Listening to Yourself, Others, and the Community


Fall 2021

Meeting details TBA

Society has trended towards individualism in recent decades, and with that comes the challenge of effectively connecting with others in a way that is meaningful and effective. Especially with the current events pushing people apart further, connecting with others is very important. Perhaps the best way to accomplish that is by learning how to listen, which itself is a multifaceted and complex topic. We approach this idea in three directions, each aiming to tackle a different aspect of what it means to be an active listener. First, we look at listening to ourselves and understanding how to reflect on our lives and experiences in a meaningful and clear way through discussion and answering thought-provoking questions. By understanding ourselves, we can better understand others. We then transition into understanding the voices of those in our community, focusing on the narratives of various minority groups. We will pick through their stories and learn about the conflicts and tensions that have defined the lives of others through discussion and debate. Finally, we take what we have learnt thus far and apply it to a one-on-one setting, focusing on the older adult population. Students will be matched with a member in a nursing center (or grandparent, if not willing to participate in the project), and learn how to write a personal history, focusing on how to conduct a meaningful interview via zoom and elicit the memories needed to write a compelling narrative. The final day of class will be dedicated to sharing these narratives and delivering them to the residents. We hope that through this course, students can appreciate what it means to actively listen, look at the narratives of others in a new light, and utilize the skills they have developed in their future endeavors.

  • Anil Prasad,
  • Sona Suryadevara,
  • Gene Moon,
  • James Moody, Sociology
Class Limit