The "Staff":

Professor: Art Keene

Team Leaders:

  • CAROLINE COUNTY: Erin Araujo and Julie Dana
  • CAPE CHARLES: Jason Chernock, Katie Eidnet, Comfort Halsey and Levin Sibley Schwartz
  • IVANHOE: Carolyn Dong and Kara Volpicelli
  • HOLYOKE: Leanne Driver, Meaghan Hamilton and Moira Noonan
  • NEW ROAD: Art Keene, Nina Lessin-Joseph, Manny Okrah and Ann Rutherford
  • WESTMORELAND: Caitlin Collinson and Gary De Young
  • Community Partners:

  • Quinn Rivers Community Development Program (Caroline County)
  • Concerned Citizens for Cape Charles
  • Ivanhoe Civic League
  • Nueva Esperanza (Holyoke)
  • New Road Community Development Group
  • Westmoreland Housing Coalition
  • Volunteers for Community ( community placement)

    Keene's Office: 209 Machmer
    Keene's Scheduled Office Hours: walk-in: TU 5-6 and TH 1-2. Appointment: sign up on my door- available hours change weekly.
    Phone: 545-0214.
    Keene's Email:
    NB: the most effective way to contact Keene is by email.
    ASB VISTA VOLUNTEER: Levin Sibley-Schwartz, Coordinator for UACT.

    Team Leader's contact info will be handed out in class.

    Course Home Base: UACT OFFICE - 212 Machmer

    Credit: Students are enrolled for 4 Honors Credits in Anthropology 397H.

    Overview: This course explores how grassroots organizations (that is, organizations that are constituted of, by and for local people using local knowledge and assets) work to effect social change that enhances the common good. In particular we will be focusing on grassroots solutions to poverty and political disenfranchisement. The geographic focus of our investigations will be primarily but not exclusively the rural south, a region that has known profound poverty and violent political repression but which has also engendered inspiring grassroots responses to these challenges. This year, we will also, for the first time, turn our attention to how these issues play out closer to home as we add a local ASB trip to Holyoke and a case study focusing on Roxbury, MA.

    This class differs from most others on campus in that it is a community service learning course. Service learning courses give students the opportunity to blend theory and practice, to take the theoretical knowledge acquired in the classroom and put it to work in a community. In our case, we will study grassroots development in the classroom and then spend our spring break working side by side with members of a grassroots organization in a week of direct service. Each of the communities with whom we work has invited us to partner with them and four of our trips are repeat visits to communities with who we have worked in the past. A key principle here is that our hosts are partners in a joint endeavor between UMass and grassroots organizations. It would be incorrect to look at our project as charity as every stakeholder in the partnership brings important contributions to our common work. Our time in the community is a time of intense sharing that blurs the boundaries of who is giving and who is taking.

    The class is also different in that it is largely student run and in that it advocates and endeavors to practice a radical, participatory form of education, which is democratic, engaged and relevant.

    This is the program's fourth year. We have expanded from a group of 17 students working in one community to over 100 students working in 6 communities. The Alternative Spring Break (ASB) program at UMass differs from most found on other campuses in that it is a rigorous curricular program. Prior to spring break we will use classroom time to study the causes and consequences of poverty and grassroots approaches to community development. We will also work to develop teamwork and student leadership skills. Indeed, learning to work as a team or as an integrated and effective learning community is one of the most important objectives of this course. During spring break we will undertake a community service-learning project with one of the six community partners listed above. You already know a bit about these partners from the application process and you will learn more about them in the early weeks of the semester.

    Following our trip we will spend the remainder of the semester making sense of our experience through guided discussion, writing and public presentation. We will consider how the strategies of our community partners are similar to and different from other grassroots approaches that we read about in class. We will think about what makes for effective grassroots organizations and the role that alliances with established institutions like Universities can and should play in their political/economic struggles. We will reflect critically on our own role in this process- what do we have to give and what do we take away? Are we, in the course of our one-week sojourn, part of the solution or part of the problem or both? Is there any way to extend the partnership that we have begun with this trip beyond the one week of our stay. Is there a way to move from strategies of reaction - that is strategies aimed at resolving a very specific local problem (like access to clean water) - to strategies that address effectively the root causes of social and economic injustice.

