Social Justice Studies

Steeped in AU's history and commitment to social justice

The Social Justice Studies program seeks to raise questions about structural inequality from a variety of perspectives, fostering dialogue across disciplinary boundaries and ideological lines. We want to engage students, faculty, and staff not in a particular political project but in a habit of critical inquiry, a willingness to examine our society and our own positions within it.

School/Division

Campus Locations

Main Campus - Alfred, NY

Major

none offered

Minor

Social Justice Studies

Required Core

  • SJST 101 Introduction to Social Justice Studies - 4 Credits
  • SJST 450 Independent Study - 2 to 4 Credits

 Completion of Social Justice Studies Portfolio

Elective Courses

Beyond the core and capstone, students complete 14 credits of electives. At least 10 elective credits must be unique to the SJST minor (i.e., not double-counting toward any other major or minor). Courses available as electives for the minor include: (Most are cross-listed as “SJST” in Class Schedules)

  • ART 294 Art Force 5: Social Justice Research, Design, Outreach - 2 Credits
  • ARTH 382 Gender and Art History: Feminist Art in a Global Frame - 4 Credits Or
    WGST 382 Gender and Art History: Feminist Art in a Global Frame - 4 Credits
  • BIOL 150 Biological Foundations - 4 Credits
  • COMM 465 Gender, Race, Class and Media - 4 Credits Or
    WGST 465 Gender, Race, Class and Media - 4 Credits
  • CRIM 340 Concepts of Penology - 4 Credits
  • ECON 425 Wealth and Inequality - 4 Credits
  • ENGL 217 Blood, Guts and Alphabets: The Gory Truth about Children's Literature - 4 Credits
  • ENGL 222 The Harlem Renaissance - 4 Credits
  • ENGL 226 The Holocaust and Literature - 4 Credits
  • ENGL 254 Women Writers - 2 or 4 Credits Or
    WGST 254 Women Writers - 2 or 4 Credits
  • ENGL 256 Multicultural American Literature - 4 Credits Or
    WGST 256 Multicultural American Literature - 4 Credits
  • ENGL 434 African-American Literature - 4 Credits
  • GERO 118 Introduction to Adult Development and Aging - 4 Credits Or
    PSYC 118 Introduction to Adult Development and Aging - 4 Credits
  • HIST 307 Post-World War II America - 4 Credits
  • MUSC 216 Queering the Pitch - 2 Credits
  • PHIL 304 Equality - 2 Credits Or
    POLS 304 Equality - 2 Credits
  • POLS 242 Approaches to Law - 4 Credits
  • POLS 316 American Constitutional Law and Politics - 4 Credits
  • POLS 341 Modern Political Theory - 4 Credits Or
    PHIL 341 Modern Political Theory - 4 Credits
  • POLS 346 American Political Thought - 4 Credits
  • PSYC 282 Social Psychology - 4 Credits
  • PSYC 372 Psychology of Gender - 4 Credits Or
    WGST 372 Psychology of Gender - 4 Credits
  • SOCI 110 Introduction to Sociology - 4 Credits
  • SOCI 344 Sociology of Deviance - 4 Credits
  • SOCI 346 Sociology of Sex and Gender - 4 Credits Or
    WGST 346 Sociology of Sex and Gender - 4 Credits
  • SOCI 349 Sociology of Health,Illness & - 4 Credits
  • SOCI 355 Power, Privilege, and Inequality - 4 Credits
  • SOCI 356 Social Movements - 4 Credits Or
    POLS 356 Social Movements - 4 Credits
  • SPAN 213 Speaking the Unspeakable: Argentina's Literature of Dictatorship - 4 Credits Or
    GLBS 213 Speaking the Unspeakable: Argentina's Literature of Dictatorship - 4 Credits
  • SPAN 217 Exiled from Justice: Equatorial Guinean Writers in Africa and Spain - 4 Credits
  • SPED 456 Human Development: Exceptionality - 3 Credits
  • UNIV 115 Concepts of Service Learning - 2 Credits
  • WGST 101 Women and Gender in Society - 4 Credits

Other classes may be included in the minor with permission from the Director or board, and some special topics courses are included, listed below.

  • ART / SJST 200 Topics: Constructing Culture - 2 Credits
  • ART / SJST 200 Topics: Activism & Theory in Art/Design - 2 Credits
  • ART / SJST 300 Topics: Design for Social Justice - 4 Credits
  • ARTH / SJST 300 Topics: Monuments & Memory - 4 Credits
  • COMM / SJST 300 Topics: Public Communication and Civic Engagement - 4 Credits
  • CRIM / SOCI / SJST 200 Topics: Justice in Policing - 2 Credits
  • ENGL 461 / WGST / SJST 400 Topics: Girl Power in American Literature - 4 Credits
  • ENGL 461 / SJST 400 Topics: The 99% Social Class in American Literature - 4 Credits
  • FREN / WGST / SJST 300 Topics: Femmes et la Justice Social - 4 Credits
  • HIST 360 / SJST 300 Topics: Black History in the U.S. Since 1877 - 4 Credits
  • HIST / WGST / SJST 360 Topics: Sex, Power & Politics - 4 Credits
  • SOCI / WGST / SJST 300 Topics: Race and Reproduction - 4 Credits
  • THEA / SJST 200 Topics: Performance Lab - 4 Credits
  • UNIV / SJST 100 Topics: Artists and Activists of the Harlem Renaissance - 2 Credits
  • UNIV / SJST 100 Topics: Enacting Social Justice through Pop Culture - 2 Credits

Total credit hours required 20-22

Social Justice Studies is an interdisciplinary minor that reflects Alfred University’s commitment to social justice and honors the university’s roots in 19th century social justice movements. Social justice movements work toward a society characterized by equitable distribution of various kinds of resources (political, economic, cultural, etc.) to all identity groups.

In the Social Justice Studies minor, students develop the tools to analyze and the vocabulary to talk about systems of advantage and disadvantage that perpetuate inequality at the interpersonal, institutional, and cultural level. They acquire familiarity with social movements and strategies that have been used historically to dismantle systemic inequality and to effect social change. They examine their own identities and actions in light of their learning, and engage in experiential learning—getting outside of the classroom environment to develop and implement action plans and then reflecting on their experience.

The course of study includes both the breadth of an introductory core course and the depth and autonomy of a faculty-supervised capstone experience. Students also take courses from a variety of disciplines and are strongly encouraged to take advantage of experiential learning opportunities.

Does a student have to take the core course before taking any electives?

No. However, we encourage students to take the core course as soon as possible.

Are there general education courses that might be useful for an SJST student to take?

We strongly recommend SOCI 110 as a foundational course, particularly because it's the prerequisite for advanced courses in Sociology that may be of interest to a student in the SJS program.

Do SJST electives double count for other majors or minors?

Four credits of SJST electives can double count for other majors and minors. At least ten elective credits must be unique to the SJST minor. (However, general education requirements can double-count as SJST electives.)

What can a student do with an SJST minor?

Students interested in working in government, in social work, as community activists or organizers, in non-profit work locally or NGO’s internationally—among other careers—would find an SJST minor valuable. An SJST minor will also help prepare students for graduate work of all kinds.

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