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GISP Pitch!: “Problems of the World and What to Do About All of Them”

March 22, 2010

Title: The Problems of the World and What to Do About All of Them

Summary: You want to change the world, to improve it, to impact peoples’ lives. But what angle to take? Which world problem is the world problem? The more issues we are exposed to, the more difficult it seems to choose just one or two. The more we hear about, the more it all seems to be related. But isn’t focus the way to achieving meaningful change?…
   The goal of this class is to inspire people to pursue a broader and deeper understanding of the seemingly infinite number of problems our world faces and to see and seek the connections between all of them. While ignorance may be bliss, this is meant for people who are not content with that. We will research problems such as garbage, water, food, health, environment, war, inequality, education, all in a necessarily shallow manner, but focusing on their inherent interconnectedness. We aim to overwhelm and be overwhelmed. Our task will be to find and analyze those two feelings, work together to figure out how to move beyond them, and ultimately answer the questions of “what do I do about it all?” and “what should we do about them?”

Adviser: In the midst of contacting a number of professors including Timmons Roberts, Bianca Dahl (if she is staying next semester), and Leah Vanwey. Dan Smith (“So You Want to Change the World”) is on sabbatical but said he would consider being a Faculty Instructor if there were 2-3 other professors signed on as well.

Materials: An awesome mix of books, articles, TED Talks, movies, and other videos. 1/2 weekly meetings may be a dinner at the Swearer Center. The final project will/might be a group exhibition in List using pictures of spaces or cityscapes from around Providence as jumping off points to explain and highlight the many potential problems (and some solutions) represented.

Check out the Google Doc <http://docs.google.com/a/brown.edu/Doc?docid=0AVOzRFbaRcPHZHd6ZnRrZ183Z3M3czZnZ3o&hl=en>  for the full description.

Contact evan_schwartz@brown.edu if you’re interested.

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