URB 635 - Community Organization (3 Credits)
This course will examine the historical development and contemporary practice of community organizing. Students will examine why and how people in urban communities and neighborhoods have organized to protect their rights and their entitlements to public services, to acquire resources for development, and to improve their quality of life. Students will develop a historical and theoretical perspective on community organizing and will explore the range of issues around which communities organize. They will acquire practical knowledge and skills for effective grassroots organizing, including coalition-building and alliances between community organizations and labor. Through readings and presentations by guest speakers, they will gain familiarity with various models and strategies of community organizations in New York City. Following each presentation by a guest speaker, students will submit a 1-2 page paper, reflecting on a key theoretical or practical concept in the presentation.
The course is divided into three parts: I. History and Theory of Organizing, II. Organizing Tools and Techniques, and III. Issues and Case Studies. As a final project, students will work in groups to design a grass-roots campaign to address a particular issue or problem. Each group will make a presentation and submit a written report, summarizing the project and its desired outcomes. In doing so, students should utilize class readings and discussions and refer to historical, theoretical, and political models and examples.