Courses in Allbritton – Fall 2016

The Allbritton Center for the Study of Public life hosts courses each semester that integrate academics with public life, featuring unique courses and visiting professors. In the Fall of 2016, we are hosting five courses: 

innovatorsCSPL 240 Nonprofits and Social Change, Professor Rob Rosenthal and Visiting Professor Jeff Shames, .5 credits

This course explores the world of nonprofits and how they help (or don’t help) the process of social change. As nonprofits increasingly address issues and concerns that governments have previously addressed, a critical analysis of how and why they carry out their work is central to the Allbritton Center’s concern with public life. Each class session will include (1) background on a particular social issue (including global health, inner-city education, clean water, hunger, refugees, and national borders); (2) a case study of a nonprofit addressing that issue; (3) discussion with leaders of that nonprofit. 

CSPL 262 Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship, PCSE Director Makaela Kingsley, .25 credits 

This is an intro-level crash course in social entrepreneurship. We’ll start by defining social entrepreneurship, then we’ll explore the tactics and tendencies of successful social entrepreneurs. We will partially incubate a real social enterprise, so we can “learn by doing.” Each session will be a combination of lecture, group work/discussion, and in-class presentations.
This course will be useful for students who want to think critically about how social change happens, launch their own projects or ventures, innovate solutions to social and environmental problems, hone their activism, and/or build practical skills. Although it is introductory level, it will be useful for students already involved with social impact organizations or entrepreneurial enterprises.

CSPL 280 & CSPL281 Nonprofit Boards: Theory and Practice, JCCP Director Cathy Lechowicz, .5 credits 

This course will focus on the nonprofit sector, with special emphasis on the role of nonprofit boards of directors. Course time will be spent on literature about the history and purpose of the nonprofit sector, comparison to the government and public sector, and the purpose/function of nonprofit boards of directors. As part of the course, students will work directly with a local nonprofit–students will participate as a non-voting member of the board of directors and complete a board-level project for the organization.

                        The Collaborative Cluster Initiative, Academic Year 2016-2017                                

The Collaborative Clusters Initiative of the Allbritton Center enables faculty from a variety of departments and programs to develop a shared research project with a unifying theme. Cluster courses in 2016-17 will provide perspectives on the intersection of race, incarceration and citizenship from a variety of disciplines. Students, in collaboration with peers, faculty, and visiting scholars, will develop original research in writing around the cluster theme. The Cluster includes special events and internship possibilities.

CSPL 368 Incarceration and American Literature, Professor Sean McCann, 1 credit

This course offers a consideration of the image of imprisonment in American literary and cultural expression and its relation to the history of corrections and criminal justice in the United States and to prominent ideas about democracy, freedom, and citizenship. 

livefromdeathrowCSPL 366 A History of Incarceration in the United States, Professor Demetrius Eudell, 1 credit 

This course examines the history of incarceration in the United States from the eighteenth century to the late twentieth century. It begins with history of indentured servitude in the colonial era, and then considers the intensification of the enslavement of Blacks in the nineteenth century as well as the expansion of prisons in the twentieth century. The course seeks to engage how systems of confinement accompanied the development of a political system based on the languages of liberty.

CSPL320 Collaborative Cluster Initiative Research Seminar I, Professor Sean McCann, .5 credits

This course will supplement the seminars providing historical and cultural background of the prison system in the United States. The emphasis will be on the practical application of topics engaged in the other two seminars, and contemporary concerns related to the prison system in the U.S. We shall follow current debates at both the national and state level, including legislation, media, and university initiatives. Students will also visit local sites. Speakers will visit the class to share their experiences and expertise. Students will conduct individual research projects and present them in workshop fashion.

Collaborative Cluster 16-17

To Participate: Enroll in CSPL 320, the Collaborative Cluster Initiative Research Seminar—a two semester, half credit per semester research seminar—during pre-registration and one of the courses listed above (choose Section 02 to be included in the Cluster). 

In addition, there are seven service-learning courses available this fall, which directly integrate community service and academic work.


Jennifer Roach is the Civic Engagement Fellow in Allbritton for the academic year 2015-2016. She is a recent Wesleyan alumni, class of 2014. Since graduating, she has moved to Hartford to continue developing Summer of Solutions Hartford, an urban farming internship program she worked on during her time at Wesleyan.