This course will explore connections between heritage, historic preservation (and related design, planning and artistic practices) and the pursuit of social justice. How do historic preservation and other design and humanities professionals contribute to more equitable and just societies? How can our work be organized to result in greater equity, access and social justice? The course will focus on conceptual and theoretical work (how we think about built heritage and social change; how we conceptualize social justice) and practical examples of advancing social outcomes through preservation and design (how social justice concerns reorganize projects, practices, and organizations). We'll draw on work by: designers; historians; public intellectuals; geographers, anthropologists and other social scientists; heritage organizations; artists; entrepreneurs; and more. Subjects will include traditional preservation, reparative practices, creative placemaking, public art, memorialization, and organizational-managerial social innovation. Cases will be drawn from the US and abroad. The course will progress through a series of weekly topics, often including guest practitioners and scholars. Students will have significant agency in helping flesh out the topics and cases; final projects (individual and group) will be envisioned as a statement (in the form of an exhibition or publication) of how social justice concerns have reshaped practice and how they could reshape our fields in the future.
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