What is a Mosaic?
The American and Global Mosaics are intensive, interdisciplinary, semester-long research programs designed around ethnographic fieldwork and immersion in domestic and global communities. Their objective is to encourage students to think reflexively about the diverse world in which they live as they engage in collaborative work with local, transnational, and international communities. The Mosaics provide opportunities for students to meaningfully apply what they are learning in the classroom, both theoretically and methodologically, to the world beyond – and to bring their experiences in the world back into the classroom. The Mosaics challenge students to ask significant and relevant questions of the people and communities with which they are working; to actively listen to what others say about their lives and realities; to reflect on their own lives, worlds, and perspectives; to design research that addresses the needs and interests of their partner communities; and finally to present what they have discovered in thoughtful, effective, and ethical ways to multiple audiences. Students learn not only how to design and conduct research but also how to produce their findings and analyses in various forms: written research papers and reports; conference presentations, video documentaries, audio podcasts, and multi-media websites.
The design of a specific Mosaic program is driven by pedagogical and research concerns, and faculty interest and availability. A number of different models have emerged, from a full semester of coursework taken by students with 2-3 faculty from different disciplines- to cluster courses-to a one credit course that integrates a winterim research trip. Examples of various models are outlined below. For more detailed information see the Community Studies website: http://www.dickinson.edu/departments/commstud/index.html
Full-Semester Mosaics: Students take all of their coursework (at Dickinson 4 credits) with 2-3 faculty.*
Full-Semester Mosaics: Students take all of their coursework (at Dickinson 4 credits) with 2-3 faculty.*
During the 1996 Steelton Mosaic, 23 students and three faculty members met with workers, teachers, local business people, and residents of the multi-ethnic community of Steelton, Pennsylvania to explore questions of mutual interest: how to raise a family, earn a living, and sustain faith in a community hit hard by deindustrialization. This research later continued in the 2001 Steelton Mosaic with 18 students who focused on work, family, and migration narratives with members of the African-American community, and mentored young people in the elementary and secondary schools to conduct their own video-taped oral histories. (1996, Faculty: American Studies, Economics, and Sociology; 2001, Faculty: English, History, and Sociology – in both cases, the 3rd faculty member teaching literature contributed only one course to the Mosaic that was open to all students).
The Mexican Migration Mosaics (1998, 2003)
The1998 Mexican Mosaic focused on migrant labor in Adams County, Pennsylvania, just South of Carlisle. The 2003 Mexican Migration Mosaic worked with communities in Adams County, Pennsylvania and Peribán in Michoacán, Mexico--communities which lie on opposite ends of the continent, but stand closely connected through family, work and circular migration. Through intensive fieldwork and internships, students came to better understand the economy and culture, living and labor conditions, and lives of people in both regions. Students had the opportunity to pick apples in the Adams County orchards, visit migrant worker camps, teach ESL in school classes and after-school programs, intern in migrant Headstart programs and day care centers, work with health clinics, and interview growers and advocacy groups in Adams County. In Peribán, students were involved in ethnographic fieldwork and interviewing families of migrant workers and people who have settled in Adams County. Both were full-semester Mosaics involving 18 and 23 students respectively taking 4 courses with either 2 - 3 faculty. (Faculty 1998, Anthropology and American Studies; 2001, Anthropology, History, and Sociology; coursework counted in Latin American Studies, Spanish, History, Anthropology, Sociology, and American Studies)
The 2008 Black Liberation Movements
Mosaic examined two of the most internationally significant Black Liberation Movements of the 20th century: the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa from the 1950s through the 1990s, and the African-American civil rights movement of the 1950s-1980s. Mosaic participants conducted field research in South Africa and Coahoma County, Mississippi with their local counterparts. Their research, primarily conducted through the collection of oral histories, explored how African and African-American people in small communities responded to and eventually defeated white supremacy in two of its most infamous manifestations: apartheid South Africa and Jim Crow Mississippi. Students took all of their coursework with 2 core faculty (one a South African historian and the other an African-American historian) and a third who taught a course on Protest and Liberation Music. The Mosaic started at the end of July-August in South Africa; the 8 students then returned to campus for the fall and spent 3 weeks in Mississippi in November. (Faculty represented History and Music; coursework counted in History, Music, Africana Studies, Sociology, Anthropology, American Studies).
Luce Environmental Semester (Water-Based Integrated Field Semester: fall 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009.) In 2004 The Environmental Studies Department at Dickinson College was awarded a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to develop a single interdisciplinary, integrated course, for the equivalent of a student's normal 4-course load. This initiative combines classroom activities, community-based fieldwork research, independent study, and extensive travel and immersion in two comparative watershed regions: the Chesapeake Bay and the lower Mississippi River Basin. Offered during the fall semesters of 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2009 to 15-21 Dickinson students, the course work focuses on aquatic science, environmental justice, coastal geomorphology, resource-dependent communities, and environmental policy and management. One of the main goals of the course is to connect students with affected communities, building on relationships already established through the ALLARM program, and by having students do research projects related to the communities' needs.
