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Theories and Practices of Community Change: Concepts, History and Approaches

SW650, Section 001

This class will focus on the theories and practices for community change, with emphasis on the relationships between theory and practice (‘praxis’). It will familiarize students to a range of critical change theories and core concepts and help students to develop their own understanding of frameworks for community change. Students will engage with different theories in examining community change, which may include critical intersectionality, critical race, empowerment and liberation, social movement, and feminist theories, as examples.

It will also look to historical and contemporary examples of community and social change movements to explore theory and practice including US and global community change movements, and the work of organic intellectuals and social change leaders (e.g. Grace Lee Boggs, Ella Baker, Myles Horton, ACT-UP, Black Lives Matter, #metoo, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Zapatistas, #GirlsLikeUs, World Social Forum, Climate Change).

Throughout the class, students will also use these examples to examine and understand the major range of models and practices for engaging in community change, for example: community organizing, community development, community-based policy advocacy, and popular education, and be able to assess the differences, purposes, and theoretical basis for the practices.

For Community Change Pathway participants:
We strongly recommend that this course be taken before or concurrently with the other required pathway class.

Semester: Winter 2021
Instructor: Giovanna (Odessa Gonzalez) Gonzalez Benson
U-M Class #: 34857
Time: Tue 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Program Type: Residential
Format: Online
Credits: 3 Credit Hours

Pathway Associations

Community ChangeGlobalInterpersonal PracticeManagement & LeadershipPolicy & PoliticalProgram EvaluationOlder AdultsChildren & Families
Requirement (Host)

Other SW650 Offerings

* The course listings below are provided for reference only. These offerings may be subject to change or cancellation.


Term Section Days Time  
Fall 2021 002 Fri 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM View Course
Winter 2022 002 Tue 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM View Course
Winter 2022 003 Mon 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM View Course

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