Past CCE Classes

Past Civic and Community Engagement Classes 

Hands-On Public History

Spring 2020: AMST 3221 | #17755 | Tu 3:30PM - 6:00PM

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 Scholars’ Lab to produce podcasts and digital “story maps” that fill in some of the gaps in the public history of slavery in Charlottesville and surrounding counties--contributing, in some small way, to a more just and comprehensive public history.

The Passover Haggadah: A Service Learning Course

Spring 2020: RELJ 3085 | #18357 | We 3:30PM - 6:00PM

Taught by: Vanessa Ochs

The Passover Haggadah cultivates sensitivity for the plight of the stranger, and we will study how it came about and how it has been used as a template for rituals of social activism on behalf of oppressed peoples, and in particular, of refugees. In volunteer placements in the community, UVA students will work with individuals who have have found refuge in Cville. Together, they will collaborate on designing haggadahs and community seders.

Writing Rap: Hip-Hop Histories & Engaged Community Storytelling Practice 

Fall 2019: MUSI  3372 | #13878 | TuTh 9:30AM - 10:45AM
Spring 2020: MUSI 3374 | #18630 | TuTh 9:30AM - 10:45AM

Taught by: A.D. Carson

This course focuses on the hip-hop cultural practice of writing rap. Though this practice is rarely devoid of a local context to which a lyricist is responding while crafting lyrics, this course will place significant emphasis on responding to the local environments to which University of Virginia students might respond, particularly the UVA campus, the city of Charlottesville, the state of Virginia, and their respective home towns and states as they explore the craft of writing raps. It is not necessary that students have previous experience writing raps to take this course. Students will listen to, attempt to deconstruct, and evaluate a broad range of rap music while learning the basics of composing lyrics. Along with writing raps, students will learn songwriting techniques and some theoretical approaches to composing larger works such as a “mixtape” or “album” through examinations of music, criticism, and literature.  

Students enrolled in the course will also participate in open weekly discussion and cypher sessions in the rap lab (NCH 398). Along with extending discussions from the classroom, the rap lab sessions will place emphasis on student collaboration and recording with classmates, the broader university community, and community partners. Students will work with community partners such as the Nine Pillars Hiphop Cultural Fest, Rugged Arts, and Albemarle High School. 

Introduction to Musical Ethnography

Fall 2019: MUSI  3070 | #13603 | TuTh 9:30AM - 10:45AM
Spring 2020: MUSI 3070 | #13149 | TuTh 9:30AM - 10:45AM

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.

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

Fall 2019: SPAN  3020 | #10671 | MoWeFr 11:00AM - 11:50AM
Spring 2020: SPAN 3030 | #12849 | MoWeFr 11:00AM - 11:50AM

Taught by: Esther Poveda Moreno

Sí se puede: Community Engagements in Spanish-Speaking Charlottesville is a Spanish conversation course and the second part of a sequence with a civic and community engagement component. In this course, you will continue the community work you initiated in Fall 2019 in SPAN 3020, by completing 15-18 hours of volunteer work with Latinx and Migrant Aid (Madison House) or the UVA Latino Health Initiative. You will also engage with materials (oral and written), conversations with guest speakers, and learning activities that will prepare you to complete two community-based group projects: a podcast in Spanish and a digital humanities project. No previous knowledge of podcasting or digital humanities is required to complete the projects. Your podcast will showcase and celebrate the work that some of the community agents that we have worked with do in our community. In the second project, we will work together with María Chavalán Sut, a Guatemalan indigenous woman living in sanctuary at the Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church in Charlottesville. María Chavalán Sut has written a short account of her life and experiences. Your work will be to polish the translation of the text into English, edit parts of this significant piece of indigenous testimonio, and prepare it for digital presentation.

The course will be conducted in Spanish, and the civic & community engagement project will allow students to use their Spanish with the Charlottesville community.

Introduction to Swahili 1

Fall 2019: SWAH 1010 | #12377 | MoWeFri 11:00AM - 11:50AM
Spring 2020: SWAH 1020 | #12743 or #12129 | MoWeFr 10:00AM - 10:50AM or MoWeFr 11:00AM - 11:50AM

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.

The Science and Lived Experience of Autism I

LASE 3500 | #13668 | TuTh 9:30AM - 10:45AM
PSYC 3495 | #19350 | TuTh 9:30AM - 10:45AM

Taught by: Vikram Jaswal - 2016-2019

This year-long, interdisciplinary seminar will explore how well the science of autism captures the experience of those living with autism and their families. Students will critically evaluate research in psychology, psychiatry, neuroscience, and education, and they will work together with members of the autism community to identify new research questions that reflect the interests and concerns of the people who are most affected by autism science.

Supporting Engaged Learning in Global/Local Development I

LASE 3500 | #13669 | Mo 2:00PM - 4:30PM
GDS  3110 | #20071 | Mo 2:00PM - 4:30PM

Taught by: David Edmunds - 2016-2019

This class will support student engagements with enterprises, organizations, departments and movements addressing problems broadly defined as development. We will encourage shared learning and co-designed development activities, and we will do so for groups of students as they prepare for "on site" work, while they are in the midst of their engagements, or are returning to the classroom to analyze what they have learned and done. The class will be run as a series of workshops addressing issues shared by some or all of the various students.  These will be defined in the practicum together, but will likely address, at a minimum: dealing with social and cultural differences, generating knowledge across these differences, dealing with uncertainty in establishing plans and budgets, and building in accountability to those outside the university. Some of the workshops will be held on grounds, others off. We will have mentors from within and outside the university address specific topics, and students and their colleagues will learn from each other's experiences through regular in-class presentations.  The learning "products" will be defined by consensus by those involved in the learning and action, but will include at least one reflective essay by each student.

