Version 2.0 (Feb. 11, 2012 -- flipped Mar 15 and 22 topics from previous version)

Theory and Practice of Community Organizing
POLSCI 389 (Section 3) meets with RCSSCI 360 (Section 3)

Winter 2012

Gregory B. Markus
Professor of Political Science and Research Professor, Center for Political Studies
6735 Haven Hall
(734) 763-2222, gmarkus@umich.edu

Amy Krings, MSW
Graduate Student Instructor
7740 Haven Hall
akrings@umich.edu

Class meets: Thursdays. 10:10 am to 12:00 pm, 2449 Mason Hall

Krings Office hours: Mondays, 10:00 am to noon, or by appointment
Markus Office hours: Thursdays, 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm, or by appointment

COURSE OVERVIEW

Through reading, discussion, writing, and practical action, you will learn to develop effective, resilient organizations that build the power of communities to control their own futures and put that power to effective use in pursuit of shared goals. In addition, you will gain insight into how this practical work can inform our understandings of democratic theory and organizational processes -- and vice versa. Finally, a central objective of this course is to develop your ability to organize and communicate your thoughts clearly and effectively in writing, incorporating appropriate evidence or examples. This course satisfies LSA’s upper-level writing requirement.

How the Course Proceeds

Class meetings. We meet weekly as a class to discuss the assigned readings, reflect upon your work in the field, and develop your skills in oral and written communication.

Experiential learning. You will engage in relevant activities and events out of class (including in Detroit) as an integral part of this course, and you should expect to devote approximately 25 hours (plus travel time) to such experiential learning over the semester. Your organizing team members and the community leaders with whom you will be working deserve no less than your best effort.

Journaling. Keep a journal of your experiences and reflections. Your journal will be useful for preparing your four papers (see below) and for your own reference, in this class and in the future.

Grading. Grading is on a standard, no-curve 100-point system. There is no competition among you for a pre-set number of "A" grades. To the contrary, I encourage cooperation, studying together, and learning from one another. Of course, all work that you turn in must be your own.

Papers. You will write four 2000-word papers during the semester, worth 15 points each (60 points total). These papers should not merely summarize the readings or provide a chronology of your organizing activities. Rather, they should integrate and reflect upon the key ideas and insights you are acquiring from the readings of the relevant weeks, our class discussions, and your course-related experiences. Please submit your papers via our CTools dropbox, either as plain text or as Word documents with filenames of the form "Yourname1.doc", so we can tell whose paper and which assignment it is. Paper deadlines are as noted below. Except in the case of a significant emergency, these papers must be submitted on time. Your GSI and I will provide constructive feedback to you on both the substance and writing quality of your papers. You will revise and resubmit (at least) one of your papers, taking that feedback into account.

Paper assignment schedule:

    Paper 1 covers Jan 5 - Jan 27, due by 9 pm Monday, Jan 30
    Paper 2 covers Jan 28 - Feb 17, due by 9 pm Monday, Feb 20
    Paper 3 covers Feb 18 - Mar 16, due by 9 pm Monday, Mar 19
    Paper 4 covers Mar 17 - Apr 16, due by 9 pm Monday, Apr 23

Class Participation. An additional 20 points reflect the quality and consistency of your participation in our class discussions, including in-class presentations at the end of the semester.

Experiential Learning. The last 20 points are based on the seriousness and depth of your engagement in our experiential learning activities. Active, consistent engagement in community organizing is an essential element of this course.

COURSE READINGS

Please purchase the following book for this course:

    Jacobsen, Dennis A. 2001. Doing Justice. Minneapolis: Fortress Press.

All other required readings (and most supplementary ones) are available on the Web or in the "Resources" section of our CTools website.

In the Course Outline below, readings marked with an asterisk are to be read by everyone. The supplementary readings are there for you to sample as you wish, or as I assign to individual students from time to time for them to present in class.

COURSE OUTLINE

Jan 5. Introduction to the Course and Overview of Organizing

* Ganz, Marshall.  2004. "Organizing." In George R. Goethals, Georgia J. Sorenson, and James MacGregor Burns, eds. Encyclopedia of Leadership. Vol. 3. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Obama, Barack. 1990. "Why organize? Problems and promise in the inner city." In Peg Knoepfle (ed.), After Alinsky: Community Organizing in Illinois. Springfield, IL: Illinois Issues, University of Illinois at Springfield, Ch. 4.


