An interdepartmental program in Social Justice and Social Policy

Last updated: August 31, 2016 at 10:53 a.m.

Objectives

Concepts of justice play a profound role in clarifying human needs for health and well-being. Such basic social problems as inequality, poverty, and discrimination pose a constant challenge to policies that serve the health and income needs of children, families, people with disabilities, and the elderly. The public response to such problems, in America and elsewhere, rests on contested definitions of social obligation and social citizenship. The program in social justice and social policy examines these essential connections between social values and practical policies. It unites elements in liberal arts study to bridge the analytic gap between ends and means. It also brings together an unusually broad spectrum of faculty and curriculum—combining the academic perspectives of arts and sciences departments with professional expertise from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management. Students are encouraged to explore policy areas in concrete detail, focused variously on particular groups (children, the elderly, people with disabilities) or particular services (health care, income support). Students can also select courses that deal thematically with problems of social equity (poverty, discrimination), as well as courses that approach social justice from historical, philosophical, and comparative perspectives. Key elements of the program include a foundation course, a capstone course, and a research-based internship in a social policy setting.

The concern with social justice speaks to the core educational commitments of Brandeis. This program does not seek to promote a particular ideological agenda, but rather to spark creative thinking about complex social problems. It carries the search for norms and principles into the wider arena of practical experience. By providing models for critical reflection, it challenges students to articulate their own value commitments in a spirit of constructive debate.

Learning Goals

The Social Justice and Social Policy (SJSP) Program links the university's commitment to social justice with the academic curriculum. The program provides a common place for students in all disciplines to engage with issues of justice and equity. While many of the program’s courses offer a primary emphasis either on justice or policy concerns, SJSP strives to deepen understanding of the essential connections between social values and practical policy. Students are encouraged to select courses that approach social justice from historical, philosophical, legal, and comparative perspectives, as well as to explore policy areas in concrete detail. The program provides students with the flexibility to focus on a range of issues and arenas, including civil rights, domestic violence, environmental justice, health inequities, ethnic and religious conflict, slavery, and core questions of democracy, citizenship and disobedience. Key elements of the program include a foundational course and a research-based internship in an academic or social policy setting.

Social justice concerns speak to the core educational commitments of Brandeis. This program does not seek to promote a particular ideological agenda, but rather to spark creative thinking about complex social problems. It carries the search for norms and principles into the wider arena of practical experience. By providing models for critical reflection, it challenges students to articulate their own value commitments in a spirit of constructive debate.

Knowledge:
Students completing the minor in SJSP will understand how to:

  • Rigorously engage with core questions of liberty, equality, and justice
  • Recognize and locate major philosophical, legal, and analytic conceptions of liberty, equality, and justice
  • Relate frameworks from multiple disciplines to pressing social, economic, philosophical, legal, and political issues and policies
  • Identify how policy approaches are shaped by and bear upon racial, gender, ethnic, religious, cultural, and political difference
  • Locate and classify the points of intersection between social values and practical policies

Core Skills:
As an interdisciplinary program, the SJSP minor encourages students to explore varied perspectives on the intersection of values and action. As students take courses in the various disciplines, they are exposed to diverse methods of inquiry. SJSP minors from Brandeis will be well prepared to:

  • Creatively compare and assess foundational philosophical, theoretical, and analytic conceptions of justice
  • Interrogate the historical, structural, and cultural contexts that shape the dynamics of discrimination and inequality in a range of institutions
  • Clearly communicate theories, analyses, and policy solutions, both orally and in writing
  • Apply generalized principles to a range of real-world issues and settings
  • Deploy analytic frameworks and tools to develop effective policy approaches to specific social problems
  • Adeptly consider and respond to objections to proposed policy solutions
  • Collaborate with local agencies and communities to develop policy strategies that address pressing issues

How to Become a Minor

The program in social justice and social policy (SJSP) is open to all Brandeis undergraduates. Students may begin the minor at any time, but are encouraged to complete the foundation course within the first two years of study. To enroll in the minor, students must fill out the declaration forms from the Office of the University Registrar and meet first with one of the members of the program committee. A minor adviser will then be assigned by the director to help plan a course of study, including the timing of the internship/independent research and capstone requirements.

