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Engaging Our Communities, SDS490Y1

This seminar creates space for upper-year Sexual Diversity Studies students to both participate in and reflect upon the work of queer, feminist, LGBTQ2S+community organizations in the GTA that centrally engage questions of sexuality and gender.

Two students doing work together in class

Photo credit: the Gender Spectrum Collection

Division:

Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies, University College, Faculty of Arts & Science

Instructor / Program Coordinator

Naveen Minai, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies

Typologies

Community-Based Project, Placement, or Partnership; Curricular Community-Engaged Learning; Organization-Partnered Project

Information for Interested Students

Visit the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies for more details at https://sds.utoronto.ca/courses/

Benefits to Students

The course benefits students through the development of a critical appreciation of community as a rich and also highly contradictory site for thinking about and working toward social and political change. It aims to foster grounded engagement with queer and other critical theories in the SDS curriculum by putting key concepts into dialogue with students’ field/placement experiences. This course is designed to nurture an attitude of humility, reflexivity and non-mastery, both in relation to critical social theory and to experiences in queer and feminist community, in order to enable sustained analysis of the social world and movements for social change.

Benefits to External Partners and the Community

The students work on projects that contribute meaningfully to the life of a community organization and create important conversations about the dilemmas community organizations face, and the potential of community as a site of both inclusion/exclusion and radical transformation. The students also help support the day to day workings of the organization and contribute to them with their own self-designed research projects.

Benefits to the University

This course helps in our aim to break down divides between “theory” and “practice,” and between the university and our communities, by creating space to integrate critical insights from students’ experiences in community work, life experience, and, in turn, the SDS curriculum.

Advice for Faculty and Staff Interested in Creating a Similar Experiential Learning Opportunity

Experiential Learning courses require careful work to thoughtfully build meaningful relationships with community organizations. They are essential in enhancing student experiences and I highly recommend them!