Engaged Scholarship Courses

Aimed at bridging the gap between academic learning and service work, Engaged Scholarship courses in Social Studies combine rigorous reading and writing in the social sciences with public engagement. Two of the courses draw on the resources of the Phillips Brooks House and are open to students who are concurrently involved in relevant Harvard-affiliated service programs. All four courses offer students the opportunity to connect social science history and theory with practical experience, to actively shape classroom learning through personal involvement with service work, and to reflect on ways that the social sciences can contribute to addressing contemporary community needs and social problems.  

Enrollment will be limited to 10 students in each course. Courses are open to students in all concentrations as long as students meet the public service requirements (see individual course descriptions below for more details). If over-enrolled, courses will be lotteried with priority given to Social Studies concentrators.  


2018-19 Courses

Social Studies 68ct. The Chinese Immigrant Experience in America
Nicole Newendorp
Half course (spring term). Wednesday 12:00-2:45
Uses the history of Boston’s Chinatown as a case study to examine the experiences of Chinese immigrants in the U.S. from the 1880s until the present. Employs historical, anthropological, and sociological perspectives to examine major themes related to the social and economic development of U.S. Chinatowns and Chinese immigrant communities throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. This course is an Engaged Scholarship course, limited to students who are concurrently participating in a Harvard-affiliated service program in or around Boston’s Chinatown. Class discussions and assignments will make active links with students’ service work. Enrollment capped at 10. Open to students in all concentrations.

Social Studies 68hj. Justice in Housing 
P. MacKenzie Bok
Half course (spring term). Monday 3:00-5:45.
How do theories of justice deal with the problem of housing?  What use does American housing policy and politics make of ideas about “fairness” and “justice”?  This course will juxtapose contemporary philosophical debates about distributive justice with current concrete problems in housing policy, using the Boston/Cambridge area as a case study.  Seminars will feature guests from a number of local housing-focused organizations, and students’ final papers will assess real housing policy examples in light of a chosen framework of justice.  As this is an Engaged Scholarship course, preference will be given to students involved in direct service to housing-insecure populations (whether in shelters, the public schools, urban summer camps, etc.). Enrollment capped at 10. Open to students in all concentrations.

Social Studies 68uh: Urban Health and Community Change: Action Planning With Local Stakeholders
Flavia Perea
Half course (fall term). Wednesday 12:00-2:45.
This is a project-based course on urban community health. We will examine urban health topics from a macro level in the classroom, while exploring community health issues at the local level by engaging with community stakeholders on a health promotion project. We will explore the social conditions people need to be healthy, and strategies to advance health equity that put people in diverse communities on pathways to health as opposed to disparities. To understand how health promoting environments can be created and sustained, we will discuss how community engagement, participatory planning, and cross-sector collaboration can advance health improvement efforts at the local level. There are great possibilities as well as challenges to creating and sustaining healthy communities, particularly in rapidly evolving cities in major metropolitan areas. This course will provide a window into how pressing, highly visible and complex national issues are experienced and addressed in real time, and the real-world complexities involved in advancing meaningful community change. Enrollment capped at 10. Open to students in all concentrations.