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Critical Identity Studies

The CRIS department has an implied social justice mandate and CBL provides an opportunity for students to gain experiential knowledge with this kind of work and helps to challenge the beliefs and assumptions of these social justice oriented individuals.

FYI: Whiteness-Studies in Race, Culture, and Privilege, fall 2009
Catherine M. Orr,

Community partner(s): Blackhawk Technical College, Community Action
Student Commitment: minimal
Developmental Stage: basic
Logistics: A large and necessary task for CBL in general, and in particular with the Whiteness class was developing relationships with key community members. Strong relationships between community members and faculty helps to make the partnership meaningful and sustainable.

Resources: FYI: Whiteness Syllabus (pdf), field notes assignment for Conference (pdf),  FYI: Whiteness reflection assignment for NPO visit (pdf).

Assignment—Site Visit, Survey, and Conference (10%):
There are three different components to this assignment: •    On Thursday, September 17th, Marc Perry of Community Action will facilitate a conversation about the needs and assets of the Beloit community with directors of local community-based non-profit organizations in our class. These same directors will host a group of three or four of you for an on-site visit at some point in the following week or so. Your job will be to conduct a survey, developed by Community Action, about the work of that organization. The point, beyond giving you another opportunity to get to know your new community, is to give you some first-hand exposure to race and class dynamics as they play out in a particular location within Beloit.

  • You will also be required to attend the “Race, Class, and Community Work in Beloit” on September 22nd @ 7:00 p.m. in Moore Study Lounge.
  • Finally, you will be required to participate in some capacity in The Absence of Color Conference at Blackhawk Technical College on October 22-23.

Along the way, you will be turning in materials to me and Marc as well as writing up short informal essays designed to both document and reflect on your experiences in the larger Beloit community.

NOTE on grading:
More than just another assignment that is averaged in to your final grade, this assignment involves both opportunities and, perhaps more importantly, risks that reverberate far beyond our class. When you interact with members of the larger Stateline community, you represent the College. Therefore, the grade for this multifaceted assignment has more to do with conduct, follow-through, and good “ambassadorship.” Work hard, do what you say you will do, represent yourself and the College well, and you can expect an A.

Students were required to do reflective work about the conference that they attended.