The Community Development graduate program at the University of California, Davis, is a two-year multi-disciplinary applied social science program that leads to a Master of Science degree. The course of study provides a strong theoretical background in Community Development derived from a multi-disciplinary approach that includes Sociology, Anthropology, Political Economy, Geography, Environmental Science, Landscape Architecture, and other social sciences, combining both their theoretical as well as applied aspects.
The program helps students link conceptual knowledge with cutting-edge practical experience so they can influence the social, economic, cultural, and political forces that affect the well-being of people living in community settings whether small towns or large cities, whether in the United States or elsewhere in the world. The combination of theoretical knowledge and applied practical skills are specifically geared towards community development interventions that most effectively can help under-served populations. The current research and teaching areas in which the Community Development Graduate Group has particular strengths are:
- Community economic development
- Community organizing and organizations in under-served communities
- Local impacts of globalization and trans-nationalism
- Urban political development and change
- Rural development
- Community design and planning
- Public health and welfare of Communities
- Environmental conservation and planning
- Community based agriculture and gardens, sustainable agriculture
- Gender and development
ACCESS TO CAPITAL IN THE ABSENCE OF RELIGIOUSLY APPROPRIATE FINANCIAL PRODUCTS: A CASE STUDY ON MUSLIM BUSINESS OWNERS IN SACRAMENTO
Religious law prohibiting the use of interest presents a particular challenge for Muslim business owners all across the United States. Recently, Islamic financing in America has gained much attention as it offers alternatives to the growing Muslim market in America. Little research exists, however, that assess the challenges (and their implications) that Muslim business owners face in accessing financial resources. This thesis addresses the question of how business owners have accessed capital in the absence of religiously appropriate financial products. The study investigates the role of religious commitment in shaping the decisions of a subset of Muslim business owners and offers a means to understand what factors best indicate one’s predisposition to use Islamic Financing Products.
To explore these questions, 19 small business owners within the Sacramento area, (identified via purposive, snowball sampling) were surveyed and interviewed. Overall, the sample demonstrated a high level of religious commitment and surprisingly the level of religious commitment did not necessarily correspond with past borrowing practices nor did it equate to one’s openness toward Islamic financing products.
Even though a large portion of my sample was found to have utilized non-interest bearing financing, a market of Islamic Financing Products was identified. Those who had used conventional products in the past or had experienced problems in obtaining financing seemed more inclined to such products. Additionally, a distinguishing characteristic of businesses willing to consider Islamic financing products were those that noted a religious influence on their product line, possibly uncovering a more religiously motivated decision than financing itself.
Assessing the Local Marketing Potential for Mandarin Growers and Hoshigaki Producers in Placer County
The purpose of this project is to identify the ways to promote and preserve two local food products, the mandarin and hand-dried persimmon, in Placer County, California. The first chapter details a general history of agriculture in the county. The next chapter is a detailed description of mandarin supply and demand, an assessment of current marketing channels for the mandarin within Placer County, followed by the overall barriers and opportunities for promoting the product and for expanding the market in mandarin growers in the county. The last chapter is a similar examination of another agricultural product in the county known as hoshigaki (Japanese hand-dried persimmon). This paper concludes with some broader themes reflected by the effort of Placer County’s food growers and food producers to support small-scale, localized food systems and some of the unique lessons this community has experienced.