The nature of capitalism in its neoliberal form is decreasing higher education’s exclusive
domain of knowledge production by exposing students to and exploiting local knowledge
production. This has created a paradox. Experiential learning is being supported as
‘academic’ because students learn skills, values and perspectives by engaging in communities
of practice. Through community service learning and social justice oriented internships, students
learn about emancipatory social movements while simultaneously providing their intellectual
capital. Urban Semester Program students participate in the movement for affordable
housing, with its origins in post-war Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where many Puerto Ricans settled.
Engaged in a struggle against displacement, for self-determination and developing community
sustainability by advocating and winning low and moderate income housing, residents
are determined to remain in their neighbourhood. Students are engaged in this struggle and
connect this exposure to their internships, and the globalising world economy, the role of the
state, and corporate power.
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