Dr. Kathleen Maas Weigert (Spring 2002)
The Department of Sociology and Anthropology welcomes Kathleen Maas Weigert joining the faculty on a joint appointment as Research Professor for the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and the Program on Justice and Peace. Professor Weigert came to the University as first director of Georgetown University’s Center for Social Justice Research, Teaching and Service in January 2001. The Center plays important roles in the Georgetown University community and the DC area at large. It continues to advance the service work that has been supported at Georgetown through the office of Volunteer and Public Service (now part of the Center) since 1978. It also helps faculty integrate community-based work and service into their classroom activities. And in its newest arena it serves as a catalyst to support community-based research projects.
Kathleen Maas Weigert’s teaching here at Georgetown draws on her work in social justice and peace and her role as the Director of the Center for Social Justice Research, Teaching and Service. The course she taught spring semester 2001-2002, “Confronting Homelessness in America,” is a new course here at Georgetown. It’s a course taught at the “perfect place,” she says, since Washington DC does have a large homeless population. It poses some fundamental questions about homelessness in America, such as “Who are homeless people in the United States?”, “Why are they homeless?”, “What is being done to address the issues of homelessness,” and examines them from a variety of perspectives --- sociological, historical, journalistic, and ethical. The course is shaped around student-led discussions, interaction with resource personnel from the community, and participation in an experiential learning opportunity at an agency that provides services to homeless people. Students may opt for a semester-long, community-based learning project.
Dr. Weigert’s teaching, indeed, promotes the Center’s core values expressed in its mission statement: “In order to advance justice and the common good, the Center promotes and integrates community-based research, teaching and service by collaborating with diverse partners and communities.”
Her current research project is a co-edited book on people, principles and practices of the Catholic social tradition. The book explores how the Catholic social justice tradition is related to community efforts at social change. There are both theoretical pieces and case studies based on community projects in eight different places around the country; it also includes a case study of the “anti-sweatshop” work on college campuses.
Dr. Weigert’s future research plans include projects on the pedagogies of peace and justice as well as student involvement in social change.