POLS370A-1: Community Bldg & Soc Change I

August 23, 2017 - December 5, 2017
DaysTimeLocationInstructorGERCreditOPUS #
1:00pm - 2:15pm
Tarbutton Hall 111
Rich, Michael

Open only to undergraduate students by permission of the instructor. Additionally, this course is required for all students seeking to apply for the fellowship in Community Building and Social Change.

This is a course about community building and social change in urban America. Community Building refers to "locally focused approaches to collective problem-solving that aim to solve problems and to promote socially valuable forms of connectedness, sustained stakeholder engagement, a sense of common purpose, and greater institutional capacity." Social Change refers to the positive externalities (i.e., good consequences) of community building that broaden the access of disadvantaged communities to social, economic, and political opportunities. The course addresses a number of tensions and issues that affect community building, and the processes through which community builders attempt to foster social change in and around cities in the United States. It approaches the tensions and issues through a mix of theoretically-informed lectures, individual and group exercises, and the examination of a variety of case studies of contemporary community building initiatives through texts, film, and on occasion audio. The course is lecture-based but includes a small set of opportunities for student dialogue in and beyond the classroom. Furthermore, students should not expect that a course on "community building and social change" either lacks theoretical rigor or is a course full of opinion-based discussion and field trips to "the community."

The course has five goals:

1. Introduce students to the theoretical consideration of and applied principles that support community building as an approach to addressing collective problems in metropolitan America, inclusive of cities and suburbs;

2. Provide students with a set of theoretical and analytic perspectives for examining urban issues and fostering social change;

3. Assist students in identifying the interconnections among demography, culture, economy, and polity, and the global, national, state, regional, and neighborhood forces affecting metropolitan communities;

4. Lay a foundation for students to eventually engage in analysis, reflection, and application of the key determinants of successful community building initiatives and to understand the core competencies needed for successful community builders;

5. Prepare interested students to apply for participation in Emory University's Community Building and Social Change Fellowship.

In the end, the hope is that this course will give students a solid understanding of the challenges, dynamics, and promise of metropolitan communities (i.e., urban and suburban), along with an appreciation for the complexity and opportunities of fostering social change. Together, these elements should ensure that students have a breadth of knowledge about community building that will permit them to confidently explore and deeply engage more complex issues at and beyond Emory University.


Selected book chapters, journal articles, reports, and policy briefs.

The schedule of courses on O.P.U.S. is the official listing of courses, including days and times they meet and the General Education Requirements they satisfy. Students should use course descriptions as general guidelines. Course requirements, grading details, book lists, and syllabi are subject to change.