A Nation of Joiners: Voluntarism and Social Movements in America

May 24, 2005

History 269
General Introduction
This course explores the history of voluntary activity as a means to social change. In addition to the assigned readings and regular class meetings, most students pursue concurrent service-learning placements in non-profit groups for 3-5 hours each week.

For most of the semester, until November 8, the class will meet to discuss general themes and developments in the emergence of a distinctive nonprofit sector, following, in particular:

• changing relationships between state and voluntary activities
• the role of religion in voluntarism and philanthropy
• shifting definitions of appropriate realms of “public” and “private” endeavors
• why, and in what ways, people become involved in voluntary associations
• tensions between idealism and coercion in association activities
• the “professionalization” of voluntarism

During the final weeks of the semester, beginning on November 15, students will meet in small groups each focusing on the history of a particular type of association, its activities and the social problems addressed by institutions in its category. Each group will, in consultation with the instructor, develop a bibliography, reading list, and reading assignments. These readings should work in conjunction with the research students undertake for their final papers. For preliminary scheduling purposes, the list below outlines six types of groups:

• arts and culture
• social services
• health
• education
• advocacy and legal services
• fraternities/sororities/membership organizations

Class Requirements and Expectations

I. Students will keep a regular “journal” that will

a. provide at least one paragraph responding to each of the readings assigned for the week; and
b. if applicable, describe the service learning activities undertaken at the placement that week.

Students should provide the instructor with one copy of the journal on the due dates noted in the syllabus; you can do this electronically by sending me e-mail, or bring my copy to class. All students should also bring a hard copy of their entry to class on the due date to use in class discussion.

II. Students will complete three “Critical Reflections” at least two pages in length. If you have a service learning placement, your reflection should analyze your work at the placement in relation to themes and issues relevant to nonprofit history; if you do not have a service learning placement, you should identify a piece of contemporary news that can serve as a focus for your reflection on nonprofit history. In either case, please remember to incorporate historical themes and issues. Because these reflections are consciously analytical, and because they make connections between readings as well as between readings and experience, they differ from your regular journal reports on readings and activities. These reflections are due:

• Friday, October 1
• Friday, November 5
• Friday, December 3 –See the special note below on this reflection

For those who have a service learning placement, the Critical Reflection due December 3 should include (1) your analysis of the degree to which the service placement was successful, and your thinking about the reasons for success/failure, and (2) an assessment of your own performance at the placement; were you reliable, helpful, cooperative, well-informed well-mentored, etc.? I expect the final reflection for a student with a service learning placement to be 3- 5 pages in length; students without placements may wish to use the final reflection to think synthetically about the readings for the course.

III. The final paper for the course will be a paper, 8-12 pages double spaced, with at least 10 sources (primary and secondary) identified. Students may choose either option A or B:

Option A: Write a selective and analytic history of the organization in which you are pursuing your service-learning placement. Your history should be useful to those doing long-range planning for the organization.

Make sure to include:

• a description of the origins of this nonprofit group
• a description of the present mission, comparing it to the original mission of the nonprofit
• a description of the structure of organization, how the organization evolved; who does the work? who gets paid? how is board/supervisory committee chosen?
• a description of the funding of organization; how it was funded in the past? Does it appear that there will be important changes in the future? This information can be integrated into the paper, or can be placed in an introductory section, about 3 pages in length.

For purposes of this course, you should focus your paper on questions about the historical context for your organization. Place the development of the organization in framework that describes and analyzes the emergence of nonprofits in the area in which this organization works, and identify how conditions in which it is working have changed. You will probably want to consider:

• What is unique or special about the organization? What is “typical”?
• What achievements are most notable?
• What elements of the history of the organization are especially important in planning the organization’s future? Remember, your history should be analytical; that is, you should go beyond description to explanation and exploration.

Option B: Write a history of an issue, program, or concept central to the mission of the organization with which you work, or in which you are interested. Issues can be broad or narrow, but must be framed as presenting useful information to the organization with which you have been working. Examples might include: reviewing the history of supplementary food assistance programs in relation to the work of a local food bank; or the history of the National Endowment for the Humanities and its work in history in relation to local historical societies.

