Teaching in Context: Placing EMU in Southeast Michigan began as an interdisciplinary seminar sponsored by the Faculty Development Center. It was open to EMU faculty members, lecturers and doctoral students with an interest in collaboratively building knowledge of, curiosity for and commitment to the Southeast Michigan region through critical reading and sustained dialogue. The Seminar was convened in Fall of 2011, and participants continued to meet at their own initiative through 2013. Participants are seeking to continue to create ways to dialogue about the impact of its regional context on teaching and learning at EMU.
Southeast Michigan is at the center of an international debate about the future of urban centers, the fate of industrialism, the state of race relations and the prospects for the nation’s poor and working people. Reading for the seminar draw on raft of current books, films and other media that describe or draw from or illuminate the history, politics, sociology and artistic expression of Detroit and the Southeast Michigan region. The seminar also offers opportunities for scholars at the University whose work takes a regional perspective to make presentations on their work, and connect their projects with colleagues from other disciplines.
The aim of the seminar is to examine the ways in which our own teaching, research and service as well as our vision of the University can be inflected and enriched by an understanding of EMU's location in and contribution to southeast Michigan in the present moment. Our effort is to better understand our students, consider our constraints and enliven our possibilities as teachers and researchers by critically reading current analyses and representations of the region that shapes EMU and its community.