The Twin Cities Neighborhood Project is an effort by undergraduate students studying intercultural communication at the University of Minnesota to better understand the cultural complexity of some of the over 28 distinct neighborhoods that comprise the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. We are a group of 12 undergraduate students, many of us communication studies majors, plus one intrepid course instructor, a PhD student in the Department of Communication Studies. Over the course of the May term (May 21-June 8, 2012), working in pairs, we will be weighing in on the history and cultural context of six different neighborhoods in the Twin Cities area.
We hope to get to know these neighborhoods inside and out through careful research, by spending some time in these areas, and through conversations with residents, business owners, and other local leaders. Our goal is to take the study of intercultural communication to the local level, to understand how cultural diversity — understood broadly in terms of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identification, immigration status, age, occupation, educational background, interests, etc. — within a city (or two “twin” cities) can present both opportunities and challenges for communication.
We bring a sincere desire to:
- map how cities allow us to witness intercultural communication on the local level,
- understand how space is constructed and boundaries are demarcated that inevitably privilege some and not others,
- think critically about how culture, communication, power, identity, history, and context interact within cities,
- center voices from the communities and neighborhoods we are studying.
This blog will also serve as a home for discussion on themes including (but not limited to) intercultural transitions, space and race, the ethics of community-based research, “hidden histories”, identity formation, language, and cultural representation(s) in popular culture.
Our voices and our opinions are our own and are not in any way affiliated with the University of Minnesota or the Department of Communication Studies.
We hope that if you are reading this, you will join in the conversation.