Community Engaged Scholarship

Program / Past Events / Courses / Resources

Community Engagement Scholarship

The Gender and Women’s Studies Department promotes engaged scholarship through our unique internship courses. Students commit to working with a community-based organization for a minimum of three hours a week for the semester. The hope and challenge of these courses is to go beyond standard educational models in which learning is bound by the classroom and confined to the University. This effort to bridge the gap between the University – as a place of study – and community organizations – as agents of action, grows from the urgent need for opportunities to engage in a coordinated exploration where theory and action inform each other.

GWS offers three courses with an internship component:

In forging a theoretical connection between class readings and the activist concerns of a particular community organization, students are given the opportunity to explore their own definitions of activism, community engagement, and social transformation. Central to the courses are questions concerning the ethics of help, the political economy of private volunteerism, and the limits and possibilities of different forms of social engagement.

Professor Minoo Moallem received the Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Service-Learning in May 2010 for designing and teaching these courses. She has also been selected as a 2010-2011 Chancellor’s Public Scholar as part of the ACES program.

  • Engaged Scholarship in Women and Gender
  • Women, Poverty and Globalization
  • Queer Theories/Activist Practices.

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Past Events

Fall 2009 Roundtable Discussion: Bridging the Gap Between Theory and Practice

The partnership between UC Berkeley faculty, students and community organizations has an ambitious goal: to understand new patterns of poverty and inequality through the lens of gender and in the context of globalization. This is a complex process that necessitates a space in which to reflect upon shared accomplishments, envision how the partnership between GWS students and community organizations can evolve, and learn from their experiences.

To this end, the Gender and Women’s Studies Program hosted a roundtable discussion on December 9, 2009, at the end of the first semester of GWS 143. Students in the course, faculty and representatives of each participating organization came together in structured discussions and activities to critically engage with one another and discuss how they could all be involved in the complex processes of theory and practice.

Digital Media, Feminist Studies and Engaged Scholarship

GWS Lecture Series for fall

Organized and moderated by Professor Minoo Moallem

September 22, 2010 – Wednesday

“To Teach, Write, and Learn on YouTube: Publishing Theory and Practice On-Line”

Speaker: Dr. Alexandra Juhasz, Professor of Media Studies at Pitzer College

Alexandra Juhasz’s two-year project—to teach, write, and learn about YouTube on YouTube— raises the hows and whys of (re)presentation and translation of on-line experiences and analyses across vernaculars, audiences, and media. Her findings, videos, student assignments, critical papers and talks now designed as a digital “book” under contract negotiatin with MIT Press. Juhasz came to YouTube after twenty years of making, writing and teaching about committed media, particularly the community video work of AIDS and anti-war activists, feminists, lesbians, and queers of many stripes. When she commenced her YouTube project—teaching, learning and writing about and also on the site—she arrived underwhelmed by what she saw there, and so she remained. This DIY revolution in access to production and distribution proved to hold only some of what is necessary for the realization of the full possibilities of radical or punk media that video activists have long been anticipating, producing, and promoting. In her talk, Juhasz will focus on eight dilemmas faced when working to “publish” her large and diverse body of critical, multi-modal work on-line. She will consider how on-line publication repurposes audience, attention, design, interaction, linearity, multi-modality, and borders.

Bio: Alexandra Juhasz makes and studies committed media practices that contribute to political change and individual and community growth. She is the author of AIDS TV: Identity, Community and Alternative Video (Duke University Press, 1995) Women of Vision: Histories in Feminist Film and Video (University of Minnesota Press, 2001), F is for Phony: Fake Documentary and Truth’s Undoing, co-edited with Jesse Lerner (Minnesota, 2005), and Media Praxis: A Radical Web-Site Integrating Theory, Practice and Politics, She has published extensively on documentary film and video. Dr. Juhasz is also the producer of educational videotapes on feminist issues from AIDS to teen pregnancy. She recently completed the feature documentaries SCALE: Measuring Might in the Media Age (2008), Video Remains (2005) and Dear Gabe (2003) as well as Women of Vision: 18 Histories in Feminist Film and Video (1998) and the shorts, RELEASED: 5 Short Videos about Women and Film (2000) and Naming Prairie (2001), a Sundance Film Festival, 2002, official selection. She is the producer of the feature films, The Watermelon Woman (Cheryl Dunye, 1997) and The OWLS (Dunye, 2010). Her current work is on and about YouTube:

Sponsored by GWS Li Ka Shing Lecture series | Co-sponsored by The Center for New Media, Blum Center, The Program in American Cultures
4:00 PM – 6:00 PM
BCNM Commons (340 Moffitt)

October 13, 2010 – Wednesday

“Open Shutters Iraq: documentary, subjectivity and agency in post-invasion Iraq” By Maysoon Pachachi, London-based Film Maker and Director “Games, Art and Activism” By Susana Ruiz, Doctoral student, Interdivisional Media Arts + Practice, School of Cinematic Arts, USC and Co-founder, Take Action Games Media Artist and Scholar

Panel Discussion and Project Demonstration

Maysoon Pachachi will discuss her approach to documenting everyday life in Iraq since 2003, from her perspective as an ex-patriot Iraqi filmmaker and the co-founder of the Independent Film and Television College in Baghdad, the first and only free school of its kind in Iraq. Maysoon challenges the approach of many media outlets who seek to “give Iraqis a voice” and questions what alternatives exist in today’s complex world of global media. As her project demonstration, Maysoon will show extracts from IFTVC student films and (if time allows) present either a clip from her most recent documentary film “Our Feelings Took the Pictures: Open Shutters Iraq” or some of the photographic and text work created by the women on the Open Shutters Iraq project.