    It is important to remember that the trip is only one component of this course albeit a central one. The course requires a considerable commitment on the part of each of you. You have the dual obligation of using this trip to enhance your classroom learning and at the same time using all of your skills to assists the community that is hosting us. We believe that we are engaged in an important experiment in democratic education. We approach the work that we do as an active collaboration - there is no room for passivity in this course. This syllabus was designed jointly by Professor Keene and a group of alumni from the 2000 ASB program. Everyone in this class is responsible for the teaching and the learning that goes on. We expect you to come to EVERY CLASS prepared to contribute, drawing on all of the skills and experiences that you have at your disposal. We expect you to participate in this learning community as both a teacher and a learner. We expect you to assume responsibility for, not only your own learning but for that of others in the learning community as well. This means that the responsibilities of each member of this project are quite substantial and quite different from what you might encounter in a conventional course. We hope that you will bring the enthusiasm and energy that you have demonstrated in your past service experiences to this one and that you will help to make our efforts meaningful and memorable. Last year's teams were unanimous in their assessment that ASB was a powerful, demanding and rewarding educational experience. We hope it will be the same for you. All of our group leaders are alumni of previous UMass ASB trips. We hope that some of you who will be returning to UMass next year will assume leadership positions in planning and executing ASB 2002.

    Models of Grassroots Development: We have a significant challenge facing us this term. We must not only digest a significant amount of academic material on community development but we must also become smoothly functioning teams and we need to develop the skills necessary to do so. And of course we have a major trip/project in the middle of the term. Hence it would be foolish and arrogant to suggest that the survey of grassroots development strategies that we will undertake would be comprehensive. We have been selective, exploring a variety of strategies that we have found helpful or provocative or both. We have focused mostly on successes as success stories are a key to building hope and to motivating community action. Among the strategies we will cover are:

    1) popular education - in a variety of forms
    2) community building through spiritual and social renewal (the Ivanhoe model)
    3) community development corporations
    4). Smokestack chasing
    5) housing development
    6) Sarvodaya - cooperative community labor
    7) micro-credit (the Grameen Bank)
    8) producer cooperatives
    9) community land trusts

    Academic Requirements: (also spelled out in the Community Covenant handed out at the first class).

    Attend EVERY class meeting and most out-of-class meetings (e.g. potlucks, planning sessions and fundraisers).
    Complete all required readings in a timely, thorough and thoughtful fashion.
    Complete weekly response papers in a timely and thoughtful fashion (more on this below).
    Adhere to the personal and inter-personal commitments outlined in the Community Covenant
    Complete a group project prior to the last week of classes (see below for suggestions).
    Complete a team simulation on community development strategies in week 13.
    Complete a final reflective essay and evaluation (7-10 pages) (see below)

    Logistical Requirements:

    All students must provide proof of health insurance and tetanus immunization by the third class meeting.
    All students must fill out two emergency medical forms and two waiver of liability by the third class meeting.
    All students must pay the balance of their $150 travel fee by the third class meeting (unless special arrangements have been made)
    All students must attend the retreat on FRI Feb 9 and SAT FEB 10. NOTE: any student who misses the retreat will be dropped from the course.


    1) Controlled Substances: UMass ASB trips are substance free. All team members make a pledge to not use alcohol or drugs from the time we leave UMass until the time we return.
    2) Attendance: building an effective learning community requires trust. Trust is undermined and resentment fostered when the entire group is not present to do the work that needs to be done. Full attendance is expected unless truly exceptional circumstances prevent it.
    3)Compassion compromise and understanding: we will be living in tight quarters without most of the comforts to which we are accustomed. It is essential that we adopt the practices that promote good community: listening well, trying to see the point of view of others, compromise when possible, being open and honest with each other , questioning our own assumptions about others and about the world around us, trying to keep things in perspective by remembering what is important and what is not, and remembering that all of us can be annoying in our own unique ways.
    4) Safety: We will approach our work with a conscientiousness that protects our own personal safety and that of others.

    Disregard for the non-negotiables of ASB will result in a unilateral drop from the program. Disregard for the non-negotiables during the trip will result in the team member being sent home by bus at the team member's expense.

