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Wednesday, June 1 • 8:30am - 9:30am
Everyday Life as Civic Engagement: Expanding the Scope and Leverage of Experiential Learning

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Where does civic engagement happen? This session shifts students' everyday interactions to the forefront of civic experiential learning. Students' ongoing involvements-in the classroom, in campus and community life, and on social media-constitute their most direct, sustained experiences of power and social recognition. However, students typically have few tools for realizing the consequentiality of these experiences or situating them within broader patterns of social inequality. More often, they are skilled at naturalizing the mechanisms of social dominance, making them invisible even to themselves. This session outlines an intrinsic pedagogy of civic experiential learning, which integrates the experiential emphasis of Dewey and Freire with insights from race, gender, and micro-sociological theory. This approach trains students directly from their social relations, revealing how power and social recognition are simultaneously pervasive and naturalized, in order to instill habits of reflexive social conduct. This approach is distinct from, but in constructive tension with more traditional forms of service-learning, which introduce students to the civic sector, but do little to interrogate students' day-to-day lives. Together, the two strategies offer a more expansive, relevant approach to civic experiential learning. Drawing upon recent courses, the presenter illustrates how instructors can strategically problematize students' ongoing experiences and introduce students to unfamiliar civic settings. Participants will discuss challenges of translating current best-practices, such as reciprocity and accountability, into the fluid context of students' everyday interactions. Participants will also have opportunities to sketch and discuss applications of this approach for their own purposes.


Chris Hausmann

Assistant Professor of Sociology, Northwestern College

Wednesday June 1, 2016 8:30am - 9:30am CDT
Indiana Room 346