Bio: Maysoon Pachachi is a London-based filmmaker of Iraqi origin. She worked for many years as a documentary and drama film editor in the UK, and since 1994 has worked as an independent documentary film director. She has written several feature scripts and is now developing a fiction feature film to be shot in Iraq. She has also taught film directing and editing in Britain and Palestine.

Susana Ruiz will present some of her work, including Darfur is Dying and Finding Zoe, as well as an ongoing multi-platform piece entitled In The Balance, which addresses aspects of the American criminal justice system. In parallel, she will talk about Games For Change – a community that creates and promotes games that engage contemporary issues with the goal of fostering a more just, equitable and tolerant society. She will also comment on additional influences to her work, such as the notion of documentary games as a mode or genre of discourse and practice; the impact design can have towards social change and learning; and game making as an art practice.

Bio: Susana Ruiz is a media artist and scholar working in the intersections between art, journalism, game design, documentary and ethics. In partnership with mtvU and a team of passionate and socially conscious students, Susana developed Darfur is Dying a pioneering game for social change, which received critical acclaim from experts, won numerous awards, and helped garner the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ prestigious Governors Award. The game was said to be one of the best representations of life in Darfur by Pulitzer Prize winner New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, and was presented in Capitol Hill to members of the U.S. Congress. Her follow up project in collaboration with the Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children – Finding Zoe – addresses gender stereotyping and teen dating abuse, and won the Ashoka Changemakers and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s global competition Why Games Matter: A Prescription for Improving Health and Health Care. Susana has presented at numerous media and game festivals as well as academic conferences, and has been interviewed by major news venues including The New York Times, The Washington Post, TIME, NPR’s Morning Edition, NPR’s All Things Considered, CNN, and ABC World News. She received a BFA from The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art and an MFA from the University of Southern California, where she is currently a doctoral student. She is the co-founder of the game design collective Take Action Games, which seeks to address critical social issues via innovative gameplay.

Sponsored by GWS Li Ka Shing Lecture series | Co-sponsored by The Center for New Media, Townsend Center for Humanities, Center for Middle Eastern Studies, The Program in American Cultures
4:00 PM – 7:00 PM
BCNM Commons (340 Moffitt)

November 10, 2010 – Wednesday

“Remixing the Public Domain: Indigenous Knowledge, Social Media and the Politics of Access.”

Speaker: Dr. Kimberly Christen, Department of Critical Culture, Gender and Race Studies, Washington State University

Bio: Kimberly Christen is an Assistant Professor in the Comparative Ethnic Studies Department at Washington State University. Her research focuses on contemporary indigenous alliance-making globally, but with specific attention to Australia. Her book, Aboriginal Business: Alliances in a Remote Australian Town ( explores the complexities of Aboriginal modernities as they relate to a range of “business” ventures. She has worked collaboratively with the Warumungu community in Central Australia on a range of projects over the last ten years including an oral history and DVD, an educational website ( and a community digital archive ( She is currently working with the Plateau Center for American Indian Studies, the Umatilla, Coeur d’Alene, and Yakama tribes and the Washington State University libraries designing the Plateau Peoples’ web portal and digital archive ( Her current academic research grows from this work and focuses on the intersection of digital technologies, museum spaces, intellectual property rights and cultural heritage movements within indigenous communities and the global commons. In 2010-2011 Dr. Christen will be working with a range of collaborators including USC, WIPO and the Smithsonian Institution on an NEH grant funded digital project to create an open source digital archive and content management tool for indigenous communities globally. Dr. Christen maintains a blog, Long Road, where she regularly addresses these issues and archives her publications and on-going projects.

Abstract: The now infamous and increasingly trite rallying cry by Internet enthusiast John Perry Barlow that “information wants to be free” bookends an all too often binary narrative about “open access” or “information sharing” online. In this scenario, information is either free or it is hidden behind a firewall. It is open to all or closed off by corporate greed. Questions about the ethics and politics of openness, access, and information circulation are often ignored as we battle over DRM or Microsoft’s intellectual property regime. While these debates are waged in courtrooms, boardrooms, and classrooms the subtleties of knowledge management and the histories of access to information are pushed aside. In this presentation, I examine the questions of open access and knowledge circulation in relation to indigenous knowledge and content. Specifically, I will explore the creation of an indigenous digital archive as a conscious application of digital technologies to undo the default of open access that drives archival sensibilities.

