W.E.B. Du Bois and Philadelphia’s Seventh Ward
Amy Hillier, Penn Social Policy and Practice; meets on Thursdays
Starting with a close read of The Philadelphia Negro, this seminar will critically examine the research and thinking of the great scholar and civil rights leader, W.E.B. Du Bois as a way of understanding racism and the “color line” at the turn of the 20th Century. We will focus on primary source documents and digital humanities methods, including oral history and geographic information systems (GIS) for mapping and spatial analysis, as ways to engage students of all ages in understanding the contemporary challenges we face relating to race and racism through an historical lens. The seminar will explore the possibilities and limitations of systematic empirical data collection and analysis as a means of affecting social change, including the legacies of the settlement house and social survey movements and scientific racism.
Music and Healing in Philadelphia
Carol Muller, Penn Music; meets on Thursdays
There are two parts to this class: in the first we explore ways in which music has been used for social-emotional healing, building resilience in the face of adversity, and individual and collective well-being. We read on music, the brain, and emotion; and think about the impact of adversity, and the work of music and creativity as vehicles of restoration and healing. In the second part, we focus on a particular moment in Philadelphia’s music history: Philly Soul and the Philadelphia International Record (PIR) label that created the genre in the 1970s. Philly Soul emerged in conversation with Motown in Detroit and was the brainchild of two young black men: a student from West Philly High School, Kenny Gamble, and the Camden born Leonard Huff. PIR earned many Grammys, and put the city on the map both for the music and the message of social justice in its lyrics. We will listen to that music, read, and learn about one piece of Philadelphia’s rich black music history from some of those involved in creating the music, a story rarely told or taught in the School District of Philadelphia.
Planning for a Sustainable, Environmentally Just, and Climate-Ready Philadelphia
Christina Rosan, Temple Geography and Urban Studies; meets Thursdays
Nicknamed Filthadelphia, the city’s urban environment faces enormous challenges and presents numerous opportunities, particularly when we plan for climate. The course will explore Philadelphia’s urban environment, the past, the present, and the future. We will examine Philadelphia’s history, planning, policies, politics, and technologies around urban agriculture, green stormwater infrastructure, the urban heat island, solar and renewable energy, vacant land management, air pollution, water, trash, environmental justice, climate mitigation, and climate change planning. The course will also introduce new technologies for civic environmental monitoring and engagement such as low-cost air pollution monitoring and other environmental sensing, storytelling, and mapping technologies.