    Grades: Our collective endeavor is hardly amenable to conventional grading and indeed, invites a critique of conventional forms of evaluation. We could of course, assign point values to each of the written exercises that you will be doing but this would just add a veneer of false precision to an evaluation that is clearly complex and subjective. Conversely, we could grade the class pass/fail but this, to our thinking, unfairly penalizes students who do outstanding work (which is the case for nearly all of the students in the class) by depriving them of a high grade that would enhance their traditional academic profile. In addition, pass/fail sends the message to some students and faculty that the work that we undertake is not as serious or does not require the same effort as a "real" graded course. We believe that the learning that we do in this course, which forces us to link our academic theories to real life practices, is more demanding than most conventional university courses. Therefore, we will indeed grade your work in this class and we will do so according to the following criteria. Because there is much at stake here (e.g. validating this form of democratic learning, fulfilling a commitment to a community in need, supporting the learning needs of others) we have high expectations and intend to hold you to a high standard. Those who meet all of the expectations of the course set out above will receive a grade of "AB". Those who exceed our expectations by doing work of consistently outstanding quality or by taking on added responsibilities will receive a grade of "A". Those who fail to meet the minimum expectations of the course will receive a grade of less than "AB" (how much less depends on the size of the gap between expectations and performance. This assessment will be made in committee by your team leaders and by Professor Keene though the final decision rests solely with him). If you are uncomfortable with the lack of precision in this arrangement, you may, prior to the end of the third week of classes, negotiate a more precise grading contract with Keene. If you desire to do this, please develop your own draft language for such a contract and meet with Keene during office hours to discuss it.

    Group Meeting Format: Most of our meetings will take place exclusively with our trip teams. On a few occasions such as the retreat, films or guest lectures we may all meet together in Goessman 20. If we are going to meet in Goessman you will be given plenty of advance notice. Otherwise, you should assume that you are meeting in small groups. Each weekly group meeting will (hopefully) have three components: 1) an academic discussion and evaluation of the reading and writing for the week 2) a team building activity and 3) a small amount of time set aside for logistical questions. Because logistics can easily expand to fill our entire class time, we try to take care of most of this stuff through our weekly newsletter, PRAXIS. It is essential that you read PRAXIS carefully each week. Similarly, PRAXIS is the place for you to submit your own announcements to the class. These should be submitted to Keene at ( by noon on Wednesday to appear the following day in class.

    You will find that we have far more to do each week than we can accomplish in the three hours allotted for class and you should therefore plan to take care of some logistical details outside of regular class time. Everyone should approach their work in class as both a learner and a teacher, as an active contributor and a sympathetic listener. The circular layout of the classroom is meant to symbolize and facilitate an egalitarianism that engenders safe, open dialogue. Team leaders will facilitate when necessary but it is the responsibility of EVERY member of the group to promote active, critical and meaningful learning.

    Projects: Each of you will work in teams of 2-4 to complete one of the projects listed below. Each project also requires a brief reflection and evaluation of how the team process worked for your particular team and if things did not go perfectly, a diagnosis of how you might have done things differently.

    The project should showcase some of the learning that you have done in the class and ideally help enhance the learning of others in the class. Don't wait until the last minute to design yours.

    Everyone must commit to complete a specific project and notify your group leader in writing (using the attached project notification form) NO LATER THAN OUR FIRST CLASS AFTER WE RETURN FROM SPRING BREAK. Projects must be completed by the last day of class. Please, please, please discuss your ideas for your project with us early and often. Last year there was a pretty strong correlation between those who began the planning process early and worked closely with us and those who got a late start on a vaguely defined project. We understand that the trip itself may serve as a catalyst for project ideas and this is fine. Some Ideas:

    A) prepare a paper or academic poster on your ASB project to present at the statewide undergraduate research conference in Sturbridge on April 27 (Abstracts are due mid FEB). The list of examples that follows is hardly exhaustive.. You are invited to come up with other ideas.

    1) WATER: Virginia ranks second in the nation for number of persons who do not have access to indoor plumbing (nearly 90k). This in turn has a direct impact on the quality of water supplies...outhouses (or households who do not even use outhouses) contribute considerably to the pollution of the aquifer. The research could have two components: 1) a relatively straightforward empirical component which documents the extent of the problem 2) an activist component that explores the causes for this condition and the different strategies communities are using to deal with this problem. This could be completed by interviewing folk in New Road, Westmoreland, and/or Caroline as well as the folk at SERCAP ( a community action program that focuses on water quality issues). This would also be amenable to collaboration by members of different trips. It could make a very nice presentation and could include some great visuals as a poster.

