Sociology | Topics in Social Psychology: VT: Knowledge and Community
S431 | 9560 | Eder

1:00PM-3:45PM 	R	LI 031

Above Class Open to Majors Only

Above Class Open to Undergraduates Only

This course is designed to consider a broad approach to social
science knowledge which includes caring for and knowing one’s
community.  We will begin by looking at mainstream Western culture’s
current approach to learning.  Alternative approaches from
ecological models to “care ethics” will be introduced. We will then
examine models of learning from non-Western cultures including
Hispanic, Native American, and African cultures.  This will be
followed by a focus on the role of storytelling as a means of
teaching ethical and social beliefs, emphasizing the role of oral
practices. This section will end by considering a new model for
classroom discourse.

The second half of the course will begin with a focus on community
and knowledge, showing the importance of local knowledge.  After
looking at general readings on this topic we will read two articles
based on Bloomington’s past and present. Also during this section of
the class, students will give reports based on fieldtrips in the
Bloomington area.
This will be followed by an examination of sustainability and
community, again looking at general readings as well as one reading
focused on Bloomington. The final topic of the class is knowledge on
campus. We will critique current models of college teaching and
consider alternative models.

This is a service learning course which means that we will be using
the city of Bloomington as a site for learning and service
throughout this course.  Small teams of 3-4 will do a field trip to
one of various community organizations or events, reporting back to
the class with each student writing a 2-3 page paper. All students
will also do a service learning project which will take 2-3 hours
per week. The project is designed to be one of the resources for the
course, meaning there will be less reading and more hands-on-
learning. This project consists of creating a SEAC (Story
Exploration and Creation) after-school activity for elementary-age
children. A second option would be to participate in a story
exchange with senior members in the Bloomington community.  (Before
participating in these projects students will need to go through an
orientation and complete a background check for criminal offenses,
etc.) Students will keep a journal, give a class presentation, and
write a final paper on these projects. Students are also expected to
attend all class sessions and do all reading prior to the class
discussion of them.  There will be two essay exams covering the
readings, discussions, and guest speakers. Review questions will be
distributed a week before the exams which will be used to make up
the actual exams.