DIY in Detroit (FNDS 1605)

DIY in Detroit

This course examines Do It Yourself (DIY) cultures in Detroit.

Detroit’s larger story – of migration, cars, growth, shrinkage, revitalization – hides smaller stories of community, resilience, and people who have decided not to wait on societal structures and instead do for themselves. We will look at both historical and contemporary communities who have established their own structures of support and cultural production in the face of resistance and disregard. What social and economic conditions encouraged or required them to do it themselves? What are the benefits of do it yourself culture – ownership, control, connective communities? 

This course covers topics in the disciplines of Urban Studies, American Studies, History and Sociology.


Who should take this course?

Everyone! Students who are interested in cities and the creative ways that city residents create spaces that facilitate community should take this course. Also, students who are interested in DIY culture in other forms — ­zines, online communities, self publishing, crafting, fashion — will find connections to this course’s topic.

More about this course

Course number: FNDS 1605

Number of Credits: 4

Search UM-Dearborn Class Schedule to find out more.

Dearborn Discovery Core requirements met: Social and Behavioral Analysis

Meet your faculty member: Carla Vecchiola, Lecturer IV in History;  Director, Hub for Teaching and Learning Resources

One of the benefits of taking a Foundations course is gaining a faculty mentor that can support you throughout your college career. Get to know Carla Vecchiola, faculty member for DIY in Detroit.

Carla Vecchiola
Carla Vecchiola


I hold a Ph.D. from the program in American Culture at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. I did what my colleagues and I called “nightclub ethnography” because my research had me working closely with house and techno musicians in Detroit.

I maintain those relationships; for example, I am on the board of the world’s only techno music museum which is right here in Detroit. My passion is understanding how people make connections across differences and I infuse that interest in all of my teaching.

Have questions about this course? Email Dr. Vecchiola at