    2) Heritage Culture and Race: The population of Northampton County in VA (New road and Cape Charles) is 50% black yet there is, as we understand it, virtually no African-American content in the curriculum of the local schools. What are the implications of this and what can be done about it. Several paper possibilities here. [By the way, the situation is analogous for Appalachian kids in VA).

    a) work with the local community and our own afro-am department to develop a mini-curriculum of kids in the community in African American heritage.

    b) explore the education literature for studies on the degree to which connection with ones heritage, African America or otherwise, enhances motivation to learn and to continue one's education.

    3) Race, gender and service. Nationwide, the majority (80%) of folk who volunteer for programs such as this one are white women. What is going on (explore the literature on the subject of volunteerism) and what is to be done so that the volunteer base is diversified. What are the arguments that suggest that this is important? You might begin by looking at the book, Community Service and Higher Learning by Robert Rhoades.

    4) Land trusts - are an important tool that communities use to protect against gentrification and loss of a land base. Review some of the literature on land trusts and then apply it to the community that you are studying. This is especially appropriate for Cape Charles, New Road and Holyoke.

    5) local credit - micro credit and access to capital: how can communities get their hands on small amounts of capital outside of the conventional commercial lending institutions to trigger small scale development in depressed communities. Would this work in your host community?

    6) Community organizing and mobilization: what are the key factors that contribute to mobilizing AND SUSTAINING a local coalition that will work on local problems. In the case of Holyoke, Caroline and Westmoreland - what are the special problems associated with creating multi-racial coalitions.

    7) women and organizing: in five of the six communities we are working in the leadership is mostly female. What is happening here? What are some of the implications?

    8) CAP's : Caroline county is not so much a grassroots organization as a Community Action Program run largely by folk from outside of the community. What are CAP's, how do they work and how do they differ from the grassroots organizations that we have studies. Evaluate when a CAP is a preferable or more effective organizing strategy.

    9) ASB as development: design a research project that explores/evaluates some of the claims that are made for ASB as a useful development strategy - either in your host community or across a sample of communities. OR, design a poster (following the New Road example in the UACT office) that illustrates how ASB works as a development strategy in your host community.

    10) environmental racism - how does environmental racism affect some of the communities that we are working with? What are approaches that other communities have taken to combat environmental racism.

    B) Design AND implement the UMass ASB web site with considerable content from this year's trips.

    C) conduct a follow-up project that strengthens our connection with our host community. For example, in 1998 we conducted a letter writing campaign to assist a host community in their environmental justice campaign against a large utility company. Last year we operated the New Road summer camp for one week in August for the children of New Road. This year we will inaugurate the Reverse Spring Break Program in which kids from our host communities spend a week visiting the UMass campus.

    D) plan a project that helps advance to cause of ASB 2002. For example, in 1999, Jessica Wilson produced and aired a half-hour radio show on the New Road Community Development Group for radio station WMUA. And last year, the entire Ivanhoe group won a small arts council grant to produce a multi-media installation on Ivanhoe which was on display during the last week of classes at the Earthfoods Cafe. The installation included a "grand opening" in which distinguished members of the campus community were invited and in which several members of the ASB team spoke.

    E) Read the book Power, Process and Participation -Tools for Change by Slocum et. Al. It's on reserve in Keene's Office. Choose at least a couple of tools from the toolkit in the book and discuss in detail how and why you would apply them to your ASB site. If you do this as a team project you should choose more tools or apply them to more cases, e.g. You could apply the tools to both your host community and to one or more of the case studies that we have read this term. You might also do a similar project with McKnight and Kretzman's Building Communities from the Inside out or with Bobo et. Al.'s Organizing for Social Change.

    F) Take one of the models of grassroots development mentioned above, for example, CDC's and compare a case study that we have examined in this class with an additional case study that you have read from outside the assigned reading list.

    G) prepare a research paper in which you explore one of the development strategies introduced in the later weeks, which we discussed only briefly, I.e. Sarvodaya, micro-credit and Grameen Bank, land trusts and producer cooperatives. You might explore how one of these, for example micro-credit, might work in your host region or why micro-credit would not be transferable to your host region.

