Exploring Bham Syllabus - Exploring Birmingham: Change and...

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Exploring Birmingham: Change and Power GCLH 105 Fall 2010 T/TH 9:30-10:45 Heritage Hall 125 Instructor: Dr. Robert Corley, Director Global and Community Leadership Honors Office Hours: By Appointment Heritage Hall 544 934-8668 rcorley@uab.edu “I am in Birmingham because injustice is here….Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.” -- Martin Luther King, Jr., “Letter from Birmingham Jail” Course Description : Cities are created and constructed by citizens for the benefit and well being of all who live there. Every city represents creative thinking and sustained, collective effort on a scale that is matched by few other enterprises in human history. Birmingham is exactly like every other city in this fundamental sense. Yet Birmingham is also a unique place, with its own distinctive legacy that still resonates throughout the world even today. From its earliest days in the 1870s as an iron and steel-making town, Birmingham attracted a racially and ethnically diverse population from around the country and across the globe. As a “New South” city, it was more like a typical Northern industrial city that had somehow been transported into the “heart of Dixie.” Here in Alabama economic uncertainties and rapid growth interacted like an uncontrolled chemical reaction to create racial and class conflicts. The result was a simmering, volatile social mixture that frequently erupted into violence over the years. In May 1963 police attacked young, peaceful civil rights demonstrators with dogs and fire hoses. A few months later on Sunday, September 15, the bombing of 16 th Street Baptist Church killed four young girls. These momentous events forced Birmingham’s leaders to begin transforming its segregated, oppressive society into a more inclusive community. Yet the legacy of this past still haunts Birmingham. Divisions of race and economic class, which challenge the nation, remain as potent obstacles for today’s leaders who are working to create a shared community. In this course we will be using the concept of Birmingham as a “created community.” In addition, we will be exploring how it is also a “global community” that is connected to the wider world in a multitude of ways. The modern metropolis is the home for most people in the world, so we will examine the different ways that the leaders of social, economic and political institutions and systems have used their power to create and build this city. Across the world, as 1
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well as in Birmingham, political, economic and civic leaders have created societies that have become more democratic and just, but that remain challenged by the vestiges of past inequities. Through readings, films, discussions, lectures, and personal experiences in the city itself, you
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This note was uploaded on 06/21/2011 for the course GCLH 105 taught by Professor Corley during the Fall '10 term at University of Alabama at Birmingham.

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Exploring Bham Syllabus - Exploring Birmingham: Change and...

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