Taking Up Space: A Case Study Exploration of the Relationship Between Citizenship and Free Humanities Programs in Canada
Author(s)Klassen, Jessica L
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AbstractCitizenship is increasingly being utilized as the discourse to discuss inclusive and exclusive realities within a polity. This case study examines free humanities programs in Canada, which offer free university-level courses in the humanities to people experiencing marginalization in society. The stated intention of the programs is that, through education in the humanities, critical reflection, and access to the university space, students will increasingly engage in active citizenship and participate in the public sphere. This thesis explores the extent to which this intention has been realized. Primary data was collected from sixteen students, professors, and program coordinators of free humanities programs. Secondary data was also collected in order to triangulate the primary data. The findings outlined that students experienced an increase in citizenship at multiple levels. Students experienced an increase in sense of self, strengthened societal connections, and more frequent and meaningful access to public space. These findings highlight the mutually reinforcing nature of social inclusion.