You should carefully develop an historically oriented bibliography addressing your topic in the context of the themes discussed in the course, or other issues developed in consultation with the instructor. Your project must go beyond description and chronology to analysis. If you choose Option B, you must make an appointment with me to talk about your topic and focus. I also invite you to submit an outline of your project, or a draft. Please submit your materials in advance and then give me enough time to review your materials carefully before we meet; this will help us both make the best use of our time together. You must schedule your meeting by Friday, October 15. Please note that I will be out of town October 11- 12.

Your choice of topic must also be approved by your organization supervisor if you have a placement.

If you choose Option B and have worked in a service-learning placement, you must also submit, with your final paper, a short report about your organization which includes the following:

• a description of the origins of this nonprofit group
• a description of the present mission, comparing it to the original mission of the nonprofit
• a description of the structure of organization, how the organization evolved; who does the work? who gets paid? how is board/supervisory committee chosen?
• a description of the funding of organization; how it was funded in the past? Does it appear that there will be important changes in the future?

I expect all final papers to include citations to primary and secondary sources, and a bibliography of sources consulted. Guidelines for citations will be provided.

All papers are due on Thursday, December 16, 1999. Late papers will not be accepted without an official incomplete.

Service Learning Option
Students who take this course for four credit hours are required to participate in a service learning placement for 3-5 hours each week. For those who choose the service learning option, the service experience will be an important “text” to be studied, analyzed and discussed in class in order to learn more about nonprofit and voluntary organizations. Service learning draws on your work for an organization to enrich your learning by locating your work in service as a part of a cycle of study, action and reflection.

Placements for this course should benefit both the organization and the student: students should have the opportunity to learn about the structure, function, and history of their placement; and organizations should have responsible, dependable, truly useful and engaged volunteers. The “Guidelines for Mutual Responsibility” at the end of this syllabus further describe the expectations of reciprocity.

Students who choose the service learning option may work with one of the many organizations with whom the Shouse Program and the Center for Service and Learning has already established contact. Information about these organizations has been collected in a notebook that is available from me, or from the course assistant Rebecca Swartz. There is also a copy of the notebook in the Reserve Room of the Library as part of the reserve materials for the course. Students who may want to make arrangements with other organizations must consult with me, or with Rebecca. You may contact Rebecca via her e-mail or by phone. Just a reminder: all placements must be with nonprofit organizations.

Placement sponsors will be asked to fill out a brief mid-term evaluation to be sent to me. They will also be asked to provide feedback at the end of the semester.

The partnering of students with organizations must be completed by Wednesday, September 22.

Students may choose to take this course for three credit hours without making a commitment to a service learning placement.

Grading is an art, not a science, especially in the first iteration of a course. I am will be applying a 200-point scale for grading this course, with point assignments as follows:

Each of the 10 weekly journal entries can potentially earn up to 5 points; journal entries will be penalized for lateness or for inadequacy. Students will also be penalized if they miss class without a reasonable excuse. Total possible points: 50

Each of the 3 reflection papers can earn up to 20 points. Reflection papers should include direct reference to readings, lectures, and, if applicable, placement experiences. Please refer to the special instructions above for your final reflection paper. Papers will be penalized for lateness or for inadequacy. Students will also be penalized if they miss their scheduled placement without reasonable excuse. Total possible points: 60

The Small Group Reading Suggestions, which should consist of 2 or 3 annotated possibilities, can earn up to 10 points. Total Possible Points: 10

The final paper will be a research oriented piece of written work, 8-12 pages in length. Topics for papers must be submitted by October 13, with approval and consultation to follow. The final paper evaluated both for its writing and its content. Papers will be penalized if students have been late in choosing their topics. Late papers will be Total possible points: 60 accepted only if accompanied by an “official” incomplete. All students will also make a brief oral presentation of their work (no more than 10 minutes). The written paper can earn up to 40 points, and the oral 1presentation can earn up to 20 points. Total possible points: 60.

Improvement over the course of the semester, good will or other positive contributions to the class are encouraged .Total possible points: 20

Please note: no student will receive a passing grade for the course unless all written work has been submitted.