Committee

Melissa Stimell, Chair
(Legal Studies)

Richard Gaskins 
(American Studies; Legal Studies)

Laura Goldin
(Environmental Studies)

Anita Hill
(Heller School)

Thomas Shapiro
(Heller School)

Marion Smiley
(Philosophy)

Andreas Teuber
(Philosophy)

Affiliated Faculty (contributing to the curriculum, advising and administration of the department or program)
Richard Gaskins (American Studies)
Laura Goldin (American Studies)
Anita Hill (Heller)
Thomas Shapiro (Heller)
Marion Smiley (Philosophy)
Melissa Stimell (Legal Studies)
Andreas Teuber (Philosophy)

Requirements for the Minor

A. A core course: SOC 155b (Social Movements and the Political Process). This course is strongly recommended as an introduction to the program, and normally should be taken within the first two years of study. However, the core course is not a formal prerequisite for other courses in the program.

B. Students must complete any four elective courses from those listed below. Electives are grouped into topical fields, but students may choose courses from any group. No more than two electives from the Heller School or from any single department may be counted toward minor elective requirement.

C. Either (1) an internship approved by the SJSP internship director and the successful completion of the related SJSP 89a seminar, which is usually offered in the fall semester; or (2) successful completion of IGS/LGLS 92b (Brandeis spring program in The Hague), IGS/LGLS 185b (Brandeis summer program in The Hague), LGLS 161b (Advocacy for Policy Change), SOC 89a (Internships for Community Action and Social Change), SOC 182a (Applied Research Methods), or WMGS 89a (When Violence Hits Home). Internships undertaken for other majors or minors and not also paired with SJSP 89a will not fulfill this requirement. For option (1) above, the internship experience and the internship seminar combined count as one academic course.

D. No course taken pass/fail may count toward the program requirements.

E. No grade below a C- will be given credit toward the minor.

(1-99) Primarily for Undergraduate Students

SJSP 89a Social Justice, Social Policy Internship
To obtain an internship for the fall term, students should discuss their placements with the SJSP internship supervisor by April 1.
Supervised internship in a social justice, social service, social policy, or social research organization. Students will meet as a group and will complete research assignments. Usually offered every year in the fall semester.
Ms. Stimell

SJSP 98b Social Justice and Social Policy Independent Research
Prerequisite: SOC 123b or permission of the program director.
Guided readings and research on an independent topic that builds upon and integrates the particular course work completed in the SJSP program. Research may be directed by a member of the program committee or by another faculty member with the approval of the program director. Usually offered every semester.
Staff

Social Justice and Social Policy: Core Courses

SOC 155b Protest, Politics, and Change: Social Movements
[ ss ]
Utilizes case studies of actual movements to examine a variety of approaches to contentious politics. Covers collective behavior, resource mobilization, rational choice, and newer interactive models. Usually offered every second year.
Ms. Vijayakumar

Social Justice and Social Policy: Research Internship

LGLS 161b Advocacy for Policy Change
[ oc ss wi ]
This hands-on course invites students to address concrete social problems through public policy reform. It provides background in theories, advocacy skills, networks, and key players that drive the legislative process. Focusing on policy change at the statehouse level, students engage with elected officials and community organizations to advance key legislation affecting social welfare, health, education, and economic justice. Usually offered every year.
Ms. Stimell

SJSP 89a Social Justice, Social Policy Internship
To obtain an internship for the fall term, students should discuss their placements with the SJSP internship supervisor by April 1.
Supervised internship in a social justice, social service, social policy, or social research organization. Students will meet as a group and will complete research assignments. Usually offered every year in the fall semester.
Ms. Stimell

SOC 182a Applied Research Methods
[ qr ss ]
Provides hand-on training in social science research methodology, covering issues related to research design, data collection, and causal analysis within the context of a large-scale collaborative research project. Students will operate as a member of a research team with responsibility over a component of a broader project tied to real-world social justice initiative. Usually offered every second year.
Staff

WMGS 89a When Violence Hits Home: Internship in Domestic Violence
Combines fieldwork in domestic and sexual violence prevention programs with a fortnightly seminar exploring cultural and interpersonal facets of violence from a feminist perspective. Topics include theories, causes and prevention of rape, battering, child abuse, and animal abuse. Internships provide practical experience in local organizations such as rape crisis, battered women's violence prevention, and child abuse prevention programs. Usually offered every fall.
Ms. Hunter

