Understanding Local History and Context

The Rhetorics and Poetics of Dirt

This course asks students to examine what we talk about when we talk about “dirt,” and how do the things we communicate about dirt change its presence in our lives. The major assignments facilitate learning goals through four units: dirt vs. soil, earthworks, dirt stories, and trendy dirt. The primary texts in this course will largely deal with a North American perspective on dirt. We will engage with American film (ex: Grapes of Wrath, Waterworld, Noma, Interstellar, The Martian, the Mad Max megaverse), and contemporary American literature.

Introduction to Global Development

This course introduces students to the history, theory and practice of international development. Students will examine the different meanings and objectives of global development, paying particular attention to economic growth, poverty alleviation, inequality reduction, capability enhancement, the defense of human rights and sustainability.

Atlanta Studies: Reading, Documenting, Digitizing

My course will focus on Atlanta histories, texts, and communities.  We will read fiction of and about Atlanta, and I hope to coordinate with SLS on an oral history project that either makes use of oral history archives already accessible at Georgia Tech or produces a new archive in collaboration with nearby communities.  In either case, we will work with both SLS and the Living Building to preserve and present our work.

Introduction to Global Development

This course introduces students to the history, theory and practice of international development. Students will examine the different meanings and objectives of global development, paying particular attention to economic growth, poverty alleviation, inequality reduction, capability enhancement, the defense of human rights and sustainability.

Psychology Research Methods for HCI

How do you know what a user wants to see on a wearable display, whether an app feature is being used, whether a clickable button is better than a swipe, or whether a person who is blind can use your physical product? Research methods for HCI allow you to investigate such questions and develop evidence to inform design decisions. In this course, you will learn about common methods employed in user-centered and evidence-based design. You will also learn how to choose methods, plan studies, and perform research that is inclusive of users with a range of abilities. 

Atlanta Map Room: Rethinking the Way Data Represents the Places We Live

The goal of the Map Room project is to develop local spaces for grassroots map-making, where people can creatively and collaboratively explore data. Conventional digital maps help people see rapid, large-scale social and environmental changes as they unfold. But often these maps are based on abstract data alone and are disconnected from the lived experiences of their audiences. The Map Room project aims to empower people to understand, but also challenge and even redefine, the stories that maps and data tell about their lives and about the places they live. In this tool, students will visit a Map Room on campus to make their own maps and to reflect on the potentials and pitfalls of map-making in a contemporary civic context.

 

This tool was contributed by Yanni Loukissas (yanni.loukissas@lmc.gatech.edu), in collaboration with artist Jer Thorp.

"Ever the Land" Living Building Documentary: A Guided Reflection

Ever the Land is an internationally acclaimed documentary film about Te Kura Whare, the fully certified Living Building built by the Tūhoe, a Māori tribe of northern New Zealand. The Tūhoe built Te Kura Whare as a public community center and tribal heritage archive. This tool introduces context about the Tūhoe and the 2014 Tūhoe-Crown Settlement that is necessary for understanding the film as well as the historical and cultural significance of the Te Kura Whare (Living Building) project. An in-class “gallery walk” discussion will prepare students for a take-home writing assignment that asks them to reflect on how the film defines and represents equity.

Student Learning Outcome 3 Rubric

The following rubric assesses SLO 3: Students will be able to evaluate how decisions impact the sustainability of communities. Students who rank highly on this rubric are able to evaluate how a variety of decisions that occur within and outside of communities affect community sustainability. Students can explain/demonstrate how different stakeholders, seeking to achieve different outcomes, can make decisions that create consequences for community sustainability. The consequences of that impact often disproportionately affect marginalized groups.

Environmental Justice 101

Environmental Justice (EJ) is concerned with making sure that (a) no community takes on an unfair share of environmental burdens and (b) environmental benefits are shared in an equitable way regardless of race, class, gender, or orientation. The Environmental Justice Movement challenges environmental injustices, with a special focus on racial and class disparities, in the U.S. and around the globe. The purpose of this tool is to help students begin to understand:

  1. What EJ is – and what environmental injustices are; 
  2. How the EJ movement works to address EJ issues (especially in the U.S. South, where the movement was born) with close attention to injustices related to race and class;
  3. The different types of roles that scientists and engineers in particular can play in this work.

This tool was contributed by Jennifer Hirsch. We also want to thank Fatemeh Shafiei from Spelman College for contributing to this tool.

MARTA: The History and Future of Transportation in Atlanta

This is a collection of assignments about public transportation in Atlanta. The assignments are designed to 1) develop mapping and data analysis skills, 2) form an understanding of how MARTA is used today and how the system evolved to be in its current state, and 3) foster thinking about sustainable transportation. The problems are based on the IoT (Internet of Things) datasets of MARTA, which includes passenger counts of vehicles and Breeze card swipes at terminals. Reflection questions about the history of transportation are based on the 2017 report Opportunity Deferred: Race, Transportation, and the Future of Metropolitan Atlanta.

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