    H) Read the book Common Fire by Robert Daloz et. Al. (Keene has one copy). This book explores why certain people choose to enrich their lives with service to others, why folk choose to get involved and try to make a difference. In an essay of roughly 10 pages, summarize the findings of Daloz et al and them discuss how the book measure up against your own experiences and those of some of your teammates in this ASB course.

    I) make us an offer but try to think through some of the details before you do

    A NOTE ON PHOTO ESSAYS: During the last two years we have had several requests to do photo essays as a final project. In spite of proposals that promised photo essays with considerable academic/analytical content, we have found academic and analytical content to be absent. We therefore, do not intend to accept projects involving photo essays this year, unless the proposals are truly exceptional and analytical content can be guaranteed.

    Required Reading: Available at Food For Thought Books, 106 N. Pleasant St. Amherst.

    Horton, Myles 1998 The long haul. Teachers College Press, NY.

    Medoff, Peter and Holly Sklar 1994 Streets of Hope. South End Press, Boston, MA

    Stout, Linda 1996 Bridging the class divide and other lessons for grassroots organizing. Beacon Press, Boston.

    The Zapatistas 1998 Zapatista Encuentro: documents from the 1996 Encounter for Humanity and Against Neoliberalism. Seven Stories Press, NY.

    Also Required: Available at CopyCat Print Shop. 37 East Pleasant St.

    A Community Reader. Selected Readings for Anthropology 397H. Ask for packet # 474. An index of these readings is listed at the back of this syllabus. The contents of this reader are about 60% congruent with the reader from last year. If you are using last year's reader, you can see us about getting copies of those articles that you are missing.

    Reading Assignments: Assigned readings are listed under the week THAT THEY ARE DUE. We expect you to read thoroughly, to take notes, or make marginal notes on your reading, and to go back and re-read and seek help from your peers when you are having difficulty. We expect juniors and seniors to assist the freshmen and sophomores with material that they might find daunting, indeed we expect everyone to use their personal expertise to help deepen the learning of everyone else in the class. We expect everyone to show up in class prepared to engage these readings thoughtfully and passionately. The critical writing that you do about these readings will help prepare you for these discussions.

    Critical Reflection: Critical reflection is the key to making the connection between our learning in the classroom and our learning in the "real world" It is the key to formulating understanding and putting that understanding to good use by transforming it into action. It is a key process in linking our service to learning. It is the key to getting the most out of this project.

    What exactly is critical reflection? It is a route to thinking about the world in a new way. It is the practice of learning to ask good questions. It is a process specifically structured to help examine the frameworks that we use to interpret experience. Critical reflection " pushes us to step outside of the old and familiar and to reframe our questions and our conclusion in innovative and more effective terms" (Eyler, Giles and Schmiede, 1996).

    How will you do this? The primary (but not the only) tool for reflection this term is your personal journal. We ask you to interact with your journal regularly to explore the ideas generated in this course and to challenge yourself to think about them in new and complex ways. Now, you may have kept a journal in a pervious course (including one of Keene's) and it may have been a fairly casual endeavor. This term, we are asking you to do something very specific and rigorous. We ask each of you to acquire a sturdy, 2 inch (at least) three ring binder and to bring it to class with you each week. You may use this binder to file the many papers that we will hand out each week. But we also ask to reserve a section of that binder to serve s your personal journal.

    Each week we will ask you to make AT LEAST TWO TYPED entries in your journal of a minimum of one single spaced page each). Each week we will ask you to turn in your reflections and you will receive them back with brief commentary the following week. We ask you to put some effort into your reflections. While free writing is certainly a useful strategy for "getting the ideas out of your head and onto paper" or for "jump starting your thinking", it is not the only strategy that you will want to use. At the beginning of the term we will give you directed questions to answer for your journal entries to help you learn to ask deep, tough, critical questions. As we progress, and particularly during our spring break trips, you will have more freedom to explore what you want to explore and to simply describe your observations. Of course, you need not limit your journal entries to two/week and we encourage you to use your journal to reflect on the questions raised in class and to raise questions of your own as well as to begin the process of observing the world around you from the very outset. We will discuss different ways to approach observation and reflection as the term goes on but one useful formula is to reflect on a critical even or observation using THE THREE WHATS.

