Field Studies in Civic Engagement (FSCE): CFS 397-0

Class Type: Variable Credit (1-4 units)

Academic Focus: practices and goals of civic engagement

What you need to know:

  • Open to Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors
  • Offered in Fall, Winter, and Spring quarter
  • FSCE (397-0) is a weekly 3 hour class typically held on the Evanston campus
  • Class day and time are determined quarterly by polling class participants, with class times set once polling is complete
  • Class can be taken for 1,2,3, or 4 credits (read more about how CFS credit works)
  • Internship time commitment varies from 8-36 hours/week (read more about how CFS credit works)
  • Students work with their employer to negotiate internship hours that are compatible with their class schedule
  • Classes may have mandatory field trips that require students’ absence from their internship
  • You are able to take other classes while participating in this class if you need to. However, we strongly recommend that students take no more than 2 other classes. Students participating for 4 units of credit are expected to dedicate their quarter exclusively to their CFS class and internship.
  • This class will count one credit toward Weinberg Distribution Requirement for Area III: Social and Behavioral Sciences (unless taken as part of Engage Chicago)
  • Students can take 397-0 twice, once as FSCE and once as 397-0 Engage Chicago (summer program with CCE)

Course Description

Fall/Winter 2017/18:

What is "civic engagement"? This phrase has become a buzzword in recent years, from government bureaucracies to corporate headquarters to college campuses; but what does it mean in any of these institutional contexts, and what might it mean to you – as a student, an intern, a voter, a community member, or a person of any sort? What (and, importantly, who) should civic activity include? What should it aim to achieve? And what is the relationship between work – a central feature of your CFS experience – and “engagement” in a civic sphere? This course will ask you to take up these questions and to raise your own throughout your CFS internship experience, as you hone a sense of what citizenship, engagement, and work might mean to you. Through readings, discussions, in-class activities, reflection exercises, and critical research assignments, we will consider a wide range of topics and issues, culled from your internships and current events whenever possible. Topics might include citizenship, civility, public service, volunteerism, community organizing, political races, social media and the internet as civic space, civically engaged careers and related labor issues, corporate responsibility, higher education, and the public sphere. With readings pulled from an array of fields and writing styles, this course will help you think deeply, dynamically, and critically (which does not necessarily mean cynically) about your internship experience. It will also give you a unique chance to learn from your peers and their experiences as “civically-engaged” student-interns.

Spring 2018:

Civic engagement involves any concerted social action in the public sphere, through a vista of popular movements, reform, reaction and revolt, and democratic participation across the social spectrum—block clubs to public art to polling firms to local Democratic Party offices.  This course approaches civic engagement from an American historical perspective, with particular attention to local political cultures, community organizing traditions, cultural citizenship and belonging, and ideas and discourses on the meanings and responsibilities of civic life.  The readings and exercises provide a look at our ethical and political dimensions as civic subjects, while discussions and internships build practical skills in entering the civic arena, organizing people, navigating the media, bureaucracies, and elected officials, and taking part in crucial public debates of our time.

2017-2018 Instructors: Liz McCabe

Types of Internships that relate to the Field Studies in Civic Engagement class:

(Opportunities in other fields are also available)

For orientation, internship run, and midterm meeting dates, as well as other program obligations, please see the Important Program Dates page