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Research Articles

Vol. 25 No. 4

Transforming Identities: Theorizing Place(s) and Space(s) in Community Engagement Pedagogy

April 2, 2020


While rightly focusing on relationships and partnerships, community engagement scholars sometimes ignore the powerful ways learning may be impacted by mundane places like public schools, parks, and community centers and the ways spaces are imbued with emotions, power, and history. This piece argues that community engagement faculty must make the physical places and liminal spaces of our community partnerships purposeful parts of our curriculum. Using a Writing in the Community course as a case study, the article analyzes undergraduate reflections, then theorizes important differences between place and space and offers a critical lens—via feminist geography—for community-engaged teachers to consider the places and spaces in which they partner and ways those locations impact identities inhabited by students and by community partners. Finally, I offer reflection questions for faculty, students, and community partners intended to position temporal and emotional locations at the heart of community-engaged curriculum.