University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

Contact Us:

Cheryl Ajirotutu
Associate Professor
Dept. of Anthropology &
Associate Director
Cultures & Communities Prog.
Phone: 414-229-2298/
Fax: 414-229-5848
Please place "New Orleans" in Subject Box

Monique Hassman
Project Assistant
Phone: 414-229-1159

UWM in New Orleans

When Hurricane Katrina struck the city of New Orleans in August 2005, UWM, joining many universities nationwide, mobilized to provide assistance. In the midst of this immediate response, however, there was recognition of two factors that called for a longer term, more sustained, response. First, the hurricane's devastation was so severe that it would take years, not months, for New Orleans to recover. Second, Katrina exposed racial and socioeconomic cleavages that challenge our sense of what it means to be living in America in the 21st century. These disparities are also felt in Milwaukee and in other U.S. cities, but in New Orleans, they are inescapably apparent, creating a powerful setting for teaching and learning about race and poverty.

At UWM, we have a unique opportunity to build a sustained response to a national disaster. The need is great, and the learning opportunities are unparalleled. As an urban university, we can organize our resources to support faculty in the areas of curricular development and collaborative research. Courses in New Orleans offer students a residency experience where students' classroom knowledge is augmented by real life understanding.

To date, we have five schools and colleges that offer students the opportunity to participate in a residency program in New Orleans. The five departments involved in this campus wide initiative are Anthropology, Architecture, Dance, Information Studies, and Social Work. In fall 2010, students enrolled in Prof. Harry Van Oudenallen and Prof. Ajirit Sen’s Arch. 600-800 Traveling Design Studio class, in the School of Architecture and Urban Planning, visited New Orleans Lower 9th Ward community for 10 days. Students interviewed residents and learned about the city's architectural styles. The thematic focus of this class is to design affordable buildings (housing, businesses, and churches) for the Lower 9th Ward community.

Winterim courses scheduled for January 2011 will be offered through the College of Letters and Science (Anthropology), Peck School of the Arts (Dance), the School of Information Studies (SOIS), and the Helen Bader School of Social Welfare (Social Work). Dr. Cheryl Ajirotutu will be offering two Anthropology courses, Professor Simone Ferro will be offering one Dance course, Social Work Liaison Wendy Volz Daniels will offer three social work courses, and Professor Amy Cooper Cary will offer one course (Archive & Manuscripts). Africology credit is available for the Anthropology course and Women’s Studies credit may be available with program approval.

All Winterim courses require residency in New Orleans and will have service learning placements in the Lower 9th Ward community.