Transforming Cities: Cities and Social Justice Mini Course

Friday, October 22, 2021 - 5:00pm to Sunday, October 24, 2021 - 1:00pm
Synchronous Zoom Sessions (Links Posted on Canvas)

Due to economic development and globalization, cities continue to grow with predictions that 70% of the world’s population will live in urban areas by the year 2050. This course, then, will view cities as hubs where patterns, connections, discussions, and the processes shape such issues as social justice, economic development, technology, migration, the environment among others. By examining cities as a lens, this sequence of weekend courses encourages students to examine cities as a system for discussing social processes being built and rebuilt. With an interdisciplinary focus, the course invites experts from the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon, and relevant fields more broadly.

This iteration of the course will explore such topics as: the rapid growth of cities and their impact on fair housing, gentrification, and poverty; the role of human rights cities as models; the role of migration on cities; the role of governance addressing inequality; the need to have access to health care; among others.


One-credit for PITT students / 3 units for CMU students is provided for the completion of each iteration of the mini-course.

The course will occur on Friday, October 22nd, Saturday, October 23rd, and Sunday, October 24th. Engagement in the course should be synchronous; accommodations for those in significant time zone differences will be provided to allow enrollment and completion of all elements of the weekend. A pre-course video review of the major course assignment will need to be completed prior to the course starting.

Martha F.
Davis Ph.D
School of Law, Northeastern University
Professor Davis teaches Constitutional Law, US Human Rights Advocacy and Professional Responsibility. She is a faculty director for the law school’s Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy and the NuLawLab. In 2015-2016, she held the Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute (RWI), Lund University, in Lund, Sweden. She continued her work with RWI in 2017-2018, when she received a Fulbright Specialist Award, and she is now an affiliated scholar of the institute. She is also a member of the expert committee of Human Right 2 Water, a Geneva-based development organization that advocates for water and human rights. Professor Davis has written widely on human rights, women’s rights, and social justice issues. Most recently, she co-edited Global Urban Justice: The Rise of Human Rights Cities (Cambridge, 2016), the first book-length scholarly treatment of the human rights cities movement. In addition to serving as an editor, Professor Davis contributed a chapter, “Cities, Human Rights and Accountability: The United States Experience.” She is co-author of the first law school textbook focused on domestic human rights: Human Rights Advocacy in the United States (West, 2014), and she co-edited Bringing Human Rights Home, a three-volume work chronicling the US human rights movement.
Hoover Ph.D
Senior Lecturer in Political Theory, Queen Mary University of London
Dr. Hoover is a senior lecturer in political theory and joined the School of Politics and International Politics in 2016. Prior to coming to Queen Mary, Dr. Hoover was a Lecturer in International Politics at City University London and a Fellow in International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Publications: Reconstructing Human Rights: A Pragmatic and Pluralist Inquiry in Global Ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016.
Vaughn-Roberson Ph.D
Department of History, Carnegie Mellon University
Clayton Vaughn-Roberson’s research and teaching focus on twentieth century United States and African-American history; U.S. and the world; civil rights, human rights, and organized labor; and black internationalism. He has taught United States history post-1865, and at Carnegie Mellon, he has taught the “American Civil Rights Movement and the World” and “Inequality, Social Justice, and the Black Urban Experience.” He is currently putting together a class entitled “The American Civil Rights Movement from Garveyism to Black Power.” His manuscript, Fascism with a Jim Crow Face: The National Negro Congress and the Global Popular Front is currently under external review by the University of North Carolina Press for its Justice, Power, and Politics book series. He has published peer-reviewed articles in the Journal of Civil and Human Rights and the Journal of American Communist History. Much of his research has been supported by the Center for African-American Urban Studies and the Economy, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, the Marcus Garvey Foundation, and the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations. He has attended international conferences in both the United States and United Kingdom.
jain Ph.D
Executive Director, Gender Equity Commission, City of Pittsburgh
anupama jain, Ph.D., is the inaugural Executive Director of Pittsburgh’s Gender Equity Commission. In this role, anu acts as a liaison between Commissioners, City Departments, and diverse local stakeholders. The mission of the Gender Equity Commission is to dismantle gender-based inequalities in the City of Pittsburgh. Prior to joining the city anu spent more than a decade in as a professor in higher education. Anu is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and received her PhD in Literary and Cultural Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Anu lives in Squirrel Hill South.
Armanios Ph.D
Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University
Daniel Armanios is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University as well as a Distinguished Visiting Professor of Leadership at Tsinghua University’s Schwarzman College. Daniel’s work has been presented at numerous conferences, forums, and workshops internationally, leading to journal publications in a variety of leading management, organizational theory, engineering, and scientific outlets such as Biomacromolecules, Business & Society, Journal of Infrastructure Systems, Hydrological Processes, Nature Sustainability, Organization Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), Sustainable Development, and the Strategic Management Journal, as well as reports for NASA, NOAA, and the UN-OHCHR. These works have led to honors and awards such as being named a Goldwater Scholar (2004), a Truman Scholar (2005), an American Helicopter Society’s Vertical Flight Scholar (2005), a Rhodes Scholar (2007), a joint Stanford Graduate Benchmark and NSF Graduate Research Fellow (2009-2015), the Best Dissertation Award from the Technology and Innovation Management Division of the Academy of Management (2016), the Emerging Scholar in Innovation & Entrepreneurship Award from the Industry Studies Association (2018), and the Best Paper on Environmental and Social Practices Award from the Organization and Management Division of the Academy of Management (2019).

