The Orser Center at UMBC fosters innovative collaborations among scholars, students, and local community organizations. The Center seeks to put humanities research to work as a creative response to problems, challenges, and issues identified by communities in the greater Baltimore region.

For over four decades, Professor Ed Orser has embodied quality community engagement in his research and teaching on Baltimore at UMBC. He has set a high standard as an engaged scholar and public intellectual. The Center recognizes and attempts to amplify such community and place-based work focused on better understanding the Greater Baltimore Region and supporting the grassroots attempts to build a more just city for the future.

The Center focuses on how the local region has been affected by global trends in fleeing manufacturing, how neighborhoods change/gentrify, and new patterns of immigration and place making. Exploring the relationships between the local and the global—in the words of social anthropologist James Peacock a “grounded globalism”—builds diverse research, teaching, and public programming opportunities.

The Center is both a physical and digital space located within the Department of American Studies, which provides a blog, social networking infrastructure, university/community events to connect people interested in research and development in the areas of place, community, and culture at UMBC and beyond.