One-Course, Globally Integrated Mosaics with Winterim Research Trip (students pay a comprehensive program fee that covers expenses; financial aid available)
The Patagonia Mosaics (2001, 2003, 2005) examined trans-Atlantic migration, ethnic and labor relations, and community development among various ethnic groups in Comodoro Rivadavia, Argentina and the oil company towns surrounding it. Twelve students and two core faculty worked in multi-lingual research teams to examine and archive documents and photos, and conduct video-taped oral history interviews with people who lived and worked in the oil company towns owned and managed by the German, British, Dutch, and later Argentine State. The project also focused on more recent (im)migration to the area, and from neighboring countries and the NW of Argentina. One course Mosaic starting at the beginning of January and running though the spring semester (Faculty: History, Sociology; coursework counted in Latin American Studies, History, Sociology, Spanish, Anthropology, American Studies)
The Venezuelan Mosaic (2007) provided a group of 19 Dickinson students both the historical background and a hands-on exposure to the new model of participatory democracy, endogenous development, and regional integration that is developing in Venezuela today. The course, “Venezuela: Democracy, Development, and the Bolivarian Revolution” focused on social issues, including poverty, education, health care, and empowerment. Readings, lectures, and films during a 1/2 credit course in the fall semester 2006 prepared students to do their own research projects in Venezuela during January 2007. In Venezuela, the students engaged in field work, oral history, and video documentary projects. To complete the second 1/2 credit course in the spring 2007, students returned to campus to integrate, analyze, and present their research (co-taught by an economist and sociologist; coursework counted in Economics, International Studies, International Business and Management, Latin American Studies, Spanish, Sociology, and Anthropology). In 2008-2009, using a similar model, the course focused on “Sustainable Agro-Ecosystems and Cooperative Movements in both Venezuela and the United States.” Thirteen students conducted comparative research that linked Dickinson College’s Organic Farm with La Alianza, a 30-year-old organic farm and food cooperative in Monte Carmelo, Venezuela. The intercambio included seed exchanges, and sharing of solar water heating installations and vermiculture techniques. (Co-taught by the Director of the Organic Farm who teaches Sustainable Agriculture and a sociologist; coursework counted in Environmental Studies, Sociology, Anthropology, and Latin American Studies). Total of one course credit with ½ credit in fall and ½ credit for winterim into spring course.
Two Course Clusters and globally integrated winterim trip:The 2005 Montserrat Mosaic, focused on individual and collective trauma and the geology of cataclysmic events. Volcanic activity has devastated parts of the island and dislocated one-third of the island’s population. This Mosaic involved a (two-course cluster that began with a globally integrated research field study on the island of Montserrat in January. The 16 students and two faculty then returned to campus to complete coursework in Geology (a lab science) and sociology (for a total of 30 course credits). (Faculty: Geology and Sociology).
Jewish Immigration to Argentina: An Oral History Project represents yet another variation of a two-course cluster whereby students take one course taught in the fall (this course, the Ethnography of Jewish Experience is cross-listed in Judaic Studies, Religion, and Sociology and is open to all students), and Soc 313 a qualitative research methods course that is taught as a ½ course credit in the fall with a winterim research trip in January and ½ credit in spring that is only open to the Mosaic students who must be simultaneously enrolled in the Ethnography course. Supported in part by the Posen grant.
Funding: The majority of Mosaics have been funded, at least in part, by external grants, including Hewlett, FIPSE, Mellon, Luce, and Posen. More recent ones have relied more heavily on student program fees. Global Mosaics are potentially expensive so it is important to consider funding opportunities that can help defray costs. The Director of CSC, currently Susan Rose (firstname.lastname@example.org), as well as the Office of Global Education (email@example.com) is willing to consult at any stage with faculty who are interested in considering organizing a Mosaic.
List of faculty who have been involved in teaching the Mosaics:
Chuck Barone (Economics)
Sharon O’Brien (American Studies and English)
Susan Rose (Sociology, 9)
Kim Rogers (History, 2)
Tyra Seldon (English)
Kjell Enge (Anthropology, 2)
John Bloom (American Studies)
Marcelo Borges (History, 4)
Dan Schubert (Sociology)
Ben Edwards (Geology)
Candie Wilderman (Environmental Science and Envi Studies – Luce Watershed 4)
Mike Heiman (Envrionmental Science and Envi Studies – Luce Watershed 4)
Jim Ellison (Anthropology 3)
Kate McGurn (Anthropology)
John Osborne (History 2)
Jeremy Ball (History)
Amy Wlordarski (Music)
Karen Weinstein (Anthropology)
Sinan Koont (Economics 2)
Jenn Halpin (Organic Farm and Envi Studies)
Shalom Staub (Religion, Judaic Studies 2)