Browse The University and the Community by Series/Report

    Rhet 102: Race and the University, Instr. Eve Eure: This course engages issues of race, diversity and representation at the University of Illinois. Students are encouraged to think about what the university is, as well as about race and ethnicity as a phenomena within the university’s narratives. The readings in the course interrogate U.S. race politics as a way to contextualize our understanding of the relationship between race and the University of Illinois. Students write both long and short essays which critically analyze the readings done both inside and outside of the classroom. This is achieved by a series of writing assignments, which prepare students to look at these various aspects of campus culture which might not otherwise be questioned and/or studied in a critical manner. Students build upon these initial studies to create a larger research project that brings them into conversation with their environment and other scholars, as well as research of previous students. The course syllabus is available at: [3]
    Rhet 104, Ethnography of Race and the University, Instr. Samantha Looker: In this course, students take the writing skills that they built during Rhet 103 and apply them to research, with the ultimate goal of completing an in-depth research project. As part of the EUI-Rhetoric Race and the University Project, this class revolves around how race is represented and lived on university campuses, and specifically on our own campus here at UIUC. Students ground themselves in readings on how race is defined and talked about, and then move on to research related issues on our campus. Students will choose a research question related to race to answer in your final research project. As part of the EUI (Ethnography of the University Initiative), this class gives students the opportunity to create original scholarly research based on your firsthand experience with people, texts, and places on campus. In addition to traditional academic sources, students final research project will include several interviews, observations, surveys, and/or analyses of University texts. [7]
    RHET 105, Principles of Composition, John Griswold: Being a fluent writer - no matter what field someone goes into - demands that he or she be fair, coherent and specific. In this course students developed these skills through ethnography, which seeks to reveal how particular cultures construct and understand experience. Students used writing as a way of thinking, seeing, searching for patterns and meaning, and communicating clearly when faced with a complex set of tasks and issues. Students also made gradual but continuous progress towards an ethnographic essay, and reflected on the process of coming to know. In the process, students identified their own assumptions, tried to see others for what they are, and attempted to represent, in words, others' cultural experiences. The course syllabus is available at: [4]
    RHET 105, Spring 2012 [9]
    RHET105 Section B4C3 (Race and Ethnicity at UIUC) [10]
    RHET105 Section C4D6 (Race and Ethnicity at UIUC) [2]
    Rhetoric 102 Race and the University is the second course in the year long composition requirement at the University of Illinois. Students build their academic writing skills and develop research strategies with the ultimate goal of completing an in-depth research project. As part of the Ethnography of the University Initiative, this course asks students to examine the "race" and "the university" as topics of inquiry. While reading about important issues in contemporary race discussions and exploring the relationships between race, representation and language, students choose a race-related issue on campus to research through firsthand experience with interviews, field observations, and text analysis in order to create their own original scholarly work. [3]
    Rhetoric 105, Principles of Composition, Race & the University, Instr. Kristin McCann: This course entailed continual negotiation of three primary focuses: academic writing, introduction to ethnographic research methodologies, and critical inquiry into issues of race and representation. I approached this course as a semester-long conversation with students, the texts with which we engaged, and the kairos of the physical and ideological spaces in which we were immersed. I encouraged students to draw upon their expertise as current UIUC undergraduates and to consider their stake in the university’s narratives. Students were, of course, not expected to produce a complete ‘ethnography’; rather, to consider what combination of ethnographic research methodologies might be most useful to their specific essays and research projects and what issues they deemed most exigent for their inquiries. Students also had the opportunity to present at the bi-annual EUI conference, alongside other EUI undergraduate and graduate students. The course syllabus is available at: [6]
    Rhetoric 105/Principles of Composition introduces students to the practices of research-based writing for academic audiences, such as formulating a researchable question, locating sources, constructing an argument, drafting, revising, and editing. This course uses writing, reading, observing, and critical thinking to develop scholarly curiosity. To do this, instructors focus on: deepening research skills, developing students’ abilities to read and respond to difficult texts, and, most importantly, helping students through the writing process in a social, collaborative, revision-focused environment. This particular section of Rhetoric 105 was focused around the theme of “Exploring Student Communities at the University of Illinois.” The assignments and discussions asked students to explore their own experiences as students and consider how various student communities shape our campus culture and identities as students. Over the course of the semester students formulated research questions about a particular campus community and answered them by doing semester-long ethnographic research (observations, interviews, archive analysis, and surveys), including a short video presentation. The kinds of writing studies and conducted were formulated around reflections on these communities. [9]