SJSP Electives: Foundational Frameworks

AAAS 158a Theories of Development and Underdevelopment
[ nw ss wi ]
Humankind has for some time now possessed the scientific and technological means to combat the scourge of poverty. The purpose of this seminar is to acquaint students with contending theories of development and underdevelopment, emphasizing the open and contested nature of the process involved and of the field of study itself. Among the topics to be studied are modernization theory, the challenge to modernization posed by dependency and world systems theories, and more recent approaches centered on the concepts of basic needs and of sustainable development. Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Nyangoni

AMST 60a The Legal Boundaries of Public and Private Life
[ ss ]
Examine civil liberties through landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases. Explores confrontations between public interest and personal rights across four episodes in American cultural history; post-Civil War race relations; progressive-era economic regulation; war-time free-speech debates; and current issues of sexual and reproductive privacy. Close legal analysis supplemented by politics, philosophy, and social history. Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Breen

BUS 10a Functions of the Capitalist Enterprise
[ ss ]
Prerequisite: BUS 6a. BUS 6a may be taken concurrently with BUS 10a.
Introduces the internal complexity of modern businesses and the various roles they play in society. First examines the internal workings of firms--marketing, operations, finance, and other functions. Subsequently, the relationships between businesses and their context--the economy, social issues, and government are studied. Usually offered every semester in multiple sections.
Mr. Abdurezak, Mr. Bayone and Mr. Carver

HS 110a Wealth and Poverty
[ ss ]
Examines why the gap between richer and poorer citizens appears to be widening in the United States and elsewhere, what could be done to reverse this trend, and how the widening disparity affects major issues of public policy. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Shapiro

LGLS 130a Conflict Analysis and Intervention
[ oc ss ]
Examines alternatives to litigation, including negotiation and mediation. Through simulations and court observations, students assess their own attitudes about and skills in conflict resolution. Analyzes underlying theories in criminal justice system, divorce, adoption, and international arena. Usually offered every second year.
Ms. Stimell

PHIL 13b The Idea of the Market: Economic Philosophies
[ hum ]
Historical survey of philosophical assumptions in the defense and critique of market capitalism, starting from Adam Smith's views on value, self, and community. Explores philosophical alternatives in Marx, Weber, Durkheim, Dewey, and Hayek, including debates on justice and individualism. Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Gaskins

PHIL 111a What Is Justice?
[ hum ]
Prerequisite: One course in philosophy or political theory or permission of the instructor.
What is justice and what does justice require? The course examines theories of justice, both classical and contemporary. Topics include liberty and equality, "who gets what and how much," welfare- and resource-based principles of justice, justice as a virtue, liberalism, multiculturalism, and globalization. Usually offered every second year.
Ms. Smiley

PHIL 116b Politics and Markets
[ hum ]
What legal limits, if any, should a state impose on the market exchange of particular goods and services? Are there some things that money should not buy? How about "babies for sale?” or “kidneys for cash?" Why not permit the sale of one's place in prison or allow citizens to sell their votes to the highest bidder? Would that not be more efficient? The course will look closely at the distribution of particular goods and services as they are embedded in actual, concrete cases where arguments have been made for publicly limiting private exchanges between consenting adults. It is after “big game,” aiming to discover a set of principles that mark a line between what’s public, what’s private, between goods and services that should be free from public prohibition, oversight, regulation or control and those that should not be allowed to be bought and sold privately on the open market. Usually offered every third year.
Mr. Teuber

PHIL 126a What Does it Mean to be a Global Citizen?
[ hum wi ]
May not be taken for credit by students who took PHIL 20a in prior years.
Focuses on the relation of the individual to the state and, in particular, on the theory and practice of nonviolent resistance, its aims, methods, achievements, and legitimacy. Examines the nature of obligation and the role of civil disobedience in a democratic society. Explores the conflict between authority and autonomy and the grounds for giving one's allegiance to any state at all. Examples include opposition to the nuclear arms race, and disobedience in China and Northern Ireland and at abortion clinics. Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Teuber

POL 10a Introduction to Political Theory
[ ss ]
Open to first-year students.
Examination of classical political texts and modern writings for insights on central problems of political discourse, such as power and authority, human nature, freedom, obligation, justice, and the organization of the state. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Yack or Mr. Lenowitz

POL 15a Introduction to International Relations
[ ss ]
Open to first-year students.
General introduction to international politics, emphasizing the essential characteristics of the international system as a basis for understanding the foreign policy of individual countries. Analysis of causes of war, conditions of peace, patterns of influence, the nature of the world's political economy, global environmental issues, human rights, and prospects for international organizations. Open to first-year students. Usually offered every semester.
Mr. Art or Mr. Chase

