BY CATHERINE HINES – STAFF WRITER
Beginning this fall term, Centre now offers a Social Justice Minor. This minor is interdisciplinary among all three academic divisions and covers subjects including Anthropology, Economics and Gender Studies. Students will not only have course requirements, but also participate in a practicum in the form of an internship, research project, or independent study. Once a student completes one of these, she will present her findings in a setting such as RICE, the internship showcase, or in front of a panel.
The primary goal of this minor includes a thorough study of theory, empirical evidence, and literature across disciplines and discourses. Students will come to understand the intersections of class, race, gender, sexuality, age, ability, and other elements of social location, as well as the impact that these have on people’s access to social institutions, opportunities, and life outcomes. By grounding an analysis of social injustice in the perspectives of those who are marginalized, students will examine and interrelate the politics and economics of human development, power dynamics in society and the function and role of various intersecting social institutions, both public and private. Having reflected on one’s own role in society related to power and privilege, agency, engaged citizenship, and social change, students will be able to articulate a vision of social justice from multiple perspectives.
Stemming from Centre’s relationship with the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty (SHECP) Internship Program, which is a nonprofit providing a two-pronged approach to the interdisciplinary study of poverty, the Social Justice Minor was created as a result of students and faculty dialogues. Students who have been a part of the SHECP internship as well as Bonner students have been the most enthusiastic about creating this minor.
“I have a growing passion for social justice,” said Maggie McLain ’19, a Social Justice minor. This is something that I have always been interested in and since I am an Anthropology and Sociology major, these same topics have arisen throughout the years and this minor allows me to be a greater change in action.”
Dr. Axtell, Dr. Abrams, and Mindy Wilson have each played an integral part in creating this new opportunity for students to grow as self-aware defenders of social justice and change. A number of faculty and staff members have shown enthusiasm and support for the development of this new minor.
“We, as a committee, believe the proposed Social Justice minor will provide and equip students with the academic and experiential opportunity to thoughtfully engage in our world’s most pressing issues no matter the career path,” reads the Social Justice minor committee’s statement of rationale.
Currently, two courses are offered under the SLJ code, including Introduction to Social Justice. The minor requires 19 credit hours, and can be self-designed as a major. The full list of requirements can be viewed here.