Summer 2013 Internships: Teaching Du Bois
With the support of the Philadelphia Partners Internships program sponsored by the John B. Hurford '60 Humanities Center, sociology major Alexandra Wolkoff '14 is spending her summer working on the University of Pennsylvania School of Design project "The Ward: Race and Class in Du Bois' Seventh Ward."
"The Ward" is a research, teaching, and public history project that aims to promote conversation about social justice through the use of W.E.B. Du Bois' 1899 book, The Philadelphia Negro, in the classroom. Working closely with the project's director, Dr. Amy Hillier, Wolkoff is creating a portion of the five-day curriculum that will be implemented in Philadelphia public schools.
"I am focusing on the last day of this curriculum, in which we want to connect this historical knowledge with modern times and peoples' present experiences in Philadelphia," says Wolkoff. "I am designing activities to help educators and students critically reflect on racism." The first four days of the curriculum will teach students about Du Bois' life, the importance of his work, primary historical documents, and Philadelphia's Seventh Ward.
Wolkoff feels well prepared for the work she is doing this summer thanks to the "Multicultural Education" class she took with Bryn Mawr Education Professor Jody Cohen last spring. "We explored how to have exactly these conversations around oppression, privilege, and inequality regarding race, class, gender, sexuality, nationality, etc.," she says, "and how to facilitate them through curriculum and teaching."
Wolkoff has found the interdisciplinary approach of "The Ward" exciting and enjoys the opportunity to work with those from a wide breadth of scholarly and artistic fields. "The project has included people from the fields of history, communications, anthropology, fine arts, education, sociology, English, graphic design, linguistics," Wolkoff says. "I love how collaborative it is!"
Learn more about â€˜The Ward” and its five-day curriculum: http://www.dubois-theward.org.
--Ben Weissman '14