Facing Today: Urban Identity and Change

The focus of this course will be on social justice issues, both broadly defined as well as focused on NYC. The course is part of the Senior Institute and prepares students to choose a significant and compelling topic for their social studies PBAT paper and presentation.

Race, Class, and Gender: An Anthology by Margaret L. Andersen and Patricia Hill Collins
Excerpts from: A Different Mirror – R. Takaki
American in My Heart – C. Balusan
House on Mango Street – S. Cisneros
Excerpts from: “Desis In The House”By Sunaina Maira
City Journal article: Youth Culture's Lament By Roger Scruton Autumn 1998
The Creation of Youth Culture. By Jon Savage
Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 by Anna Deavere Smith
Media Used: 
Various including: Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 by Anna Deavere Smith
HBO Film: "Walk Out"
Significant Assignments: 

Essay Prompt: Facing Today: Urban Identity and Change
Choose one of the four social justice topics (Health Care, Affordable Housing, Immigration or Education) and research the impact of that challenge in New York City and specifically your community.

In an essay, critically examine how that issue affects New York City and your community and analyze how the city has addressed this issue. You must also include a proposal of what the community and the city can do to make change (your thesis). You should examine more than one point of view, including opposing arguments. Your essay should incorporate our assigned readings, but should also reflect your own serious academic research.

What to think about?
• Identify the difference between “social” problems as opposed to “individual” problems.
• Define “social justice”
• Identify historic examples of injustice as well as contemporary problems in schools, communities and our city. You can then be specific to your topic.
• Do your actions or the actions of others effect any change?
• What will be the consequences to society of not solving this problem?

Significant Activities or Projects: 

Choosing to Participate: Social Justice in Action Art Integration Exhibition (Based on student research - PBAT paper)


Required for PBAT topic

Sample PBATs: 
The Effects of Gentrification--see explanation above