    Sport and Modern Society [5]
    Students were encouraged to make their work public so that their research subjects, fellow students and Syracuse community participants, would be able to comment and provide feedback on their research. The IDEALS on-line archive would enable this process to be recorded for future students in the hope that they will build on present student research. The archiving of “scholarship in action” research for ANT 300 may help Syracuse University better understands the learning outcomes of “scholarship in action” initiatives. [8]
    Synthia Sydnor, Instructor [5]
    The course also introduced students to ethnographic methods. The bulk of this class was devoted to students’ own ethnographic projects on a Syracuse University “Scholarship in Action” endeavor although it was possible to carry out research on other areas if students presented a good case for doing so. A wide variety of social practices and learning processes were expected to become part of what students researched. [8]
    The Ethnography of the University Initiative (EUI) includes several universities and community colleges located in the state of Illinois. All of these schools are public. Syracuse University is the first non-Illinois and first private university to join the group. This class joined an inter-campus learning community in which many classes from several schools (most, however, are located at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) explore their universities and colleges ethnographically. In order to explore Syracuse University ethnographically, we needed to think about what “the university” is, what “ethnography” is, and what “scholarship in action” is. Broadly, we explored the university as a composite of prose, numerical, and visual narratives. [7]
    The Ethnography of the University: Studying Scholarship in Action was designed to introduce undergraduate students to ethnographic methodologies, institutional analysis, and the research publication process. Students conducted ethnographic studies of Syracuse University Scholarship in Action projects of their choosing and had the opportunity to produce their results on the web. All the steps in the research process, from the formation of research questions to the creation of final research papers, was produced on-line at a collaborative website, Moodle, that has been created at the University of Illinois to facilitate undergraduate ethnography of the university projects. This project is titled the Ethnography of the University Initiative (EUI). [8]
    The purpose of this class was to provide students with opportunities to engage in a scholarly examination of research and practices associated with museum interpretation to diverse audiences; and to lead in the development and implementation of Krannert Art Museum educational programs and outreach a ctivities with selected local audiences. [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. [5]
    This course offered an introduction to the interdisciplinary critical whiteness studies literature and addressed concepts such as the social construction of race, white privilege, white racial identity development, and white anti-racism. It also focused on various qualitative research methods that scholars use in the empirical investigation of whiteness. Throughout the course, we considered the ways in which the various content and methods may apply to understanding whiteness at predominantly white universities. As part of the Ethnography of the University Initiative, we worked together to establish a collegial research community in the class. Thus, students developed their independent research projects, and they were expected to strengthen their understanding of the research process and self-efficacy as researchers. By effectively investigating some aspect of whiteness at the University of Illinois, this course aimed at contributing in meaningful ways to understanding how whiteness operates in one of the contexts in which we live. [5]
    This course took an in-depth look at some of the residents from Latin America who live in the Urbana-Champaign community. In this intensive eight-week course, students worked to capture, interpret, and present the stories of Latin Americans living, working, and studying at the U of I. Through oral histories, students explored Latin Americans’ memories of their home countries, their current ties to home, and their lives here in Urbana-Champaign. We considered what can be learned from these stories, and thought about how we might use them to educate others in our community about Latin America today. Each student was responsible for planning, researching, and conducting one audio-recorded oral-history interview with a U of I faculty, staff or student who is of Latin American origin. Through these oral histories we focused on 1) the interviewees’ descriptions/memories of their place of origin, 2) how they come to the U of I, and 3) whether and how the U of I figures into their transnational stories. The collective goal for the course was to build a small collection of audio-recorded oral histories that future students and teachers can use to develop K-12 educational materials about Latin America through the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies. [8]
    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. [20]