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OUR STORY

We are Human Scientists. Human Science is humanistic social science approach to understanding knowledge and how it shapes our beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. A framework based on this perspective offers insights and skills to effectively participate in social change efforts to preserve treasured democratic values and work toward a just and ecologically sustainable future.

 

JoAnn McAllister, PhD

My sense of injustice arose very early. I think it was second grade when I socked another little girl who taunted me because I didn’t wear the Brownie uniform to my first meeting. It was probably true that my parents couldn’t afford the uniform that week living week to week on my father’s paycheck as a tool and die maker. I have been engaged in more traditional (and nonviolent) ways since then as a volunteer stuffing envelopes for political campaigns, organizing a local environmental organization, writing one of the first citizen action handbooks for Earth Day, 1970 and participating throughout the 1980s in a variety of social movements, including Sanctuary, Peace, Food Security, and Domestic Violence. In the mid 1980s, I met Bill Moyer and others involved with Movement for a New Society and the Social Movement Empowerment Project focused on nonviolent social movement organizing. In 2000, I worked with Moyer as a co-author and editor of his Doing Democracy: A MAP for Organizing Successful Social Movements based on his 40 plus years of activism.

These efforts sent me back to school to pursue a PhD in Human Science. I needed to know how people and social structures actually changed and had found that few social change groups had a theory of change that resonated with my experience. For the last 15 years, I have been teaching social change theory and practice and qualitative research to graduate students, mostly people working for non-profits, community organizations, social service agencies, and NGOs, how to apply a humanistic social science perspective to their research and development of programs and projects that can create real change where they live and work. They have shown me time and again that learning to understand what shapes our beliefs and behaviors, one’s own and those of others, is essential to the collective work of creating a better world.

Jim Smith, MA

Coming of age at the time of the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War, I have been involved in social movements for change in some form for most of my adult life. This involvement took me across many areas of the United States and parts of Europe in exploring the possibilities for social change. Learning that most people on the planet have essentially the same desires and needs led me to understand that, at the end of the day, we are all more alike than different. As such, working to bring about unity in our common desire for freedom and justice has always seemed to be the correct path that we should all be taking, rather than that of exclusion.

After taking time off to raise a family and finish a career in business, I returned to graduate school at the age of 67 to get my Master’s Degree in Human Science and I am now working on my dissertation for a PhD in Transformative Studies. Along with a few friends I was one of the founders of Montana Project Healing Waters, part of a national organization which takes disabled veterans on fly fishing trips as a part of their continuum of care. This work led me to see the crucial role of experiences in nature as healing for persons with post-traumatic stress (PTSD) and other disabilities. My MA thesis was The Role of Nature in Healing Victims of Trauma. This, in turn, awakened my awareness of the interconnection between social and environmental justice and the relationship between the destruction of the natural world and the divisive exploitation of people through globalized capitalism. So, I am back again to work in social movements to facilitate change through helping others to become engaged citizens.

I am an active member of Democratic Socialists of America working for economic and political change in order to create more just and sustainable future for my community and my children and grandchildren. I believe that the role of every progressive person is to become engaged in civil and political life in order to insure a more diverse and democratic world.