Milmon F. Harrison, Ph.D. (Sociology) is an interdisciplinary scholar whose work focuses on the experience of people of African descent in the context of the continental United States. Using qualitative and digital humanities-based approaches, his work engages questions of race, religion, public policy, socioeconomic and geographic mobility, and the telling of stories about all of the above. He is the author of the book Righteous Riches: the Word of Faith Movement in Contemporary African American Religion (Oxford), the first book-long scholarly treatment of the Prosperity Gospel Movement in the United States. His latest book project is titled “The Sunset Limited: California Stories of the Great Black Migration, 1940s-1970s.” He is an Associate Professor in the Department of African American and African Studies.
"California Listens:” Reflections On the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Community Service Through Public Storytelling
The essay is a critical reflection on a service-learning experience involving community-based storytelling and listening as a form of public service. As an instructor, I sought a greater degree of integration between teaching, community engagement, and my own research agenda. I contend that all of these interests were served through my class becoming part of a larger partnership in service to the people of California. The essay is organized around the following themes: (1) background and preparation for the experience; (2) the actual experience of being in the field; (3) and outcomes and assessments (the students’ and mine) of the overall experience. It offers insights that might prove useful for others seeking to do this type of work, especially if they are transitioning from a more traditional pedagogical approach to service-learning. This reflection also presents some unexpected insights that emerged from having offered this powerful educational experience to students.