Radical Belonging

SEMN 132 Radical Belonging

Instructor: Jennifer Mills, Ph.D., LPC
Email: Jennifer.mills@kzoo.edu
School Address:
Psychology Department
Kalamazoo College
1200 Academy Street
Olds Upton, Psychology Suite
Kalamazoo, MI 49006
Office Hours: M,W,F 1:15-2:15; T 11-2 via Teams, by appointment.

Department: Psychology
Course Number: SEMN 132
Section #: 01
Semester: Fall 2022
Course Title: Radical Belonging
Meeting Time: M, W, F 11:55-1:10

HILL (Humanities Integrated Locational Learning) Class Clusters

In January of this year, Kalamazoo College received a three-year Mellon grant as part of a Humanities for All Times Initiative. This grant—entitled Humanities Integrated Locational Learning (HILL)—will consider how many of the major problems of our time can be analyzed through the lens of location and dislocation. From climate change to global migrations to mass incarceration, we face the challenge of developing a deeper understanding and hope that might come from addressing disruptions (physical, psychological, social, linguistic, spiritual, and more). To carry out the grant, HILL supports the formation of class clusters linked to specific places within and beyond Kalamazoo.

Our class is part of the Kalamazoo cluster that will consider home and belonging. In the spirit of the grant, courses will partner with Kalamazoo community organizations/members and with each other. The collaboration includes SEMN 132 – Radical Belonging, SEMN 163 – About Us: Disability Stories/Disability Rights, SEMN 182 – Wheels of Change, ENGL 155 – Identities: Home and Belonging, CES 240 (Critical Ethnic Studies) – Language: The Colonial and Imperial Difference, and SEMN 495 – Finding a Home in the World. Instructors for each course will
communicate how and when they will collaborate throughout the term.

When considering the effects of location and dislocation, we understand that these concepts impact students who, for any number of reasons, may feel displaced or out of place on a college campus. The project, then, aims to help construct a space of home on and off campus. By erasing the distinction between the classroom space and “real world,” we seek to embrace how ways of learning within the humanities can facilitate a space to think about and create collective futures.

Course Description

Belonging is a core human need that shapes well-being, enables flourishing, positive development and health. Currently, there is a crisis of belonging in the United States. National Surveys of youth and adults in the U.S. have found record setting levels of loneliness, low levels of social cohesion, and a decreased sense of belonging. reveals Belonging is shaped by cultural factors including race, sexual identity, disability, gender, place, neurodivergence, and age.

To better understand the habitats that generate belonging, the communal and cultural forces that enhance or constrain the experience of belonging we will interrogate what it means to belong to yourself, to community and to the larger world.

We will conduct interviews with community groups in Kalamazoo to better understand how these groups think about and generate belonging. Finally, using interviews with community groups, students will work with The Center for New Media (Kalamazoo College) and The Center for Public Media (Downtown Kalamazoo) to develop a podcast on belonging. This year we will interview the following groups:

Urban Alliance: Group Violence Intervention (GVI)
This is a group made up of past perpetrators of gun violence who now work with people who are, or are at risk, to commit acts of gun violence. They will tell you that trauma and belonging have a lot to do with their work.
Group Violence Intervention
Mike Wilder
Unlikely relationships forge in battle to end gun violence in Kalamazoo – mlive.com

Kalamazoo Collective Housing
This housing co-op group has group houses with specific themes. I know they have one that is for Queer individuals. I think they recently opened another house with a theme too, though I can’t remember what it is. It could be cool to talk about belonging with people who live in a house surrounded by people with the same values.

International students at WMU

Artbor Community Connections Center
Shawntell Lindsey: Community Leader. She started a small org called “The Arbor” which is there to help meet the needs of individuals in the Northside of Kalamazoo. Community is a big part of what she does.
Contact Shawntell Lindsey
What is the Artbor Community Connections Center?

Assigned Reading

All readings are posted on Moodle and listed in the course planning document.

Learning Objectives

The learner will be able to:

  1. Identify the core psychological and sociological principles that establish a person’s sense of belonging or not belonging.
  2. Will understand the conditions that lead to a sense of inner home.
  3. Will be able to explain the role of identity in community and how this shapes belonging.
  4. Will be able to identify the features of neighborhoods and social spaces that generate belonging.
  5. Will be able to clearly identify the intersection of the personal, scientific and real-world understanding belonging.
  6. Will be able to critique dominant ways of being that currently inform our ideas aboutbelonging.
  7. Will be able to discuss how oppression intersects with belonging.
  8. Can use 3-4 new technology tools to present ideas (podcasting, infographics)
  9. Collaborates on a Team of individuals to produce a podcast.
  10. Cultivates professionalism in both online and in person spaces.

Professional Competencies

  1. Communicates professionally via email and in person.
  2. Contributes and enhances collaborative environments.
  3. Demonstrates professionalism during interviews and presentations.
  4. Demonstrates facility with using and collaborating in online environments
    including Moodle, OneDrive, Excel, Word, Google Docs.

Please review the following rules on conducting yourself professionally online: Netiquette.

Inclusive Learning Environment

I strive to make the classroom a place where everyone can learn. Oppression and privilege shape the learning environment and I will do my best to make reduce the impact of these structural forces on our learning environment. If there is ANYTHING that I am doing that reproduces the harm PLEASE let me know. This classroom is also a place where I strive to attend to what we now call neurodivergence. If there is anything that I could do that would make your learning experience better let’s have a conversation.

