Intro to Social Justice

Summer 2019
George Thomas
LMC 2350
Gentrification—the economic and cultural “revitalization” of American cities--has been, for better or worse, the defining feature of urban life in the twentyfirst century. As late as the 1990s, the “inner city” was portrayed in journalism and popular culture as a decaying, crime-ridden ghetto; now it is often seen as a booming, culturally vibrant, economically desirable playground for hipsters and creatives—at least those who can afford it. How did this happen? Is it good or bad? Using Atlanta as a case study, this class will look at the economics, politics, and culture of gentrification, and explore ways we might make cities more diverse, sustainable, and inclusive. Readings will include short selections from urban theorists, city planners, community activists, and people living through gentrification. We will also study depictions of urban life from TV and cinema. Class assignments will include short essays, a class digital history map, and project proposals for Atlanta’s future. As an SLS-listed course, we will also have a couple of extra components: 1) we will work with Mad Housers, an Atlanta nonprofit that builds low income housing. 2) We will try to use Dr. Michael Hoffman’s REFLECT! Platform to understand complex social problems. 
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