Books to buy (available in the Co-op Bookstore)
Lester Salamon, America’s Nonprofit Sector: A Primer (Second Edition)
Robert H. Bremner, American Philanthropy
Frances Fox Piven and Richard Cloward, Poor People’s Movements
Michael Katz, In the Shadow of the Poorhouse

Schedule of Classes

Please note that many of the readings listed are given as citations to materials available on the World Wide Web. I recommend that you print these materials so that you can bring your annotated copy of the material to class for discussion. This Schedule Of Classes includes revisions made to November and December

Wednesday, September 8
Introduction: Voluntarism, Social Movements and the Nonprofit World: Studying the Origins of the “Third Sector”

Service Learning: Theory and Mechanics
In addition to an introduction to the class, students will begin the process of choosing their service-learning placement. Please be sure to consult the organization reference notebooks. If you already have contacts with another group at which you would like to be placed, please make an appointment to see me as soon as possible to determine the viability of the placement. Please try to begin your placement by Wednesday, September 15 You must conclude your placement arrangements by Wednesday, September 22.

Monday, September 13
Class: Voluntarism, Nonprofits, and “Bowling Alone”: The “Independent Sector” and Civic Engagement Today

• Lester Salamon, America’s Nonprofit Sector: A Primer, pp. 1-47
• Robert D. Putnam, “Bowling Alone: America’s Declining Social Capital ” or
• Robert D. Putnam, “The Strange Disappearance of Civic America”
Theda Skocpol, “The Tocqueville Problem: Civic Engagement in American Democracy, ” Social Science History 21 (Winter 1997):455-479 (on reserve) or
Nicholas Lemann, “Kicking in Groups”
Optional: you may want to look at Lester Salamon, “Holding the Center: America’s Nonprofit Sector at a Crossroads ”

Journal #1 Due

Wednesday, September 15
Class: Getting to Tocqueville: the Origins of the Voluntary Sector: Church, Charity and “the State” in Colonial America

• Robert H. Bremner, American Philanthropy, pp. 1-39
• Statute of Charitable Uses (handout)
• John Winthrop, “A Model of Christian Charity, ” or “A Model of Christian Charity” or hard copy in Brian O’Connell, ed., America’s Voluntary Spirit:, pp. 29-34 (on reserve)

Monday, September 20 NO CLASS: YOM KIPPUR

Wednesday, September 22
Class: Tocqueville, Voluntary Associations and the New Republic

Robert H. Bremner, American Philanthropy, pp. 40-54
Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America. Please print and read ALL THREE of the following chapters (or, if you wish, buy a copy of Volume II of Democracy in America)
• “Of the Use Which Americans Make of Public Associations in Civil Life,” Volume II, Book II, Chapter V
• “Connexion of Civil and Political Associations: ” Volume II, Book II: Chapter VII
• “The Americans Combat Individualism by the Principles of Interest Rightly understood.” Volume A Book II, Chapter VIII.

Remember that TODAY is the deadline for a confirmed service learning placement.
journal #2 Due

Monday, September 27
The “Benevolent Empire” in Antebellum America: Men and Women Confront Sin and Slavery

• Robert H. Bremner, American Philanthropy, pp.55-71
• “What Was the Appeal of Moral Reform to Northern Women?”
• First Annual Report of the Female Moral Reform Society of the City of New York (1835)
• “The Importance of Petitions” (1838)

Wednesday, September 29
African American Organizations: Freedom and Beyond

Robert H. Bremner, American Philanthropy, pp. 72-84
James Horton, excerpt on reserve
W.E.B. DuBois, “The Freedman’s Bureau”
Booker T. Washington, “Raising Money”
Stephanie Shaw, “Black Club Women and the Creation of the National Association of Colored Women, pp.433-442 in Darlene Clark Hine and others, eds., “We Specialize in the Wholly Impossible”: A Reader in Black Women’s History (on reserve)

Journal #3 Due
Remember your Critical Reflection #1 is due on Friday, October 1

Monday, October 4
Industrialization, Immigration, and Urbanization: Defining the Objective Need

Robert H. Bremner, American Philanthropy, pp. 100-135 1
Jane Addams, “The Subjective Necessity for Social Settlements/The Objective Necessity for Social Settlements” (on reserve); also available on WWW. only “The Subjective Necessity for Social Settlements”

Wednesday, October 6
The Capitalist as Donor

• Andrew Carnegie, “The Gospel of Wealth”
• John D. Rockefeller, “The Difficult Art of Giving, ” photocopy on reserve
• Julius Rosenwald, “Principles of Public Giving, “photocopy on reserve

Journal #4 Due

Monday, October 11

Wednesday, October 13
Dependency and the State Before the Great Depression
Michael Katz, In the Shadow of the Poorhouse, Chapters 1-7
Journal #5 Due

Also remember that this is the deadline for consultation about alternatives to Paper Option A. If you intend to do Paper ,Option B, you must have an appointment with me scheduled by this date.

