Making The City The Classroom

Professor Bob Hansman has spent the past 25 years living and working in low-income African-American neighborhoods in St. Louis. His City Faces project, which began as an art-based program and transformed into mentoring, tutoring, and other services, has long offered opportunities for Washington University students to serve and learn from the St. Louis community. In the wake of Ferguson, as the University community reflected on St. Louis as a divided American city, Bob was appointed Community Engagement Fellow with the Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement. In this capacity, he offers frequent bus tours of St. Louis to faculty and their classes, as well as student and staff groups. The tour, “Understanding What We See,” is designed to “peel back the layers” of present appearances, so that participants can see the destructive effects (ranging from loss of homes to loss of hospitals) of the racial inequalities of the not-distant past and continuous present. Bob’s passion and deep grasp of local history make the tour a moving educational experience in every sense. If you have not had a chance to participate, check back with the Gephardt Institute in the Fall for upcoming dates.