RCSSCI 489 - Organizing: People, Power, and Change
Section: 001
Term: WN 2019
Subject: RC Social Sciences (RCSSCI)
Department: LSA Residential College
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

This course introduces students to the theory and practice of organizing for social justice. Topics covered include: the nature of organizing; the role of the organizer; motivating collective action through appeals to narratives, values and interests; resources and power; leadership development; building community capacity; strategy and tactics; campaigns; organizational structure and governance. Course readings provide theoretical, historical, and practical frameworks for developing knowledge and skills in these domains, drawing on scholarship in history, political science, sociology, social movements, organizational studies, social psychology, and cognitive psychology.

Academic analysis is not enough. Organizing is a practice that must be learned through experience. Each student in the course will intern for 8 hours per week with a SE Michigan non-profit organization that is engaged in social change work through organizing. Experience is not enough either. Students need to engage in sustained, critical reflection on what they are seeing, feeling and doing in their internship to fully integrate experience and theory. Weekly journals, course assignments and classroom activities are designed to help students to do that, and thereby, to generalize from their current experience to practical lessons for future civic engagement.

Students will not be evaluated on the success or failure of their organizing projects, but rather on their understanding of the concepts and their ability to apply them in discussions of the organizing work that they and their fellow students are doing. Grades are based on attendance and fully engaged participation at site and section, weekly 1-2 page reflection papers, class presentations, and a final paper. The course is worth four credits: three of those credits are graded; the fourth credit (which corresponds to the 8 hours per week of organizing work in the field) is experiential and credit/no credit. Students enrolling in the 3-credit graded class (either RC SSci 489 or Soc 489) will be enrolled automatically in the 1-credit credit/no credit course (RC SSci 488). The course is capped at 18 and will be run as a discussion seminar.

Course Requirements:

Intended Audience:

To register, contact Ian at eian@umich.edu, get a copy of the syllabus, and read it carefully. Then go to http://bit.ly/2Cmd11Q to fill in the short on-line application form. Ian will set up an interview with you to answer your questions, consider internship options, and decide on the override

Class Format:

Each student in the course will intern for 8 hours per week with a SE Michigan non-profit organization that is engaged in social change work through organizing.

RCSSCI 489 - Organizing: People, Power, and Change
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
TuTh 6:00PM - 7:30PM
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