cover of book

Rewriting Partnerships: Community Perspectives on Community-Based Learning
by Rachael W. Shah
Utah State University Press, 2020
eISBN: 978-1-60732-960-2 | Paper: 978-1-60732-959-6
Library of Congress Classification LC1036
Dewey Decimal Classification 371.19


Winner of the IARSLCE 2021 Publication of the Year Award and the Coalition for Community Writing Outstanding Book Award.

Community members are rarely tapped for their insights on engaged teaching and research, but without these perspectives, it is difficult to create ethical and effective practices. Rewriting Partnerships calls for a radical reorientation to the knowledges of community partners. Emphasizing the voices of community members themselves—the adult literacy learners, secondary students, and youth activists who work with college students—the book introduces Critical Community-Based Epistemologies, a deeply practical approach to knowledge construction that centers the perspectives of marginalized participants.
Drawing on interviews with over eighty community members, Rewriting Partnerships features community knowledges in three common types of community-engaged learning: youth working with college students in a writing exchange program, nonprofit staff who serve as clients for student projects, and community members who work with graduate students. Interviewees from each type of partnership offer practical strategies for creating more ethical collaborations, including how programs are built, how projects are introduced to partners, and how graduate students are educated. The book also explores three approaches to partnership design that create space for community voices at the structural level: advisory boards, participatory evaluation, and community grading.
Immediately applicable to teachers, researchers, community partners, and administrators involved in community engagement, Rewriting Partnerships offers concrete strategies for creating more community-responsive partnerships at the classroom level as well as at the level of program and research design. But most provocatively, the book challenges common assumptions about who can create knowledge about community-based learning, demonstrating that community partners have the potential to contribute significantly to community engagement scholarship and program decision-making.

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