Social justice studies explore the social, cultural, and institutional responses to inequality and oppression, examining the institutional structures, cultural practices, and social behaviors that inform the concept of equality and the recognition of human rights. This program draws on an array of courses from across the curriculum to facilitate the understanding of historical and contemporary representations of social justice.
The goal of the social justice studies program is to have students develop a significant grounding in historical and contemporary social movements from which to understand the roots, evolution, and complexity of social justice, develop an understanding of systems, institutions, and policy in relation to social justice and equity, and develop an ethical awareness of the impact of systems, institutions, and policy on individuals, cultural norms, and human rights.
Two minors are supported by the Social Justice Studies curriculum: (a) Social Justice Studies, and (b) Civic Engagement and Social Justice.
If you'd like to view a full listing of our course options in social justice studies or any other subject, please visit the Online Course Catalogue.
Requirements for the minor in Social Justice Studies
interdisciplinary, 6 courses
Six courses: SJSP 100, Foundations of Social Justice; one course in Theoretical Perspectives from the list below or chosen in consultation with an academic adviser from the Steering Committee; one course within each theme from the list below, or chosen in consultation with an academic adviser from the Steering Committee; and a credited practicum capstone experience, designed/selected in consultation with an adviser. At least two of the four theme courses must be at the 300-level or above. A recommended course for the practicum is PHIL 162, Ethics of Civic Engagement (SLC).
Requirements for the minor in Civic Engagement and Social Justice
interdisciplinary, 6 courses
Six courses: SJSP 100, Foundations of Social Justice; one course in Theoretical Perspectives from the list below or chosen in consultation with an academic adviser from the Steering Committee; SJSP 101, Community Based Research: Introduction to the Scholarship of Engagement; two courses from more than one discipline with the SLC/CBR designation (service learning/community based research); and one seminar with community-based research or a Geneva Collaborative Internship.
Our students choose from a variety of introductory and advanced courses, each designed to provide students with an understanding of multiple perspectives on gender.
Below, you'll find a sampling of some of our most popular classes, as well as suggestions for making Social Justice Studies a part of your larger interdisciplinary experience at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.
SJSP 100 Foundations of Social Justice
Get acquainted with the foundational principles and theories of social justice, including social movements, power and identity and institutions and policy. Then, take HIST 317 Women and Social Movements to explore the role of women have had in social movements.
PPOL 364 Social Policy and Community Activism
Learn about social policy, community participation and activism, as well as democracy, education, and difference. Put your knowledge to work and gain hands-on experience with a semester-long community service project. Next, enroll in EDUC 201 Schooling and Social Equality to learn more about the social and political history of American schooling.
PHIL 315 Social Justice
Explore social justice by delving into topics such as distributive justice, egalitarianism, libertarianism, resource and welfare-based approaches, feminist and capabilities approaches, and desert approaches. Then, enroll in ECON 213 Urban Economics to take a look at the basic problems of urban areas today.