Abstract

This retrospective on service learning in the development of University Studies Capstones, the senior-level requirement in the University Studies general education program at Portland State University, explores how the original framers of University Studies anticipated the pitfalls of “pedagogies of whiteness” in deploying service learning as the hallmark pedagogical feature of the program; includes a case study of a Capstone course that centers on Indigenous ways of knowing, learning, and teaching through its pedagogy; and identifies the formative presence of Capstone faculty committed to anti-racist and anti-imperialist pedagogies. From a variety of institutional and disciplinary standpoints and through long association with the Capstone program, the authors move from an accounting of the historical founding of University Studies; through an up-close look at a present-day Capstone that explicitly operates from decolonizing/decolonized intentions, course content and pedagogical strategies, and student learning objectives; to a critically reflective consideration of a deeply consequential campus event related to race, racism, and “a knowledge that serves the city,” as the motto of Portland State holds.

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