    1) What? What did I observe, or hear or read. Describe the event.

    2) So what? What does it mean? How do I make sense of it? What kind of questions does it raise for me?

    3)Now what? How might this impact on how I will act as a result of this reflection.

    We recommend that you divide your journal into at least three subsections entitled Reflections, Questions and Actions. The reflection section contains all of your written reflections, assigned and otherwise. Directed reflections, that is, those assigned by us, should be typed. Others, including your reflections during the trip need not be typed. You may also want to use this section to accumulate newspaper or magazine articles or any other artifacts that help you expand your thinking about the issues that we raise. The Questions Section is a place where you can keep an ongoing list of questions that you have raised and would like to think more about. I find it helpful to revisit frequently the questions section of my own journal. The Actions Section is a place to remind yourself of things that you want to do as a result of your reflection. I keep an action section in my journal to remind myself of people I intend to contact, books or articles I should read, or issues that I should raise in class or with the other group leaders. Revisiting all sections of your journal during the term is a way of keeping your inquiry active and also helps make you aware of how your ideas are evolving.

    Please note that your journal entries are due in class each week at the time of class. Even if you miss a class (which of course you won't) you must make sure that your reflections arrive either physically or via email. PLEASE BE SURE TO DATE ALL OF YOUR ENTRIES WHETHER THEY ARE ASSIGNED OR SELF DIRECTED.

    Schedule of Events

    Week 1 FEBRUARY 1


    Objectives: Clarify goals for the term. Begin the team building process.


    Introduction to the team - - build a tower

    personal introductions
    history of the mission and the program
    course logistics
    Q & A
    setting personal goals - a letter to yourself

    READING: please note that the book, Bridging the Class Divide must be completed by Week 4. While it is a fairly quick read you will note that you also have a lot of reading for Weeks 2 and 3. Therefore, it would be advisable for you to get a head start on your reading before you get bogged down in your other classes. Similarly, Horton's autobiography is also a quick read but perhaps more than you will want to do in a single week. This must be completed by Week 6. There will be study guides for both books that will be handed out, hopefully, in Week 2.

    Week 2 Feb 8


    Objectives: Explore, what kinds of preconceptions we have about poverty and its amelioration. What do we know about poverty in this country and what do we need to know? What do the concepts of "development and underdevelopment" mean to us? How does language constitute the world, that is, how does the vocabulary we use actively shape the society we live in and the actions we take within it?


    team building: human bingo ( a game) & styles of communication grid ( an exploration of our personal styles of communication)

    academic: class discussion of Escobar. Be sure to use the study guide in preparing for the class.

    Brief class discussion on the state of our knowledge about poverty and where it comes from

    Logistics: medical and liability for distribution.

    Travel arrangements for the retreat
    Q & A

    READ: Escobar: Notes on the language of development (in the reader).

    United for a Fair Economy: excerpts.

    WEEKEND OF FEBRARY 9th and 10th: Required Team Building Retreat. 5 PM Friday until 8 PM Saturday at The United Methodist Church of Greenfield. Caravans will leave from the rear of Machmer at 5 PM sharp. You must attend this retreat to remain in the class.

    Week 3: February 15


    Objectives: explore the Ivanhoe model of community development. Contrast smokestack chasing with grassroots approaches. Consider: how do we evaluate what works and what doesn't' - or what a community really needs? We also raise the questions for the first time: who are you to be doing this? How do we justify our own presence in our host communities. Does ASB work as a development model for Ivanhoe?


    team building:1) the mystery object game 2) processing the retreat

    academic: two discussions:

    1) the Ivanhoe approach to development. What is it and what worked?
    2) ASB as a development strategy? What can we learn from Ivanhoe?


    med forms. Liability formers and balance of payment due at this class
    fund raising appeal

    READ: (all from the reader)

    Lewis and Gaventa
    Lewis, Hinsdale and Waller.

    Supplemental: Those who are interested in learning more about Ivanhoe (and especially those who will be going there) should consider reading the first two chapters from Lewis et. Al. - It Comes From the People. (On reserve in Keene's office).

