SOCI 048I Race and Place: A Philadelphia Story
Nina Johnson, SC
Wednesday 2:00–5:00 p.m.
Using Philadelphia neighborhoods as our site of study, this course will analyze the relationship between race/ethnicity and spatial inequality, emphasizing the institutions, processes, and mechanisms that shape the lives of urban dwellers. We will survey major theoretical approaches and empirical investigations of racial and ethnic stratification in cities, their concomitant policy considerations, and the impact at the local level in Philadelphia. As part of The Tri-Co Philly Program, this course will take place in the city and engage scholars, practitioners, community members, and leaders as teachers, learners, and researchers alongside students in the course.
PHIL B234 The Nature of Public Art and the Ethics of Commemoration
Macalester Bell, BMC
Wednesday 2:30–4:30 p.m.
Philadelphia has the largest number of public artworks in the country and is also the first city in the nation to require that developers use a portion of their construction budget for public art. It is also home to a number of well-known memorials. In this course, we will take up a number of philosophical questions about the nature of public art, political aesthetics, and the ethics of commemoration using case studies drawn from Philadelphia. Some of the questions we will consider include the following: What is public art? What is public space? What is the role of public art in a democracy? Is there a distinct category of “street art” which can be distinguished from public art on the one hand and graffiti on the other? What is the moral value of commemorative art? What, if anything, do we have a moral obligation to commemorate and what grounds that obligation? How should we assess controversies surrounding the removal of art honoring persons or groups many judge to be morally objectionable, such as Confederate monuments? How should we memorialize victims of injustice?
We will explore these and related questions through contemporary philosophical texts and informed by case studies of public art and memorials in the Philadelphia metro area. This course will be taught in Philadelphia as part of the Tri-Co Philly Program. Our class time will be used for lecture and discussion as well as walking tours and site visits.
POLS H262 Grassroots Economies: Creating Livelihoods in an Age of Urban Inequality
Craig Borowiak, HC
Monday, 10:15–12:45 p.m. and Friday*, 12:15–3:00 p.m.
*Friday is an occasional meeting time for program students only.
We live in an age of intensifying economic inequality, the consequences of which are reflected in the landscapes of many modern cities. In Philadelphia, for example, decades of deindustrialization and urban flight have left the city pockmarked with abandoned lots, deep poverty, and segregated neighborhoods while new capitalist developments have led to concentrated wealth in the city center and gentrifying outward pressures on nearby neighborhoods. For many city dwellers, the mainstream economy is a source of alienation and disempowerment. When that economy fails to provide, what options remain?
The aim of the course would be to examine the political and economic constraints generated by poverty and racial and class segregation in contemporary urban environments and how grassroots economic initiatives rooted in mutual aid often fill the gaps and provide alternative ways to meet needs and generate supportive community. Examples of such initiatives range from guerrilla gardens and artist collectives to worker cooperatives and informal revolving loan funds. Many of these initiatives are informal. Some are legal, others less so. Many also fall under the radar of mainstream studies, which instead focus on capitalist markets, government welfare, and nonprofit philanthropy. Though many grassroots economic initiatives take place on a relatively small scale, they have a much larger footprint and impact when they are looked at together. The course will engage with them both theoretically and with numerous concrete examples and interactive experiences with practitioners. We will also examine various efforts in different cities to cultivate solidarity-based economic alternatives through public-private partnerships and grassroots coalitions. Case studies will be drawn from a variety of countries, though the focus will be on U.S. cities, with a particular emphasis on Philadelphia. This course will be taught in Philadelphia as part of the Tri-Co Philly Program.
Key themes will include: capitalism and post-capitalism, diverse economies, gentrification, public vs. private, geographies of inequality, mapping economic alternatives, informal moral economies, community gardens, DIY, and cooperatives.