Sociology of New York City with Professor Zhandarka Kurti
In Fall 2018, students at Wallkill Correctional Facility took a course on the Sociology of New York City. The course curriculum was designed by Professor Zhandarka Kurti with PEP students in mind; over 80% of our students come from the five boroughs that comprise New York City. The course materials focused on the social, political and economic transformations of New York City from the early 1800’s until the present moment. The class touched on topics relating to industrialization, race and class relations, consumption and labor patterns, migration and gentrification.
Halfway during the semester, two of the students received early release and returned home to New York City. They worked together with Professor Kurti to finish the course at NYU. Prof. Kurti supplemented the course materials with field trips to local museums such as the “Black Power” exhibit at the Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture, “Sweatshop Workers Tour” at the Tenement Museum, “Down these Mean Streets” exhibit at Museo del Barrio, and“New York at Its Core” at Museum of the City of New York. These visits allowed students to connect related class readings with students’ lived experience. This is the first time that PEP has designed a course curriculum that directly engages them outside of the classroom. We hope to offer this course again in the near future!