MLA Seminar: Topics in Liberal Arts: Public Arts, Liberal Arts: Applied Ethnography and Community Engagement

Course Number
MLA 5020 941
Course Code
Course Key
Primary Program
Course Description
Museums, mural arts, mummers on Moyamenssing, skateboarding at Love Park, first Fridays in Fishtown, community revitalization through the Village of Arts & Humanities and  other local arts spaces. These can be seen as places our communities come together to tell themselves about themselves. But who is telling these stories, from which vantage points, and at what costs and benefits to various communities? We explore how scholarship—at its best and most effective—transcends and transgresses boundaries between academic and public spaces, to create a broader arena for intellectual exchange and cross-cultural dialogue. This course is positioned at the intersections of local arts and public culture and of community studies and applied scholars can work to reconcile the ideas social sciences. Our class will engage in a critical assessment of both cultural programming and civically engaged scholarship, with an eye towards developing a more politically aware practice and more collaborative, community sensitive models for action. To do this, this class questions the experiences, the dialogues, the inquiries that inform how cultural research, traditional arts, and community studies are brought to public audiences. Our readings will be opportunities for us as public scholars to consider how the ideas and ideals of community and the academy co-exist in a global city. Students will also have the opportunity to make field/site visits convenient to their community locations and current health guidelines.