Sponsored by GWS Li Ka Shing Lecture series | Co-sponsored by The Center for New Media, Blum Center, The Program in American Cultures
4:00 PM – 6:00 PM
BCNM Commons (340 Moffitt)

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Engaged Scholarship in Women and Gender – GWS 115 
Course Description
This class provides students the opportunity to do supervised community service with an organization that relates to women and gender. Students will be placed in an organization and complete an internship throughout the course of the semester. In addition to community service hours, students spend time reflecting on their internship experiences, connecting their service with concepts learned in Gender and Women’s Studies classes, and meeting as a group to evaluate and assess issues such as volunteer/unpaid labor, activism and the academy, and the political economy of gender and women’s services.

Women, Poverty and Globalization – GWS 143
Course Description
This course examines new patterns of inequality as they relate to the feminization of poverty in a global and transnational context. It will give students the opportunity to enhance their critical knowledge of new forms of globalization and their impact on the least-privileged group of women locally and globally. It also provides an opportunity for students to work with a local or global non-governmental or community organization with a focus on gender and poverty, and to engage in a systematic analysis of the strategies and practices of these organizations. Class readings are organized around themes such as: globalization and postcolonialism; economic restructuring and flexible sexism; neoliberalism and feminization of poverty; transnational institutions (GATT, World Bank, IMF); the welfare state; rights and needs; cyber space and community activism, militarism and consumerism.

Students are asked to work with an NGO or a community organization for an average of three hours per week. They are asked to establish a dialogue with the organization and try to forge a theoretical connection between class readings and the activist concerns of a particular community organization. A list of relevant NGOs and community organizations is provided at the beginning of the semester.

Queer Theories/Activist Practices – GWS 116AC
Course Description
This class will examine various forms of activist practices and create possibilities for students to engage in community projects that allow them to explore their own definitions of activism, community engagement, and social transformation. As a class we will engage different types of interventions–art, law, advocacy, and direct action–and examine the limits and possibilities of these different forms of social engagement. In the process we will pay particular attention to how narratives of queer identity, community and social and sexual practices are mutually constituted through understandings of race, ethnicity, age, class, gender presentation and identity, language, ability, citizenship, and history. Course materials will include a variety of texts including films, short stories, personal essays, law review articles, academic articles and guest lectures by local artists and activists. As a class we will pay particular attention to how issues of representation, various sorts of privilege and access, and the ethics of engaging human subjects inform our activist and scholarly practices.

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Community-based Organizations

• About-face
• American Civil Liberties Union-Women’s Rights
• Asian Communities for Reproductive Justice (ACRJ)
• Asian Immigrant Women’s Advocates
• BAIDO-Bay Area International Development Organizations
• Breast Cancer Action
• California Family Health Council (CFHC)
• California Healthy Nail Salons Collaborative
• California Pan-Ethnic Health Network (CPEHN)
• Center for Genetics and Society
• Charlotte Maxwell Complementary Clinic
• Children Now
• Community United Against Violence
• Creating Economic Opportunities for Women (C.E.O. Women)
• El/La Transgender Latina HIV Prevention Program
• Exhale-After Abortion Counseling Services
• Family Violence Law Center
• Family Violence Protection Fund
• Femina Potens Art Gallery
• Food First for Food and Development/Food First for Food and Development Policy
• Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society
• Gay & Lesbian National Hotline
• Gender Equity Resource Center, UC Berkeley
• Girls Inc.
• Girls Inc. of the Island City
• Golden Thread Productions
• Global Fund for Women
• Graduate Assembly’s Graduate Women’s Project
• The Greenlining Institute
• Hastings Women’s Law Journal
• Hesperian Foundation
• Human Rights Watch
• Human Rights Watch San Francisco
• International Development Exchange (IDEX)
• OutRight Action International
• International Rescue Committee
• International Rescue Committee San Francisco
• Law Students for Reproductive justice (LSRJ)
• NARAL Pro-Choice California
• Narika
• National Asian Women’s Health Organization (NAWHO)
• National Legal Sanctuary for Community Advancement
• National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
• National Organization for Women: California
• National Partnership for Women and Families
• Oasis For Girls (a project of The Tides Center)
• Pacific Center
• Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA)
• Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California
• Prison Activism
• Prison Activist Resource Center
• Rainbow World Fund
• Refugee Transitions
• The Riley Center
• San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women
• San Francisco Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Community Center
• San Francisco Women’s Building
• San Francisco Women Against Rape
• Shanti
• Sins Invalid
• WILD for Human Rights
• W.O.M.A.N., Inc. (Women Organized to Make Abuse Non-Existent)
• Women’s Cancer Resource Center
• Women’s Daytime Drop-in Center
• Women in Development – Heifer Project International
• Women’s Foundation of California
• Women’s Community Clinic

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