SOC 111a Political Sociology
[ ss ]
Social and institutional bases of public life (social capital, interest groups, movements, communities, parties, urban regimes, collaborative governance) and relationships to politics and policy at local and national levels. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Sirianni

SOC 193a Environment, Health, and Society
[ ss ]
This course draws on sociological perspectives to examine two key questions: (1) How does social organization enter into the production of environmental health and illness? and (2) How do scientists, regulators, social movement activists, and people affected by illness seek to understand, regulate, and intervene in relationships between the environment and human health? Usually offered every second year.
Ms. Shostak

SJSP Electives: Dynamics of Discrimination and Inequality

AAAS 82a Urban Politics
[ ss ]
Examines urban politics in the United States from the early twentieth century to the present. Topics include urban political machines; minority political participation; the evolution of American suburbs; and racial, economic, and political inequities that challenge public policymaking. Usually offered every year.
Staff

AAAS 114b Race, Ethnicity, and Electoral Politics in the United States
[ ss ]
Explores the role that racial and ethnic politics play in American political campaigns and elections. Readings provide historical, theoretical, and empirical overviews of racial and ethnic politics in four contexts: political parties, presidential elections, congressional campaigns, and state legislative contests. Usually offered every year.
Staff

AAAS 118b Race, Prisons and Social Justice
[ ss ]
Explores race, prisons and social justice from approximately the late nineteenth century to the present. It in particular examines the impact of the thirteenth amendment, the rise of the convict leasing, the prisoners' rights movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s, the rise and fall of the "decarceration" programs, and neo-conservative politics of law and order on the era of mass incarceration and on social inequality in America. Special one-time offering, spring 2016.
Ms. Lynch

AMST 102aj Environment, Social Justice, and Empowerment
[ oc ss wi ]
Yields six semester-hour credits towards rate of work and graduation.
This community-engaged course involves students first-hand in the legal, policy, science, history and social impacts of current environmental health issues challenging individuals, families and communities today, with a particular focus on low-income, immigrant communities and the profound and unique roles played by women. Students will engage directly in the topics through field trips, visiting speakers and discussions with stakeholders themselves, taking on vital issues with some of the most disadvantaged communities from inner-city Boston and Waltham to the rural coal mining mountains of Appalachia. Students will address issues such as toxic exposure, access to safe housing, healthy food and clean water. Offered as part of JBS program.
Ms. Goldin

ANTH 156a Power and Violence: The Anthropology of Political Systems
[ nw ss ]
Political orders are established and maintained by varying combinations of overt violence and the more subtle workings of ideas. The course examines the relationship of coercion and consensus, and forms of resistance, in historical and contemporary settings. Usually offered every second year.
Ms. Ferry

ENG 130a Representing Poverty
[ hum ]
Explores influential theories of poverty and their impact on filmmakers. Compares cinematic tools and traditions for representing the lives of the world's poor. Includes neorealist classics and many contemporary variations. Usually offered every third year.
Ms. Irr

HS 528f Law and Social Justice: Constructions of Race and Ethnicity and Their Consequences
Meets for one-half semester and yields one-half course credit.
Explores race in American society from the framework of civil rights law. Using the case method, it attempts to facilitate a multicultural inquiry into antidiscrimination law by presenting civil rights issues as integrated social problems. Though the cases are organized around the traditional civil rights categories of education and housing, it also offers exploration of emerging areas such as the rights of language minorities and people with disabilities. Usually offered every year.
Ms. Hill

SOC 1a Order and Change in Society
[ ss ]
An introduction to the sociological perspective, with an emphasis on an analysis of problems of social order and change. Topics include gender, work and family, poverty and inequality, race and ethnicity, democracy, social movements, community, and education. Usually offered every year.
Ms. Cadge or Mr. Sirianni

SOC 112b Social Class and Social Change
[ ss ]
Presents the role of social class in determining life chances, lifestyles, income, occupation, and power; theories of class, inequality, and globalization; selected social psychological aspects of social class and inequality; and connections of class, race, and gender. Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Fellman