    WEEK 4 FEB 22


    Objectives: The PPP gives us an opportunity to consider some of the strategies associated with grassroots organizing and how they intersect with issues of race, class, gender and sexual preference. We will consider the case of Linda Stout, a community organizer and the lessons that she learned in founding the PPP.


    team building: TBA

    academic: small group discussions of the case of the PPP. Comparison with Ivanhoe.

    Abstraction of lessons that we can take away from these two case studies.

    The challenge: in working in poor communities success stories are an important weapon against apathy and cynicism. Would you (how would you) construct Stout's story as a success story? How would you tell it to inspire others in your outreach work? How would your telling of this story differ at "home" (with a student or faculty audience) or in your host community (with an audience of activist citizens or organizers)?

    Logistics: as needed

    READ: Stout: Bridging the class divide

    WEEK 5 MAR 1


    Objectives: If we hope to work effectively in communities that are unlike our own or if we hope to form effective teams based on trust and mutual understanding, we will need to spend some time considering how we construct our own identity and what we know about folk who do not share that identity. That is, we need to know who we are if we hope to better understand others. The dialogue around race, class, gender and sexual preference is often a difficult one and we may find that many of us do not have a lot of experience in talking about these components and concepts of identity in a meaningful way. Therefore, the aim of this class, following the work we did at the retreat, is to share some tools that will make the dialogue less unfamiliar/uncomfortable and consequently less difficult and more productive.


    team building: the matrix of social identity

    academic: exploration of the questions:

    What is privilege and how does it play itself out in the intersection of race, class and gender? What are the dangers of essentializing identities? What do the authors have to say about identity formation and cross-cultural communication? How does our exploration of our own identity formation prepare us to be better allies and to form stronger coalitions. What do we need to do to prepare ourselves, to work and to live in multicultural settings?

    Logistics: final appeals for fundraising and food collection

    meal planning for Holyoke should be finalized
    other stuff as needed.

    READ: (everything is from the reader)

    McIntosh, Morrison, Tatum (x2), Blumenfeld, Ford and Jordan (x2)

    WEEK 6 MAR 8


    Objectives: To understand The Highlander Center's successful model of popular education as presented through the autobiography of its founder, Myles Horton. Elements of the Highlander approach are evident in Ivanhoe, New Road and Cape Charles and you will find that while we present many different models in the class, we are highly partial to the highlander approach. So, your goal for this week should be to understand this approach to community development and organizing and why it works. You should also be able, as always, to convey this understanding to others.

    Team building: TBA

    Activities: in class assessment of the Highlander Model

    Summary: what have we learned about grassroots development thus far?
    Checklist of things we want to watch for in our host communities.

    Logistics: set date and format for return potluck and party (tentative in Week 9).

    READ: Horton, The Long Haul.

    WEEK 7 MAR 15



    To set/or review what we want to get out of this project
    To review standards of behavior in the field including safety protocols
    To consider ethnocentrism and how to overcome it.
    To revisit the discussion of what it takes to be a good ally
    To revisit the discussion of what it takes to be a good team member


    Team building: problem-solving scenarios (like those we did at the retreat).

    Academic: What is the difference between service for charity and service for social justice? Where does our work fit in on Morton's continuum? Discussion of the readings and considering how to behave in the field. These readings and those by Jordan a few weeks ago, pose questions about how to act. Let's review some basic rules. How can we prepare to be a good observer? Reminders to sharpen our listening and observational skills. Reminder: why are we there and what do we hope to accomplish?


    Safety/emergency contacts
    Travel/departure arrangements
    Picking up and loading the vans
    Food collection
    Last minute Q& A



    Spring Break March 17th - March 24th.

    Plan to leave early on Saturday Morning. We really need to be on the road NO LATER THAN 7:30 so we will probably rendezvous at 7:00 AM at the University. Holyoke of course has a much shorter drive and will probably want to leave much later in the day. The VA trips, with the exception of Ivanhoe, will drive straight through. The Ivanhoe group will drive to Caroline County, spend the night there and head out to Ivanhoe in the AM. We will work Sunday-Friday and leave our sites early on Sat AM. We will drive straight back to Amherst arriving on SAT night unless weather requires us to overnight along the way.

    WEEK 8 MAR 29


    Objectives: after spending a week living in intimate quarters and working hard together as a team it is often a shock to return to our individual, private lives and the relative affluence of Amherst. We will use this class to reconnect with each other and to begin the process of making sense of the work we did in the preceding week.