October 18-22 FALL BREAK WEEK

Monday, October 25
The Great Depression and the New Deal: Charity, Philanthropy and the State

Robert H. Bremner, American Philanthropy, pp. 136-176
Michael Katz, In the Shadow of the Poorhouse, Chapter 8

Wednesday October 27
Self Organization and the Great Depression

Frances Fox Piven and Richard A. Cloward, Poor People’s Movements, Chapters 1-3

Journal #6 Due

Monday, November 1
Civil Rights: The Voluntary Association as Mobilizer
Piven and Cloward, Poor People’s Movements, Chapter 4

Video: Eyes on the Prize: No Easy Walk

Wednesday, November 3
Foundations, Poverty and Civil Rights
• Bremner, American Philanthropy, Chapter 11, pp. 177-189
• Katz, In the Shadow of the Poorhouse, Chapter 9
Journal #7 Due

Monday, November 8
• Piven and Cloward, Poor People’s Movements, Chapter 5
• Katz, In the Shadow o the Poorhouse, Chapters 10-11

Wednesday, November 10
Special Guest Lecturer:Paul Bellamy: Foundations, CDCs and Community Organization
The Great Society and Welfare Rights: From Conflict to Collaboration
Journal #8 Due

Monday, November 15
Special Guest Lecture:David Love, Oberlin College Vice President for Sponsored Programs
“Foundations and Oberlin College”

Wednesday, November 17
Nonprofits in the Post Liberal Era: The Realignment of Foundations

• Bremner, American Philanthropy, Chapters 12 and 13′
• Peter Dobkin Hall, Inventing the Nonprofit Sector, pp. 13-113 (on reserve)
• Lester Salamon, America’s Nonprofit Sector (revised ed.), pp. 49-75

In addition, each student will be assigned to read and report on one of the following from Brian O’Connell, ed., America’s Voluntary Spirit:
John Gardner, “Private Initiative for the Public Good, ” pp. 255-262
Alan Pifer, “The Nongovernmental Organization at Bay, “pp. 263-276
Commission on Foundations and Private Philanthropy, “The Role of Private Philanthropy in a Changing Society, pp. 287-298
Commission on Private Philanthropy and Public Needs (“The Filer Commission “The Third Sector,” pp.299-314
Pablo Eisenberg, “The Voluntary Sector: Problems and Challenges,” pp. 315-330
Richard Cornuelle, “Reclaiming the American Dream, ” pp. 277-286

Assigned Reading:
Lester Salamon, America’s Nonprofit Sector (revised ed.), pp. 77-158; please read particularly carefully the section relating to your organization

Small Group Reading Suggestions Due: This will take the place of Journal #9 : each student should come prepared to propose at least three readings, and to describe the contribution they will make to the study of the history of the area of study.

Monday, November 22
Setting the Course: Reading Group Organization
Please come to class prepared to suggest at least one reading that you think will be crucial to your project

Due: In place of Journal #10, you must submit a full citation on a source you think is appropriate, and give the reasons you think it appropriate.

Wednesday, November 24
Consultation and work session

Monday, November 29
Special Assignment
Special Assigned Reading: Go to the Web Resources For the Study of Nonprofit organizations at the electronic syllabus just after the schedule of classes. Use the listed link’s to locate a website, or particular information within the website. The point of this assignment is to have you explore the utility of the web in doing research for and about nonprofit organizations. Be sure to comment on your web work in your journal this week.

We will discuss and share projects in class.
Due: please submit a short write up on your findings in place of a journal assignment.

Wednesday December 1
Discussion of Readings chosen on November 22
Remember your final Critical Reflection is Due Friday, December 3

Monday, December 6
Class Presentations

Wednesday, December 8
Class Presentations
Last Assignment
Your Final paper is due Thursday, DECEMBER 16

Web Resources For the Study of Nonprofit Organizations

The Center for the Study of Philanthropy at the City University of New York Graduate Center has extensive and very useful information. The site includes bibliography, a syllabus for a graduate level course on “Philanthropy in American History: The Elite Experience, 1880-1940,” a “Multicultural Philanthropy Curriculum Guide,” and other very useful materials. The web address: www.philanthropy.org

The Indiana University Center for the Study of Philanthropy: at www.tcop.org is also academically oriented. It is affiliated with the Joseph and Matthew Payton Philanthropic Studies Library at www.lib.iupui.edu/special/ppsl.html holds several thousand books about philanthropy and its role in societies over time, and other holdings philanthropy in its historical, religious, and social contexts.