Jan 12. Values, Interests, Power

* Jacobsen. Doing Justice. Chapters 1-3, 5, 6.

* King, Martin Luther, Jr. 1967. "Where do we go from here?" (Excerpts)

* Shown in class: excerpts from "Awakenings (1954-1956)," a chapter of the documentary film "Eyes on the Prize" (1987), produced and directed by Judith Vecchione.

Elliott, Aprele. 1996. "Ella Baker: Free agent in the civil rights movement," Journal of Black Studies, Vol. 26 (May): 593-603.

Ganz, Marshall. 2007. "Hillel's questions: A call to leadership," Sh'ma (Feb.).

Markus, Gregory B. 2002. "Civic participation in American cities." Ann Arbor: Institute for Social Research, pp. 1-29, 38-42.

Morris, Aldon. 1981. "Black southern sit-in movement: An analysis of internal organization," American Sociological Review, 46 (6): 744-767.

Gaventa, John. 1980. Power and Powerlessness: Quiescence and Rebellion in an Appalachian Valley. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press.


Jan 19. Developing Leaders and Leadership, Part 1

* McNeil, Larry B. 1995. "The soft arts of organizing," Social Policy, 26 (2): 16-22.

* Jacobsen. Doing Justice. Chapters 7, 8.

* Shel Trapp. 1986. Basics of Organizing. Chicago: NTIC. Read the following three chapters: "Identifying Leaders," "Leadership Development," and "Leadership/Staff Roles."

Harris, Fredrick C. 1994. "Something within: Religion as a mobilizer of African-American activism," Journal of Politics, 56 (1): 42-68.

Markus, Gregory B. 2002. "Civic participation in American cities." Ann Arbor: Institute for Social Research, pp. 32-38.

McAdam, Doug. 1986. "Recruitment to high-risk activism: The case of Freedom Summer," American Journal of Sociology, 2 (1): 64-90.

Chambers, Ed. 2003. Roots for Radicals. New York: Continuum. Ch. 2, 4.


Jan 26. Developing Leaders and Leadership, Part 2

Paper 1 covers Jan 5 - Jan 27, due by 9 pm Monday, Jan 30

* Freire, Paulo. 1994. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Continuum. Chapter 2.

* Stout. Blessed are the Organized. New York: Princeton University Press. Chapters 7 and 8.

* Klein, Alex. 2011. "The world isn’t flat: The well-intentioned lie that led to Occupy Wall Street’s downfall," The New Republic (Nov. 28).

Freeman, Jo. 1972-73. "The tyranny of structurelessness," Berkeley Journal of Sociology, 17: 151-165.

Freire, Paulo. 1994. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Continuum. Chapter 1.

Pateman, Carole. 1970. Participation and Democratic Theory. Cambridge, Eng.: Cambridge University Press.

Warren, Mark R. 2001. Dry Bones Rattling. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Chapters 1, 8.


Feb. 2. Power and (Dis)empowerment

* Alinsky, Saul. 1971. "The process of power." Excerpted from Rules for Radicals (New York: Random House), pp 113-125.

* Keddy, Jim. 2002. "Powerful thoughts." PICO National Network.

* Arnstein, Sherry R. 1969. "A ladder of citizen participation," Journal of the American Institute of Planners, 35 (July): 216-224.

* Piven, Frances Fox. 2006. Challenging Authority. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. Chapter 2.

Eliasoph, Nina. 1997. "'Close to home': The work of avoiding politics," Theory and Society, 26 (5): 605-647.

Sharp, Gene. 2010. From Dictatorship to Democracy, 4th Edition. East Boston, MA: Albert Einstein Institution.


Feb. 9. History and Traditions of Organizing

* Jensen, Richard J., and John C. Hammerback. 2000. "Working in 'quiet places': The community organizing rhetoric of Robert Parris Moses," Howard Journal of Communications, 11 (1): 1-18.

* Alinsky, Saul. 1971. "The education of an organizer." From: Rules for Radicals (New York: Random House), pp. 63-80.