    Activities: personal sharing and catching up

    Review of action statements developed in the field: reporting out on what you are doing to follow through.

    The post trip reflection exercise: handed out on your last day in your host community

    Projects: your team project must be defined by this time. This means you should have had a conversation with one of the group leaders about your plan, prior to turning in your project declaration form.

    WEEK 9 APR 5


    Objectives: The Dudley Street initiative is an inspiring case. Against incredible odds this neighborhood organizes an effective and sustainable multi-racial coalition that succeeds in reclaiming and revitalizing their neighborhood. This is a success story on many levels and it is important that we look deeply into what works for Dudley and why. And because it is an inspirational story it is important that we be able to tell it and tell it well. We will devote two weeks to this book. In this, the first week, we will explore the roots of the problems that Dudley faces foundations for success. We will ask, what were the challenges/obstacles, facing Dudley, how did they set their priorities, how did they mobilize and what exactly did they need to do to make change. Don't forget to consult the study guide in preparing for this class.


    Personal reports: action statements and/or projects
    Discussion of the First Five Chapters on Dudley
    Possibly a video on Dudley.

    READ: Medoff and Sklar: Streets of Hope. Preface and Chapters 1-5.

    RETURN POTLUCK AND PARTY: If possible we would like to have a potluck and coming home party this week. Part of the after dinner festivities will be brief (10) reports from each of the trips to the rest of the group. Details will be worked out in Week 6.

    WEEK 10 APR 12


    Objectives: last week we looked at the planning. This week we look at the product. What did the DSNI accomplish? What worked for DNSI and what did not? How would we characterize this model of grassroots development? How does the story compare with the other cases we have looked at this year including Holyoke?


    Discussion of the readings and comparison exercise
    Possible comparative report from the Holyoke group
    Possible guest speaker from DSNI or Nueva Esperanza

    READ: Remainder of Medoff and Sklar.

    WEEK 11 APR 19


    Objectives: this week will give you a very brief introduction to some additional grassroots development strategies. We will be unable to cover these in any depth but the very short readings will at least introduce you to the concepts and create a framework for thinking about whether these ideas might be applied in our host communities.


    Discussion and comparison of the different projects relating these projects to specific issues in our host communities.
    Reviewing and analyzing the approaches to development in our host communities as we understand them.
    Possible video on Mondragon or guest speakers from the Ghana ASB project in the Nursing.
    Handout and explain Development Simulation- The Case of Earl Grey, to be completed by Week 13.

    READ: (all from the reader)

    Grameen Bank
    Witt and Swann
    Plus: short handout on Mondragon handed out in class.

    WEEK 12 APR 26


    Objectives: to review the basic history of the Zapatista uprising and to compare their "program" with the cases we have studies thus far. The struggle of the Zapatistas gives us an opportunity to revisit the question of whether we can address pressing local needs at the same time that we confront root causes of those needs.


    Progress Reports on Projects
    Possible guest speaker from DNSI or City Year Boston
    Discussion of the Zapatista Readings. Comparison with the cases we have studies this term.
    Final Reflective Essay Assignment to be handed out at this class.


    The Zapatistas
    From the Reader: Cleaver.
    Also: there are several excellent web sites with up to date information on the Zapatistas. Hopefully, we will provide some of these in an issue of PRAXIS.

    THURSDAY APRIL 26 . OPTIONAL FILM SCREENING 6:30-7:45. Place TBA (probably 106 Thompson)

    Micro-credit as a strategy for combating the marginalizing effects of globalization.

    WEEK 13. May 4


    Objectives: For the past two weeks you have worked in small teams to complete a development plan for Earl Grey Massachusetts, a fictional community that reflects some very real problems that are found in nearby Franklin County. Your plan, which you will present, to the rest of the class, gives you an opportunity to demonstrate how much you have learned this term. You will creatively apply the knowledge you have acquired from experience, readings and discussions to find practical strategies that will help the town of Earl Grey get back on its feet.

    Activities: Group presentations

    Return of your letters from the first day of class to be used in helping you frame your final written reflection.



    WEEK 14 MAY 11



    Project presentations
    Final reports on action statements
    Final group reflection




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