The Program on Non-Profit Organizations (known as PONPO), is based at the Institution for Social and Policy Studies, Yale University. Its website, www.yale.edu/divinity/ponpo/, provides a sense of its program, but is less interesting overall.

The Internet Nonprofit Center at www.nonprofits.org will connect you to the INC Document Library as well as a host of resources on current organizations. Especially useful for historians are the bibliographies listed from the Library page.

The Nonprofit Resource Center at www.not-for-profit.org is, according to the site, “designed for managers, board members and volunteers of nonprofit and tax-exempt organizations, as well as people who are considering forming a nonprofit organization.” Especially useful is its discussion, “What is a Nonprofit Corporation?”

The Philanthropy Journal Online at www.pj.com is an excellent source of current news about philanthropy.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy, an important weekly, has a site at http://Philanthropy.com that has some of its articles.

The Foundation Center: Includes a very helpful reference library and a searchable database of books and articles on the history of nonprofit organizations: http:// www.fdncentgr.org. It also has a direct link to “Philanthropy News Digest.”

Service-learning placements are an integral part of History 269: “A Nation of Joiners: Voluntarism and Social Movements in America.” The placements should benefit both organizations and the students: students should have the opportunity to learn about the structure, function, and history of their placement; and organizations should have responsible, dependable, truly useful and engaged volunteers.

As explained in the section in the syllabus on the Service Learning Option, students in the course are expected to undertake a service-learning placement to which they will commit 3-5 hours per week. The instructor will supply information about a range of service-learning opportunities that have been reviewed in advance for their appropriateness. Students may suggest other placements, but placements must be approved by the instructor.

For more about service learning, see Susan J. McAleavey, “Service-Learning: Theory and Rationale.”

These Guidelines, both Part One and Part Two, are intended for use by students and organizations at the beginning of the placement. Together, student and organization should edit them as appropriate to the particular situation and relationship. We ask that individual at the organization who is the student’s primary contact and the student each sign and date both parts of a printed copy of the guidelines they develop together that each retain copies and that copies be provided to me, the instructor, as an appendix to the student’s first “Critical Reflection, ” due on October 1, 1999.

The agency should make a commitment to help the student understand the history, culture, purpose, and achievements of the organization. To help accomplish this, the agency should:

• provide student with access to non-confidential records of the organization (annual reports, grant reports, financial records)
• allow the student to meet executive staff, if any, or significant volunteers, board members, members of advisory councils, etc.

The agency should appoint a particular supervisor for the student. This supervisor should:

• provide an orientation for the student which includes an introduction to the policies, procedures and mission of the agency, as well as the staff,
• set overall goals with the student for his/her achievement during the semester;
• form a weekly schedule with the student
• monitor the student’s achievements, strengths, and areas which need improvement through (1) informal feedback on a regular basis (2) a brief mid-term evaluation (3) a brief final evaluation. Forms for these evaluations are available here,

The agency can expect that students will:

responsibly maintain the schedule established with the agency, and will be present when stated;
provide real assistance to the agency on projects and tasks mutually identified;
maintain appropriate confidentiality of agency materials.

Students and placements should be sure to discuss their expectations for Fall Break (October 18-22), Thanksgiving week, and the end of the semester.

The student should make a commitment to provide real assistance to the organization. The work to be accomplished by the student should be clearly defined and mutually acceptable. It may include general office support that is primarily “clerical” or could involve more specialized work, depending on skills of student and the needs of the organization.

The student should be responsible to a particular supervisor with whom the student will:

• set goals for achievement during the semester;
• form a weekly schedule, committing 4-6 hours per week;
• share the three “critical reflections” he/she writes about the service placement for the course.

The student will participate in an orientation to the organization, as structured by the supervisor; the student will endeavor to learn the policies, procedures and mission of the agency.

The student will make a commitment to:

• abide by the procedures of the organization;
• maintain politeness to staff, clients, and other individuals involved;
• maintain the schedule established in consultation with the organization;
• assure the confidentiality of appropriate organizational records.

School: Oberlin College
Professor: Carol Lasser
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