Register here.

The Mini Course is open to all.

Friday, October 22, 2021

  • 5:00 PM-5:15 PM: Welcome Remarks and Overview of Course
  • Session 1 | 5:15 PM-6:30 PM: Small Places, Close to Home:  The Challenges and Opportunities of Human Rights Cities with Martha Davis, University Distinguished Professor, School of Law, Northeastern University
  • Session 2 | 6:45 PM-8:00 PM: Group Activity Analyzing Pittsburgh and SDG 10 & 11

*Students arriving more than 5 minutes late will not be assigned to a breakout group nor be able to complete the assignment sheet associated with this activity. Please arrive on time to be assigned a group and case study.*

Saturday, October 23, 2021

  • Session 3 | 8:30 AM-9:45 AM: The Political Movement for a Human Right to Housing with Joe Hoover, Senior Lecturer in Political Theory, Queen Mary University of London
  • Session 4 | 10:00AM-11:15AM: Clayton Vaughn-Roberson, Adjunct Instructor, Department of History, Carnegie Mellon University
  • LUNCH - 11:30 AM-12:30 PM
  • Session 5 | 12:30 PM-1:45 PM: Anu Jain, Executive Director: Gender Equity Commission, City of Pittsburgh
  • Session 6 | 2:00 PM-3:15 PM: The Role of Physical Infrastructure on Inequality with Daniel Armanios, Assistant Professor, Department of Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Session 7 | 3:30 PM-5:00 PM: Group Activity: Comparing Analyses of PIttsburgh and SDG 10 & 11

* Students arriving more than 5 minutes late will not be assigned to a breakout group nor be able to complete the assignment sheet associated with this activity. Please arrive on time to be assigned a group and case study.*

Sunday, October 24, 2021

  • Session 8 | 8:30 AM-9:30 AM: Comparing Disciplines and Perspectives

*Pre-Session Work: Prior to this session, you should have finalized your city and SDG 10 or 11 target. If you haven’t, this worksheet will be very difficult to complete. You should be using the Part 2 sessions of the speaker worksheets to complete this as well.*

  • Session 9 | 9:45 AM-11:45 AM: Practicing Community Discussions on Inclusive Approaches: A Case Study Activity

*Note: Students arriving more than 5 minutes late will not be assigned to a breakout group nor be able to complete the assignment sheet associated with this activity. Please arrive on time to be assigned a group and case study.*

  • Session 10 | 12:00 PM-1:00 PM: Workshopping Your Global City Analysis Paper

*Pre-Class Work: Prior to the Sunday morning session, students should have selected a city from the provided list and brainstormed a social justice issue related to a selected target from SDG 10 or 11. This brainstorm should be developing further in the Part 3 portion of the Speaker Session worksheets. Students will need to do a small amount of research on the selected city and social justice issues they’ve brainstormed. Without this work, this assignment is going to be very difficult to complete.*


Sponsored by: University of Pittsburgh's Global Studies Center

Global Studies Center, University of Pittsburgh
Veronica Dristas
Carnegie Mellon University
Korryn Mozisek

View and download the Mini-Course flyer here!