Care in Critical Times

« Return to Course Catalog

Two Sections Available to Choose From:

Course DatesLengthMeeting TimesStatusFormatInstructor(s)CRN
June 21, 2021 - July 02, 20216/21 - 7/022 WeeksM-F 3:30P-6:20PWaitlistedOn-CampusAndrea Wright
June 21, 2021 - July 02, 20216/21 - 7/022 WeeksM-F 12:15P-3:05PWaitlistedOn-CampusAndrea Wright

Course Description

What is care? How can and do communities mobilize care as a social intervention, political act, and tool for building intimacy, healing, and hope? Now, more than ever, it is imperative that we care for ourselves and our communities, but caring is not an apolitical or individual act and we must analyze the inherent inequalities and social dimensions of what it means to give and receive care. Employing a feminist mode of inquiry and an engaged anthropology approach, this course requires students to not only ask how they might engage in caring acts with their own communities, but to complete a locally based community project that brings care, in all its multifariousness, to the fore. Readings will focus on ethnographic, scholarly, and public-facing works that illustrate how culture, social relations, and systems of power shape the experiences, roles, practices, and interactions of individuals and their communities in the exchange of care.

Throughout the course we will discuss and explore topics such as radical care, communities of healing, kinship, engaged scholarship, feminist anthropology, ethics of care, power, and injustice. The topics with which we engage will not always be easy to digest, understand, or reconcile with our own values, morals, and need to make the world a more equal and inclusive place. The final assignment provides the opportunity to move beyond conceptualizing and analyzing the care we see and the care we do to envisioning and creating a public means to address a serious issue of inequality/exclusion. This assignment will also give you the space to pursue an independent issue/theme of relevance to your own community. This individual topic will be decided in the first few weeks of class and will necessitate your active involvement with a community based program/intervention through the duration of the course.

This issue should center on a community action that lies at the intersection of care and COVID. For instance this might include work on virtual educational opportunities, elder care, domestic work, service sector workers, other essential workers, racial justice movements, with mutual aid organizations, health care, hunger, job security, etc. We will spend a portion of the first class brainstorming and discussing possible community engagement projects that are of interest to you, meet a need in your community, and meet your personal comfort levels regarding safety and health. Your ability to make this relevant and timely is strengthened by a regular engagement with current events (as per participation guidelines) and a community of care. Building on your community based participatory project, you will be responsible for curating a week of our ‘Care, Community, and COVID-19’ public syllabus and completing a mini-teaching demo on our last day of class.

Learning goals:

  • To identify the major themes, debates, and discussions about care, intimacy, and engaged scholarship
  • To cultivate a basic vocabulary for discussing key issues within feminist anthropology and engaged anthropology
  • To understand anthropological approaches to the concepts of community based participatory research, intimacy, and care
  • To understand ethnography as a social scientific research method and a genre of analytic writing
  • To improve analytic reading, writing, and discussion skills that are broadly applicable within the humanities and social sciences
  • To develop research skills in an engaged, community-based environment
  • To develop strong oral presentation skills
  • To formulate original spoken and written arguments

Prerequisites: None

Course Information

  • Course Code: CEAN0944

Program Information


Brown’s Pre-College Program in the liberal arts and sciences for students completing grades 9-12 by June 2021.

Visit Program Page View Course Pricing Information Sessions Learn How to Apply