* Jacobsen. Doing Justice. Chapter 4.

Stall, Susan, and Randy Stoecker. 1998. "Community organizing or organizing community?: Gender and the crafts of empowerment," Gender and Society, 12 (Dec): 729-756.

Moses, Robert P., and Charles Cobb Jr. 2001. "Organizing algebra: The need to voice a demand," Social Policy, 31 (4): 4-12.

Reitzes, Donald C., and Dietrich C. Reitzes. 1987. "Alinsky in the 1980s: Two contemporary Chicago community organizations," Sociological Quarterly, 28 (2): 265-283.

Atlas, John. 2010. Seeds of Change. Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press.

Fisher, Robert. 1994. Let the People Decide: Neighborhood Organizing in America. Updated ed. New York: Twayne.

Horwitt, Sanford D. 1989. Let Them Call Me Rebel. New York: Knopf.

Matthiessen, Peter. 2000. Sal Si Puedes (Escape If You Can): Cesar Chavez and the New American Revolution. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Payne, Charles M. 1995. I've Got the Light of Freedom. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Warren, Mark R. and Richard L. Wood. 2001. Faith-Based Community Organizing: The State of the Field. Jericho, NY: Interfaith Funders. Read the Executive Summary.


Feb 16. Organizing Across Fault Lines

Paper 2 covers Jan 28 - Feb 17, due by 9 pm Monday, Feb 20

* Boyle, Mary-Ellen, and Ira Silver. 2005. "Poverty, partnerships, and privilege: Elite institutions and community empowerment," City and Community, 4 (3): 233-253.

* Jacobsen. Doing Justice. Chapter 9.

* Wilson, William J. 2009. "More than just race: Being black and poor in the inner city," Poverty & Race Research Action Council, 18 (May/June).

* Dreier, Peter, and Daniel May. 2007. "Progressive Jews organize," The Nation (Oct. 7).

Gecan, Mike. 2005. "Taking faith seriously," Boston Review, 30 (April/May).

Morin, Richard. 2001. "Misperceptions cloud whites' view of blacks," Washington Post (July 11), p. A1.

Warren, Mark R. 2001. Dry Bones Rattling. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Chapters 4, 5.

Wood, Richard L. 2002. Faith in Action: Religion, Race, and Democratic Organizing in America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Naples, Nancy A., ed. 1998. Community Activism and Feminist Politics: Organizing Across Race, Class, and Gender. New York: Routledge.

Stout, Linda. 1996. Bridging the Class Divide. Boston: Beacon Press.


Feb 23. Meetings that Build Power and Effect Change

* Bobo, Kim, Jackie Kendall, and Steve Max. 2001. Organizing for Social Change, 3rd ed. Santa Ana, CA: Seven Locks Press. Chapter 12.

* Trapp, Shel. 1986. Basics of Organizing. Chicago: NTIC. Read four chapters: "Organizing a Block Club Or Small Issue Group,""Leadership Meeting," "Public Meeting," and "Check List for the Public Meeting"

* "Six tips for effective meetings"

Virginia Organizing Project. "House meetings."


Mar 1. Winter Break

Mar 8. Analysis, Strategy, Action, Reflection, and Celebration

* Winerip, Michael. 1992. "On Sunday; some people taking back their power," New York Times (Sept. 27).

* Trapp, Shel. 1986. Basics of Organizing. Chicago: NTIC. Read three chapters: "Identifying Issues," "Fliers," and "Working the Media."

* Bobo, Kim, Jackie Kendall, and Steve Max. 2001. Organizing for Social Change, 3rd ed. Santa Ana, CA: Seven Locks Press. Chapter 8.

* Ganz, Marshall. 2005. "Why David Sometimes Wins." In David M. Messick and Roderick M. Kramer. The Psychology of Leadership. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, pp. 209-238.

Trapp, Shel. 1986. Basics of Organizing. Chicago: NTIC.  Read two chapters: "Negotiation," and "Presenting Facts and Research"

Bobo, Kim, et al. 2001. Organizing for Social Change, 3rd ed. Santa Ana, CA: Seven Locks Press. Ch. 3 - 5, 7, 20.

