February 7, 2012
Occupy Wall Street Moves To the College Classroom for Analysis: Chicago's Roosevelt University Launches a Three-Credit Class Called "Occupy Everywhere" That Will Study the Movement's Social Impact
Love it or hate it, the Occupy Wall Street movement has certainly made an impression on the national culture — so much so that a Chicago college is now offering a class on the Occupy movement. Thirty-two undergraduate students are enrolled at Roosevelt University's "Occupy Everywhere" class, a three-credit political science course that looks at the movement that started last summer near Wall Street and spread nationwide, and at the overall issue of social inequality in the U.S. "I study social movements and this was something unfolding right in front of us," said professor Jeff Edwards, who is teaching the class, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. "We can take advantage of being in Chicago." He adds that students are reading a range of analysis on the movement concerned with corporate greed and the division of wealth. Last fall, Edwards watched Occupy Chicago's General Assembly gather outside his classroom to meet in Grant Park. The idea for the course was born, though he first wanted to make sure the movement had some staying power. Students will read the Occupy Gazette, the movement's newspaper, and attend General Assembly meetings. Occupy Chicago leaders may present guest lectures. Joining the movement isn't a requirement, though two students are currently participants, and the course wraps up about two weeks before the NATO and G-8 summits. "My syllabus is not a doctrinaire — here's the party line, get on board," Edwards said. "The students are reading a range of different types of analysis, none of which contains any prescription for anything," he added, the Sun-Times reports in an article by Kara Spak.
During the course, students are reviewing literature, essays and articles about the Occupy movement that began in 2011; they are looking at considerable research that's been done in the area of socio-economic inequality and democracy; and they will be doing their own research on various aspects of the Occupy movement, Roosevelt University announced in a news release.
According to Edwards, various aspects that could be studied could include: historical comparisons of Occupy to other social movements; racial dynamics of Occupy, including how the movement allies itself with other communities and causes; Occupy as a global movement, and its potential for changing politics globally; Occupy's future, including strategies/directions that the movement could take in the future; and Occupy's potential impact on the 2012 U.S. presidential election, the news release reports.
There are other similar cultures being taught at other universities across the country, including the New York University course titled, "Cultures and Economies: Why Occupy Wall Street? The History and Politics of Debt and Finance." Meanwhile, Columbia University in New York planned, but decided not to offer, a course called, "Occupy the Field: Global Finance, Inequality and Social Movement," CBS Chicago reports.