Open to advanced undergraduates with permission of the instructor (email@example.com).
Students in this seminar investigate ‘community’ from a variety of theoretical and disciplinary approaches: sociology, psychology, anthropology, history, philosophy. They explore different ways community can be conceived and formed: as locality, as interest group, as action, as discourse. On one level, the course is designed for students specifically engaged in either or both analyzing and building community; on another level, it uses ‘community’ as just one example of a complex concept in the social domain, and samples the variety of ways different kinds of scholars have tried to study and theorize it. In the latter sense, the course is appropriate even for students focused on problems other than community, because it introduces them to the practice of interdisciplinary inquiry in the broad realm of social phenomena. It encourages them to grapple with the methodological differences among such broad paradigms as positivism, interpretivism, and poststructuralism, and to try out ideas and methods from each. Readings may include works by such authors as Elijah Anderson, Vered Amit, Anthony Cohen, Gerard Delanty, John Jackson, and Miranda Joseph.