Professor of Sociology at QCC-CUNY
“Green Grows in Queens:” A 5-Week Project for Introduction to Sociology (SOCY-101)
Queens is the country’s most diverse county, and New York City’s largest borough. Notably, it experienced concentrated development in the period 1915-1928, as both the subway expanded and the idea of “garden cities” grew in popularity. As a result, many Queens residents now live in neighborhoods that facilitate ethno-racial co-residence and provide a limited amount of outside space. This year, I’m planning to engage students in neighborhood-level studies of garden/green spaces in Queens. I envision these studies as photo-based essays that integrate historical and contemporary census data, immigration and ethno-racial studies, plant humanities search-discovery content, urban studies and public policy research, and readings on the sociology of space– all in an effort to frame the borough as an emplaced green, global microcosm. Concurrently, it is my hope that the project will help to: encourage students’ embrace of outside space (a long-established public health/education effort and a reflection of our impoverished indoor spaces); reframe our beleaguered borough as a site of growth, life, and community (a counterpoint to narratives of post-pandemic urban flight and decline); wear away at the juxtaposition of urban and rural spaces (a major divide in American politics); and deepen our collective interest in and work at the intersection of the environmental humanities and sociology.
Please check out Dr. Traver’s DOCUMENT, which contains links to readings and resources for this course-in-progress!