Browse Student Communities and Culture by Series/Report

    Series/Report
    There are three main components to this course: reading, composition, research. Readings focused on issues related to ‘difference’ and higher education, and the composing students did for this class included in-class writing, reading responses, and essays that build toward a research project of students’ choosing. This course drew upon students’ expertise as current U of I students and provided a space for them to ‘inquire into’--to ask questions about—spaces they encounter on a daily basis. Throughout this course, we considered what the university ‘is’ and regarded ‘difference’ as an area of inquiry within the university’s narratives. Another area of concentration was “ethnography,” and students gained practice in the basic skills of ethnographic research—i.e., observation, interviewing, artifact analysis. Such practice was built into various assignments/students’ own research project. [3]
    This class was designed to consider how museum audience development perspectives and research are translated into practices that meet the needs and interests of culturally diverse audiences. Course readings, writing assignments, research, inquiry activities, and presentations provided students with opportunities for examination of museum interpretive practices, programming decisions, and public engagement activities, as well as analysis of Krannert Art Museum’s presence on the university campus, in the larger community, and on the World Wide Web. Students were expected to develop innovative museum educational approaches that increase the accessibility of the artwork in Krannert Art Museum to culturally diverse audiences. Student research and development involved study of the museum’s multicultural permanent collection and temporary exhibitions; studies of local audiences; and studies of educational programming, and museum curricular materials. New practices developed by students also explored how new media technologies can be incorporated into museum educational practices. [3]
    This section of Rhetoric 104 centered on a particular theme, Race and the University as a part of the Ethnography of the University Initiative (EUI). [2]
    Under the title of “Writing and Language in the University,” this course centers on two interrelated topics: language, including variations in dialects and registers and the ideologies surrounding those variations; and academic writing, including its many genres and disciplinary differences. As we read, write, and talk about these topics, we explore how writing and language can vary and what makes us consider a way of speaking “standard” or a way of writing are more “correct” or “appropriate” in university contexts than others. We then move on to apply these concepts to our campus by exploring how writing and language are used at UIUC. Each student identifies a specific aspect of writing and/or language at UIUC to focus on for their in-depth research project. They might, for example, look at the range of writing genres used within their major; compare and contrast the academic writing expectations of different teachers, classes, or majors; explore the speech or writing experiences of a particular language or cultural group on campus; or examine current trends in student language use such as texting or slang. In their research, they pull from a wide range of scholarly sources including advanced academic articles and books as well as their own original ethnographic research (interviews, observations, surveys, and/or analyses of University texts). At the close of the course, they not only will have produced a polished final research project, but they will also have the option to share their research with the wider university community through presentation and/or online publication. As part of the EUI (Ethnography of the University Initiative), this class gives them the opportunity to create original scholarly research based on their firsthand experience with people, texts, and places on campus. [3]
    What is a body? Is there such a thing as “the” body? How are bodies produced? What do they represent? Who gets to represent them? In this course we examine bodies in history, in particular cultural contexts, in international and national forums. Readings vary widely to include anthropological, historical, psychological and sociological perspectives. Our assigned projects focused on exercise, health and sport practices in general and on the University of Illinois campus in particular. This course is connected to the Ethnography of the University Initiative. [2]
    When did Muslims arrive in the Americas? What is the history of Muslim immigrants in the United States? This course was an introduction to the study of Muslims in the United States. In examining the multiple racial, cultural, and national groups that make-up this diverse community, students questioned what it means to be Muslim in America. The course began with the first contact between Islam and America in the “Age of Discovery” and the African slave trade to think through the roots of Islam and its role in the contemporary moment. In this moment students also examined how indigenous Americans, referred to as American Indians, are conceptualized in relation to the Muslims of Europe and simultaneously racialized. In historicizing Islam students examined the communities who first arrived as crypto-Muslims to understand the place of Latinos in American Islam. Second, students examined African American Islam in its myriad formations. These two examples were then used comparatively to understand how the historical narrative of African American and Latino Muslims is related to newer immigrant populations. In large part, students surveyed Arab American and South Asian American Muslim communities particularly in urban contexts. These later two populations grew through large immigrant waves in the 19th century and the late twentieth century, particularly after 1965. In addition to the multi-racial and comparative perspective, this course examined intra-religious (sectarian) and interfaith differences and dialogues. This material was explored through an interdisciplinary approach focusing on the scholarship mainly from anthropology, history, sociology, religious studies, and ethnic studies. For many of class discussions this course used Chicago as an ethnographic site to explore the complex make-up and history of Muslim America. [7]