SOC 138a Sociology of Race, Gender, and Class
[ ss ]
Examines race, class and gender as critical dimensions of social difference that organize social systems. Uses a variety of media to analyze how race, class and gender as axes of identity and inequality (re)create forms of domination and subordination in schools, labor markets, families, and the criminal justice system. Usually offered every third year. Usually offered every third year.
Mr. Wallace

SOC 147a Sustainable Cities and Communities
[ ss ]
Studies innovations in the U.S and around the world that enhance urban sustainability, healthy communities, environmental justice, climate resilience and adaptation. Grassroots sustainability and climate movements, as well as environmental, health, and urban planning practice are examined. May be combined with internships and action research. May be combined with internships and action research. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Sirianni

WMGS 5a Women, Genders, and Sexualities
[ ss ]
This interdisciplinary course introduces central concepts and topics in the field of women's, gender, and sexuality studies. Explores the position of women and other genders in diverse settings and the impact of gender as a social, cultural, and intellectual category in the United States and around the globe. Asks how gendered institutions, behaviors, and representations have been configured in the past and function in the present, and also examines the ways in which gender and sexuality intersect with many other vectors of identity and circumstance in forming human affairs. Usually offered every fall.
Ms. Freeze, Ms. Lamb, or Ms. Singh

SJSP Electives: Historical and Comparative Perspectives on Social Justice

AAAS 80a Economy and Society in Africa
[ nw ss wi ]
Perspectives on the interaction of economic and other variables in African societies. Topics include the ethical and economic bases of distributive justice; models of social theory, efficiency, and equality in law; the role of economic variables in the theory of history; and world systems analysis. Usually offered every third year.
Mr. Nyangoni

AMST 185b The Culture of the Cold War
[ ss ]
Addresses American political culture from the end of World War II until the revival of liberal movements and radical criticism. Focuses on the specter of totalitarianism, the "end of ideology," McCarthyism, the crisis of civil liberties, and the strains on the pluralistic consensus in an era of anti-Communism. Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Whitfield

AMST 188b Louis Brandeis: Law, Business and Politics
[ ss ]
Brandeis's legal career serves as model and guide for exploring the ideals and anxieties of American legal culture throughout the twentieth century. Focuses on how legal values evolve in response to new technologies, corporate capitalism, and threats to personal liberty. Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Breen

AMST/MUS 39b Protest Through Song: Music that Shaped America
[ ca ss ]
Open to music majors and non-majors. Does not fulfill the Main Currents in American Studies requirement for the major.
Examines 20th and 21st century protest music to better understand the complex relationships between music and social movements. Through class discussions, reading, writing, and listening assignments, and a final performance students will discover how social, cultural, and economic protest songs helped shape American culture. Usually offered every second year.
Ms. Musegades

ANTH 156b Activism, Resistance and Change: Global Perspectives
[ nw ss ]
Examines activism and social movements from a cross-cultural perspective, beginning with key theoretical texts on hegemony and organized resistance, and then examining historical, ethnographic and methodological scholarship on a variety of activist movements from different world regions. Special one-time offering, spring 2016.
Mr. Khan

COML/HOI 103a Crime and Punishment: Justice and Criminality from Plato to Serial
[ hum wi ]
Examines concepts of criminality, justice, and punishment in Western humanist traditions. We will trace conversations about jurisprudence in literature, philosophy, political theory, and legal studies. Topics include democracy and the origins of justice, narrating criminality, and the aesthetic force mobilized by criminal trials. This course also involves observing local courtroom proceedings and doing research in historical archives about significant criminal prosecutions. Special one-time offering, spring 2016.
Mr. Sheppard and Mr. Sherman

ENVS 43b Visions of the American Environment, Images to Action
[ hum ss ]
May not be taken for credit by students who took FYS 43b in prior years.
Explores the role of the natural environment in the North American vision through the lens of books and selected readings, films and art. We focus on the 1800's to present as we consider how these works reflect our relationship with the environment over time and shape our treatment of natural resources as we address daunting environmental challenges. As we examine a series of broad environmental themes and issues, including environmental justice concerns and the meaning of "place" and "home" in the American vision, our field trips and hands-on work with local groups help bring our studies to life and meaning. Usually offered every year.
Ms. Goldin

HIST 181b Red Flags/Black Flags: Marxism vs. Anarchism, 1845-1968
[ ss ]
From Marx's first major book in 1845 to the French upheavals of 1968, the history of left-wing politics and ideas. The struggles between Marxist orthodoxy and anarchist-inspired, left Marxist alternatives. Usually offered every third year.
Mr. Hulliung

