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Detroit-Based Electives

Semester in Detroit elective classes are open to all UM students. The classes take place in Detroit, and the program provides transportation for those students in Ann Arbor who are interested. Below are the electives offered for Fall 2019:

Detroit Artist As Activist

RCCORE 334 - Special Topics Section: 004 


This course will explore the role the arts have played in resisting systemic inequalities, fighting injustice, and giving voice to those on the margins. We will consider both the strengths and limitations of art, particularly creative writing, as a force for change as well as art's effectiveness in engaging communities. Further, we will use the study and practice of creative writing to deepen our understandings of and relationships to the city of Detroit. 

Environmental Justice Organizing in Detroit

RCCORE 334 - Special Topics Section: 005


This course looks at movements, resistance, resilience, and liberation. Community organizing is one of the most popular areas of specialization to the School of Social Work. A growing body of evidence reveals that people of color and low-income persons have borne greater environmental and health risks than the society at large in their neighborhood, workplace, and playgrounds. Over the last decade grassroots activists have attempted to change the way governments implement environmental and health laws. Grassroots groups have organized, educated, and empowered themselves to improve the way government regulations and environmental policies are administered. In a class setting we will connect history, current events, and real-life experiences to local organizing and movement struggles that build power for our communities. These courses will utilize highly interactive popular education methods where participants share political analysis, learn facilitation and organizing skills, and think together about long-term, transformative strategies to build environmental, racial and economic justice. It is critical for organizers, activists, scholars and community members to come together, connect our work with each other, share our experiences and place our local organizing within a larger historical and political context. We can build deep and strong social movements that act strategically and collectively over the long term. Students will develop actual tools in popular education, facilitation and workshop organizing that can be applied immediately in the fieldUnderstand the roots of Environmental Racism/ InjusticeUnderstand how organizing in grassroots communities is uniqueUnderstanding and practicing grassroots methods of organizing from the block to block and neighborhood to neighborhood levelUnderstanding the differences between organizing methods: protests, campaigns, community organizing and movement building.