Civic and Community Engagement Classes: Fall 2020-Spring 2021

If you’re interested in learning more about the Charlottesville community; forming close working relationships with your professors and peers, and addressing complex social issues, then a Civic and Community Engagement (CCE) course may be right for you. 
These courses challenge students to integrate their classroom learning with in-person community engagement work, creating an academic experience that is unique for every student. 

The CCE courses listed below are two semesters long, allowing students to develop relationships with community stakeholders and complete substantive community-engaged work. 

Introduction to Musical Ethnography

Fall 2020: MUSI  3070 | #15879 | TuTh 9:30AM - 10:45AM
Spring 2021: MUSI  3070 | Course Number and Meeting Times TBA

Taught by: Nomi Dave

Why and how does music matter to human beings? What does musical experience look / sound / feel like to particular people and communities? And how can these stories be told ethically and creatively? This course introduces students to the study of music as a fundamentally social practice, through the research method of ethnography. In music, this approach looks beyond notes and musical structures to think of music as part of everyday human life. Our discussions will address key debates in anthropology and ethnomusicology surrounding the ethics and politics of doing research with and representing the experiences of people and communities. The ethics of listening – to sound and to each other – is at the heart of these discussions. As a class, we will develop a year-long ethnographic project, working collectively and collaboratively with a small number of musicians in Charlottesville. Together with the artists, we will design a project that creatively represents the stories of their musical lives. We will also work with WTJU radio to learn recording and production techniques for creative and ethical story-telling.

Hands-On Public History: Slavery and Reconstruction

Fall 2020: AMST 3221 | #17611 | Tu 3:30PM - 6:00PM
Spring 2021: AMST 3221 | Course Number and Meeting Times TBA

Taught by: Lisa Goff

"Public history" is history that is delivered to a non-academic audience, often at historic sites, museums, archives, and on digital platforms. Some films, podcasts, fiction, and poetry might also be considered public history. This course will use all of those formats to investigate how the history of slavery in central Virginia is presented to the public. We will critique how historic sites in the Charlottesville area, including the university, interpret this history, and identify the political and social impacts of these interpretations. Field trips to local and regional historic sites will be a key (and hopefully enjoyable) component of this class. We'll visit Montpelier and Monticello, for example, as well as Richmond, where we'll see Kehinde Wiley's powerful new statue, Rumors of War. But critique is not the only, or even the most important goal of our class. Students will collaborate with local community groups, WTJU, and Scholar's Lab to produce podcasts and digital maps that fill in some of the gaps in the public history of slavery and its legacies in Charlottesville and surrounding counties--contributing, in some small way, to a more just and comprehensive public history.
PLEASE NOTE: Class participation will play a very large role in student assessment, as will the final project and all the assignments leading up to it. Several (2-3) field trips will be scheduled on weekends; these are all mandatory. Dates will be announced at the first class meeting.

Cultural Conversations- Sí se puede: Community Engagement in Spanish Speaking Charlottesville 

Fall 2020: SPAN  3020-001 | #17218 | MoWeFr 10:00AM - 10:50AM

Taught by: Esther Poveda Moreno

Have you ever wondered what kinds of change could you enact with more proficient Spanish writing skills? In this section of SPAN 3020, you will have the opportunity to grapple with advanced grammatical and writing skills while you read and discuss selected works by representative Latin American authors that have used writing as a tool for social justice and change, and by participating in a community engagement project. In this course, in addition to completing 15-18 hours of volunteer work with a local organization in the fields of immigration and education, health, or social work, you will deliberately use advanced grammatical forms to construct meaning and will produce texts in which grammar and meaning interact to lead to effective writing in Spanish.

Spring 2021: SPAN 3030 | Course Number and Meeting Times TBA

Taught by: Esther Poveda Moreno

Cultural Conversation- Sí se puede: Community Engagement in Spanish-Speaking Charlottesville is the continuation of SPAN 3020-001: Grammar and Composition II- Writing for Social Justice and Change. It is Spanish conversation course on the history, and the experiences of the Spanish-speaking population in the USA. In this course, students will continue the community engagement projects that they initiated in the Fall. In class, we will engage in an exploration of the history, contributions, and cultural productions of Spanish-speaking communities and individuals in the USA through a variety of documents (written and oral), and through conversations with leaders in our Latino Community. Throughout the semester, we will also reflect on how language learning is a rewarding and continuous process that allows us to better understand ourselves, to communicate with others, and to construct a more tolerant, and fair world around us.

Both courses will be conducted in Spanish, and the civic & community engagement projects will allow students to use their Spanish with the Charlottesville community. Please note that, as part of the UVA Civic & Community Engagement Program, this is a two-semester course; therefore, students are required to take both courses in the sequence articulated above.

For any questions or further information please contact Prof. Esther Poveda Moreno at

Introduction to Swahili 

Fall 2020: SWAH 1010 | #15098 & #15099 | MoWeFri 10:00AM - 10:50AM
Spring 2021: SWAH 1020 | Course Number and Meeting Times TBA

Taught by: Anne Rotich

Introductory Swahili language course is designed to help students learn Swahili language and cultures for basic conversations with native speakers. Students will learn how to greet others, introduce themselves, and talk about a variety of topics of common interest. Students will also have an opportunity to explore, experience, and engage in some civic work in the Charlottesville Swahili immigrant community. Part of the course activities, will involve engagements opportunities where students will share their culture and experiences with Swahili native speakers in Charlottesville while they discuss and address some of the swahili speakers interests. Students civic engagement activities will include meeting with Swahili speakers, planning, designing and carrying out the collaborative activities with the community.