Course Description and Goals

This course examined the history of racial and ethnic communities in San Diego (and beyond San Diego during the COVID-19 pandemic) through active and sustained engagement with community-based organizations. We studied the ways that histories of global capitalism, colonialism, displacement, and war have disproportionately impacted particular communities of color, resulting in their vulnerabilities to state violence and premature death. These vulnerabilities have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, as immigrant and refugee communities already experiencing economic precarity find themselves struggling to access emergency medical provisions, childcare, and other relief. This course allowed students to engage in grassroots community-building efforts in response to the current crisis. Students supplemented their text-based knowledge by conducting community-based research, including oral history. By the end of the course, students developed core public and digital humanities skills, built relationships with a community partner, and contributed to the collection and preservation of oral histories for future scholarship on racial and ethnic communities and on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Community Partners for Spring 2020:

  1. Allies to End Detention
  2. United Women of East Africa
  3. Refugee Health Unit – UC San Diego Center for Community Health
  4. Oakland Vietnamese Chamber of Commerce
  5. American Friends Service Committee – US-Mexico Border Program
  6. Refugee Teaching Institute – Critical Refugee Studies Collective