Hip-Hop as Technology 

LASE 3559 | Mo Wd 2:00PM - 3:15PM 
AMST 3559 | Mo Wd 2:00PM - 3:15PM

Taught by: Jack Hamilton - 2016-2017 

If you’ve ever listened to hip-hop music—and, let’s face it, if you’re taking this class, you almost certainly have—in the process of doing so you’ve engaged with a pretty ridiculous amount of technology, even if you weren’t aware of it. If you’re on your iPhone listening to Spotify that’s two types right there, and if you’re listening to, say, Drake’s Views or Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo, you’re taking in a whole lot more: drum machines; synthesizers; samplers; Auto-Tune processors; an entire universe of cutting-edge recording and mixing technologies. And hip-hop’s obsession with technology isn’t unique to the current moment: the very earliest creators of the music did so with turntables and hotwired speaker systems, transforming tools designed for musical reproduction into musical instruments themselves. In this class we’re going to probe both the histories and possibilities that lie at the intersection of hip-hop’s relationship with technology. But we’ll also pay special attention to hip-hop’s possibilities as a technology itself: a technology that doesn’t just enable listening, dancing, and general enjoyment, but one that could enable education and improvement, for yourselves and for those who will come after you. Unlike a typical college class, with a clear beginning, middle, and end, as a Community and Civic Engagement Seminar this class is conceived as a fluid and ever-evolving work-in-progress that will ultimately span to include both an in-classroom and a community outreach component. We stand on the ground floor of a course and broader initiative that is entirely new to UVA, and the future shape that it takes will be ours to create.

Making Art in/with Communities

LASE 3559 | TuTh 4:00PM - 6:00PM
MUSI 3559 | TuTh 4:00PM - 6:00PM

Taught by: Katie Schetlick and Peter Bussigel - 2016-2018

What do we mean by community art? How can site­specific performance be used as a platform for social change? Is art­making a right or a privilege? Can art act as a lens through which we come to know and understand the world and, more importantly, our local communities? Why are we here? This practice­driven course explores the relationships between collective art­making and civic engagement. We will carefully consider the history, ethics, and organizational structures of community engaged art practices and then meet with local organizations and artists to better understand the arts and communities specific to Charlottesville. Drawing from a variety of practices including site­specific performance and public art, we will develop context specific approaches to art making that provide a sustained opportunity to live and work off Grounds. Building on what we learn and experience, we will design a larger collaborative art project in Charlottesville. We will strive to create an experience of making something that we can draw from for the rest of our lives, a challenging imperfect experience that models a way of being together and asks questions about our standards and value systems. Our community will extend beyond the temporal and spatial confines of a “course” to become a collective exploring a variety of projects and causes.

The Passover Haggadah and its Contemporary Reinterpretations: A Service Learning Course

LASE 3559 | Th 3:30PM - 6:00PM
RELG 3085 | Th 3:30PM - 6:00PM

Taught by: Vanessa Ochs - 2017-2018

The Haggadah has been transformed over the years to address a wide range of contemporary issues. In class, we will study how the Haggadah came about, and how, in its newest forms, it does the work of tikkun olam, repairing the world.  As part of our class, students will reflect on their world-repairing volunteer work (at UVA or in the community); those needing placements will be helped to secure them. After learning how we can respectfully use the template of the Haggadah to educate and create practices for a better world, students will design their own Haggadah based on their volunteer service work.  This Haggadah should be useful in raising awareness about the work or cause of the community partner. As a class, we will create a 2018 Charlottesville Haggadah and may a model seder in Emancipation Park, inviting community partners.


All Politics Is Local

LASE 3500 | TuTh 9:30AM - 10:45AM
HIUS 3559 | TuTh 9:30AM - 10:45AM

Taught by: Andrew W. Kahrl and Sarah Milov - 2017-2018

Only 55% of voting age citizens cast a ballot in the 2016 Presidential election, the lowest turnout in two decades. While that figure might seem shocking, given the stakes, it constitutes a far greater percentage than voter turnout for local elections, which routinely bring less than 20% of the electorate to the polls. This is in spite of the fact that many of the most consequential decisions and actions affecting Americans’ daily lives are carried out by state and local governments. While pollsters and the media use the public’s views on national figures and the major parties to gauge the nation’s political climate, Americans’ political views, even on issues of national and global significance, remain rooted in their sense of place and informed by local factors. As the former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill famously quipped, “all politics is local.” When seen from this vantage, politics becomes less about abstract principles of government and more about how decisions will affect people’s daily lives, outlooks, and sense of their own well being: the neighborhoods in which they live, their daily commute, the schools their children attend and the jobs that might (or not) await them as adults, the water that comes out of their faucets, the air they breathe. In this year-long course, students will examine and directly engage with local organizations, institutions, and issues of concern to the greater Charlottesville
community in order to understand social and political change in America’s past and present and make a meaningful contribution toward a better future. As one of the University’s Civic and Community Engagement Classes, this course seeks to address the decline in voter turnout for local elections and civic participation in local politics by drawing attention to the power and influence of local officials and institutions in America, and through partnering with local organizers and activists in Charlottesville and the surrounding area working to raise awareness of issues of local concern and advance social and political movements at the grassroots level.