Accessibility and Accommodations

Students with Disabilities

I strive to accommodate all learning needs in this class. This includes students with documented learning differences as well as those who might be without official documentation. It is helpful to officially register your documented learning difference or mental health need with the office of disability services which is located here.

If you think you might benefit from accommodations but have not yet received official documentation you can talk to me about what might help or talk with the appropriate provider. Our counseling office is available to help with these types of issues and they can be contacted here.

Kalamazoo College provides reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities. It is the student’s responsibility to contact the office of the Dean of Students [337-7209] in a timely manner to arrange for appropriate accommodations.

Cultural/Religious Holidays

Kalamazoo College provides reasonable accommodations for observing religious or cultural holidays. Students can be excused from class to participate in these religious/cultural activities, but they will be responsible for getting all assignments and turning in course work. It is the student’s responsibility to contact the faculty member in a timely manner to arrange for appropriate accommodations.

Student Athletes

Student athletes who have university permission to miss classes or tests need to inform the instructor before they miss the assignment.

Honor System

This course will operate in accordance with the Kalamazoo College Honor System: a responsibility for personal behavior, independent thought, respect for others, and environmental responsibility. Students who are caught cheating or plagiarizing will receive a zero for that assignment, will be referred to Student Services, and may fail the class. Students who download papers or any information from the Internet without citing the source may receive an F in this course.


70% of life is showing up and engaging. The course has been designed to give you credit for attending class. If you miss more than two classes you will receive ½ letter grade deduction. If you miss four or more classes you should consider withdrawing. If you are in the middle of a family, medical or mental health crisis please let me know so that we can find a compassionate solution.

Assignments Overview

Individual Assignments

Pecha Kucha Presentation10 points9/16
Paper #1: Belonging to Self35 points9/26
Paper #2: Community and Belonging35 points10/12
Paper #3: Research on Belonging35 points10/24
Weekly Worksheet for reading70 points (10 per week/7 weeks)
Weekly Check your knowledge Quiz #135 points (5 points per week/7wks)Weeks 2-8
Group work participation80 points/10 per weekTakes place on Fridays
Peer Evaluation for group work25 pointsWeek 10

Group Assignments

How to create a Podcast
Group Pecha Kucha
20 points9/30
Conducting Academic Research50 points10/21
Consensus Paper100 points11/4
Podcast Script/Storyboard40 points10/31
Podcast100 points11/7
Group Presentation50 pointsWeek 9 and 10


It is possible to earn a total of 685 points this term. The scale below is slightly different from typical scales so please note the difference. This course is weighted more heavily toward the final group projects. This has been constructed intentionally so that you can get more credit for learning as you go. The quizzes are designed to give you an opportunity to test your knowledge on the weekly topic.

Letter GradePointsPercentage

Pecha Kucha/Individual (10 points 2% of final grade)

Using the Pecha Kucha format create a brief presentation on how and when you have felt a sense of belonging.

Individual Paper Format (35 points per paper/ 105 points total) 15% of final grade

  1. 3 pages double spaced, 12pt font, Times New Roman Font, 1-inch margins.
  2. Header with first and last name, paper #, and date
  3. Footer with page numbers
  4. Include APA cited references on fourth page.
  5. Submitted on Moodle assignments tab by 11:59pm on due date.

Consensus Paper (100 points 15% of final grade)

For this consensus paper you will work with your group to create a 3-4 page paper that synthesizes the ideas you found most interesting or salient from your previous papers.

  1. 3 pages double spaces, 12 pt. font, Times New Roman Font, 1-inch margins.
  2. Header with Group #, names of everyone in the group that contributed, consensus
    paper #, and date.
  3. Footer with page numbers
  4. APA references on fourth page
  5. Submitted on Moodle assignments tab by 11:59 pm on due date

Pecha Kucha /Group (20 points 3% of final grade)

Create a Pecha Kucha on how to create a podcast with your group.

Conducting Research (50 points 7% of final grade)

You will use what you learned in Beyond google to find one academic paper on belonging. You will, create a reference list for each paper your group found with an annotated bibliography for each article. Submit as one document for the group (each group will have four people so you will turn in an annotated bibliography for four articles). Articles should meet the standards covered in the Beyond google workshop and follow APA style for annotated bibliographies.

Podcast Script (40 points. 6% of final grade)

Podcast (100 points 15% of final grade)

Group Presentation (50 points 7% of final grade)

Using any format you wish deliver a 30 minute presentation on what you learned about belonging this term.

Peer Evaluation (25 points 4% of final grade)

You will be doing a considerable amount of group work this term. Ongoing participation in your group is an important part of you grade this term. Your classmates will be asked to evaluate your contributions and will assign you a score based on your participation in the group work. Peer Evaluation (80 points) of your group will take place in week 10. In addition, you will evaluate one other groups podcast and ask them questions about their presentation. This will take place in weeks 9 and 10. I will give you an evaluation rubric for the podcast you listen to (another groups podcast, not your own) to use and submit (10 points).

How We Roll

Experience, reflect, connect, apply

Learning Theory Principles: Activate retrieval!

Use the table below to write down your group # and group members name and contact info.

Group #