aspen Farms community gardeners.

Anne Whiston Spirn (Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning) is also developing a new undergraduate honors seminar in the Urban Studies Program titled "The Urban Watershed" for 1996-1997. Penn students and students and teachers at Sulzberger will work with the neighboring Aspen Farms community gardeners.

Thomas Sugrue (History) will teach a new course offered by the Department of History and the Urban Studies Program on "Institutions and Neighborhood Change: West Philadelphia and North Philadelphia, 1940-1990." Students in the seminar will work with West Philadelphia High students to gather data on neighborhood institutions, develop historical maps of institutions, engage in archival research, and conduct oral histories with institutional leaders and their constituents. The data will assist community organizations and urban planners in their understanding of the history of local institutional and neighborhood change.


Amy Cohen Penn Program for Public Service

cohen@pobox.upenn.edu University of Pennsylvania

215-898-7695 133 S. 36th Street, Suite 519

Philadelphia, PA 19104-3246