By ERIC HARTMAN
What is it all about? Why engage in service-learning and place-based education—if not to improve ourselves and to improve the world around us? This question—how do individuals fit within and contribute to broader community?—has been driving liberal education, community education, and philosophy for quite literally hundreds of years. As many of the most interesting community development solutions and educational methodologies that exist today are profoundly place-based and culturally and temporally-specific, is there anything that unites us?
The question presses harder as travel and communication become more affordable. We have the opportunity to engage in cooperative and community-based development efforts that span countries, civil societies, and citizenships. Locally, our cities and now towns are increasingly diverse. We may walk through several ways of being and knowing just on the way to the store. In our contemporary moment, conscious of the many harms done by universalizing logics and civilizing mandates throughout history, we must be able to imagine at least a tentative answer. We must be able to point, albeit loosely, the direction we’re headed. read entire article