The Case for Reflective Engagement in University-Community Partnerships
Professor George Sanchez
Professor of American Studies & Ethnicity, and History at the University of Southern California,
Director of the Center for Diversity and Democracy
Thursday, October 14th, 12-1.30pm
The Maude Fife Room, Wheeler Hall
What is public scholarship? What does community-engagement and civic-engagement mean? The terms democracy, public good, diversity, social responsibility, to name a few, are common offerings within such questions’ explanatory hustle and bustle. Indeed, the case for ‘engaged community partnership and scholarship’ is increasingly made in pertinent and important ways, emphasizing the responsibility of a university to the community it sits within, not only for the members of that community, but for students of the universities themselves. And yet, as powerful and profound as these relationships can be, the historical-political moment of today’s partnerships, should draw thoughtful pause on the role of community and university engagement. This presentation will draw attention to the intellectual work of scholars collaborating with community, consider the complex particularities of the university’s institutional context, and present the case for sustained reflective engagement in university-community collaborations.
GEORGE J. SANCHEZ is Professor of American Studies & Ethnicity, and History at the University of Southern California, where he also serves as Director of College Diversity. He is the author of Becoming Mexican American: Ethnicity, Culture and Identity in Chicano Los Angeles, 1900-1945 (Oxford, 1993), co-editor of Los Angeles and the Future of Urban Cultures (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005), and author of “’What’s Good for Boyle Heights is Good for the Jews’: Creating Multiracialism on the Eastside During the 1950s,” American Quarterly_56:3 (September 2004). His academic work focuses on both historical and contemporary topics of race, gender, ethnicity, labor, and immigration, and he is currently working on a historical study of the ethnic interaction of Mexican Americans, Japanese Americans, African Americans, and Jews in the Boyle Heights area of East Los Angeles, California in the twentieth century. He is Past President of the American Studies Association in 2001-02, and is one of the co-editors of the book series, “American Crossroads: New Works in Ethnic Studies,” from the University of California Press. He currently serves as Director of the Center for Diversity and Democracy at USC, which focuses on issues of racial/ethnic diversity in higher education and issues of civic engagement.