Social change comes in a variety of shapes and forms. It takes on different meanings attending to the cultural, social, and political needs of the communities, networks, and organizations that engage, participate, and interact in their pursuit of advancing social goals. Whether it is youth groups mobilizing for democratic goals, migrant communities organizing to advance their rights, women networks interacting across countries to fight gender inequality, communities develop different strategies for organizing and interacting across neighborhoods, states, and nations towards the betterment of societies. Different technology tools are playing a significant role for communities organizing for social change around the world opening new spaces for participation, shaping organizational strategies and enabling opportunities for networking and collaboration beyond their local environments. This course will explore the dynamics of community organization for social change in different cultural, social and political contexts and the ways in which digital media are appropriated attending to these different contexts. Drawing on experiences from around the world, the primary emphasis of the course is to understand dynamics of community organization and participation that lay at the intersection between local contexts and digital media and the different ways in which this interactionshape the types of organizational and engagement strategies of people, communities, and networks.
“For the Comm Lead student who wants to make a difference, Maria’s class is a must-take. Her enthusiasm and passion are contagious, and all of us in the class eagerly joined in as we journeyed with her through sociological theories on communication’s fundamental role in shaping in societies across space and time. This laid the foundation of our examination of modern-day social change campaigns – what worked, what didn’t, and why. The accomplished guest speakers were generous in sharing their contemporary experience researching communications techniques in social context, including the role of increasingly connective technologies in under represented communities. Classes were like a lively dinner conversation with good friends, discussing deep social justice and cultural evolution issues of the day, and our role as enlightened communications professionals in these movements. The flexibility and freedom of our independent research assignment allowed me to explore a latent area of interest – climate change communications as it relates to conflicting world views – and this Fall Maria and I are working together to prepare it for publication as an independent study. Maria’s class connects many of the Comm Lead classes on theory, tools, techniques, law, ethics, and skills with real life social context scenarios, particularly valuable for students aiming to apply their skills in social justice, public service, or non-profit worlds.”