Kahn, Si. 2010. Creative Community Organizing. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler. Chapter 8, “Start at the Finish Line.”

Mintzberg, Henry, and Frances Westley. 2001. "Decision making: It's not what you think," MIT Sloan Management Review, 42 (3): 89-93.

Chambers, Ed. 2003. Roots for Radicals. New York: Continuum. Ch. 5.


Mar 15.
Organizing Money
Paper 3 covers Feb 18 - Mar 16, due by 9 pm Monday, Mar 19

* Beckett, Jane, Sandy O'Donnell, and Jean Rudd. 2006. "Fundraising practices in community organizing," Shelterforce (Spring).

* Foundation Center. Proposal Writing Short Course.

* Miller, Mike. 2009. An Organizer’s Tale. Berkeley, CA: Heyday. “Who Pays?” pp. 245-251.

Bobo, Kim, Jackie Kendall, and Steve Max. 2001. Organizing for Social Change, 3rd ed. Santa Ana, CA: Seven Locks Press. Chapters 21, 24.

Websites of some funders who support organizing: C.S. Mott Foundation, Catholic Campaign for Human Development, Needmor Fund, UU Fund for a Just Society


Mar 22. Campaigns that Win Victories and Build Power

* Speer, Paul W., et al. 2003. "The intentional exercise of power: Community organizing in Camden, New Jersey," Journal of Community and Applied Psychology, 13: 399-408.

* Kretzmann, John P. 1995. "Building communities from the inside out," Shelterforce (Sept./Oct.)

* Shown in class: Mahan, Leah and Mark Lipman. 1996. "Holding Ground: The Rebirth of Dudley Street." Documentary video available at U-M Film and Video Library.

Walljasper, Jay 1997. "When activists win: the renaissance of Dudley St." The Nation, March 3. See also the DSNI Website.

Gordon, Jennifer. 1995."We make the road by walking: Immigrant workers, the Workplace Project, and the struggle for social change," Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, 30 (Summer): 407-450.

Evans, Mike, George Goehl, and Kim Bobo, 1996. "Not another parking lot: Fight city hall -- and WIN!" Shelterforce (Jan/Feb).

Warren, Mark R. 2005. "Communities and schools: A new view of urban education reform," Harvard Educational Review, 75 (2): 133-174.

Shirley, Dennis. 1997. Community Organizing for Urban School Reform. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.


Mar 29. Critical Perspectives on Organizing

* McKnight, John, and John Kretzmann. 1984. "Community organizing in the 80's: Toward a post-Alinsky agenda," Social Policy 14 (1): 15-17. [Optional: A critique by Mike Miller may be found in COMM-ORG.]

* Delgado, Gary. 1998. "The last stop sign," Shelterforce (Nov./Dec.).

* Ganz, Marshall. 2002. "Making democracy work?"  Contexts (Fall): 62-63.

Desai, Ian. 2011. "What would Gandhi do?" New York Times (Nov. 29).

Coles, Romand. 2006. "Of tensions and tricksters: Grassroots democracy between theory and practice," Perspectives on Politics, 4 (3): 547-561.

Miller, Mike. 2010. "Alinsky for the left," Dissent (Winter): 43-49.

Calpotura, Francis, and Kim Fellner. 1997. "The square pegs find their groove: Reshaping the organizing circle." COMM-ORG.


Apr 5. Organizing as a Profession

* Jacobsen. Doing Justice. Chapters 10-12.

* Lizza, Ryan. 2007. "The agitator," The New Republic (March 19).

* Trapp, Shel. 1986. Basics of Organizing. Chicago: NTIC.  Read three chapters: "Staff Meetings," "Organizational Retreats," and "Task and Skill Check List"

Bobo, Kim, et al. 2001. Organizing for Social Change, 3rd ed. Santa Ana, CA: Seven Locks Press. Ch. 16, 22, 23, 25.

Chambers, Ed. 2003. Roots for Radicals. New York: Continuum. Ch. 6.

Gecan, Michael. 2002. Going Public. Boston: Beacon Press.


Apr 12. Student Presentations
Paper 4 covers Mar 17 - Apr 16, due by 9 pm, Monday, Apr 23