IGS 170a The Rise of Brazil
[ ss wi ]
Examines how Brazil now wields global influence in energy, South-South politics, culture and environmental affairs. This course looks at key elements - from the favela to high finance, carnvial to Candomblé - that make up one of the world's most dynamic societies. Usually offered every second year.
Staff

SQS 6b Sexuality and Queer Studies
[ hum ss ]
May not be taken for credit by students who took WMGS 6b in prior years.
Examines cross-cultural and historical perspectives on sexual meanings, experiences, representations, and activist movements within a framework forged by contemporary critical theories of gender and sexuality. Usually offered every year.
Staff

WMGS 105b Feminisms: History, Theory, and Practice
[ oc ss ]
Prerequisite: Students are encouraged, though not required, to take WMGS 5a prior to enrolling in this course.
Examines diverse theories of sex and gender within a multicultural framework, considering historical changes in feminist thought, the theoretical underpinnings of various feminist practices, and the implications of diverse and often conflicting theories for both academic inquiry and social change. Usually offered every year.
Ms. Smith

SJSP Electives: Diversity and Difference: Culture and Practice

AAAS 125b Caribbean Women and Globalization: Sexuality, Citizenship, Work
[ ss wi ]
Utilizing perspectives from sociology, anthropology, fiction, and music to examine the relationship between women's sexuality and conceptions of labor, citizenship, and sovereignty. The course considers these alongside conceptions of masculinity, contending feminisms, and the global perspective. Usually offered every second year.
Ms. Smith

ANTH 144a The Anthropology of Gender
[ nw ss wi ]
This course offers a 2-credit optional Experiential Learning practicum.
Examines gender constructs, sexuality, and cultural systems from a comparative perspective. Topics include the division of labor, rituals of masculinity and femininity, the vexing question of the universality of women's subordination, cross-cultural perspectives on same-sex sexualities and transsexuality, the impact of globalization on systems, and the history of feminist anthropology. Usually offered every year.
Ms. Hannig, Ms. Lamb or Ms. Schattschneider

ANTH 158a Urban Worlds
[ ss ]
Explores some of the essential concepts of urban theory and conducts an in-depth study of urban experiences around the world. Topics include the city and marginality, urban modernity, gender and public space, gentrification, suburbanization, transgression, and urban nature. Case studies may be from cities such as Mumbai, Lagos, New York, Paris, Dubai, and Rio de Janeiro. Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Anjaria

COML 165a Reading, Writing, and Teaching across Cultures
[ hum nw wi ]
Examines contemporary literary representations of literacy, schooling, and language from a cross-cultural perspective. Students also analyze their own educational trajectories and experiences with writing and reading. Usually offered every year.
Staff

ECON 69a The Economics of Race and Gender
[ ss ]
Prerequisite: ECON 2a or 10a.
The role of race and gender in economic decision making. Mainstream and alternative economic explanations for discrimination, and analysis of the economic status of women and minorities. Discussion of specific public policies related to race, class, and gender. Usually offered every second year.
Ms. Brainerd

ED 158b Looking with the Learner: Practice and Inquiry
Does not satisfy a school distribution requirement--for education studies core course credit only. Lab fee: $40.
Links theory to practice in learning through the visual arts through three types of experiences: 1) looking at art; 2) museum-based interactions with students from Stanley Elementary School in Waltham; and 3) documenting our experiences as lookers, learners, and teachers. What can we learn about art, artists, ourselves, and young learners through the processes of looking at art? How can we best support students in their own encounters with art and learning? How can museums serve as a model for education in various settings? Usually offered every year.
Ms. Bernson

ENG 151a Queer Studies
[ hum ]
Recommended preparation: An introductory course in gender/sexuality and/or a course in critical theory.
Historical, literary, and theoretical perspectives on the construction and performance of queer subjectivities. How do queer bodies and queer representations challenge heteronormativity? How might we imagine public spaces and queer citizenship? Usually offered every second year.
Mr. King

HISP 160a Culture and Social Change in Latin America
[ fl hum nw wi ]
Prerequisite: HISP 109b, or HISP 110a, or HISP 111b, or permission of the instructor.
Examines the relationship between the arts (including literature, film, and fine arts) and society in Latin America during the twentieth century by focusing on three historical conjunctures when this relationship was particularly rich: the political and artistic vanguards of the 1920s (with particular attention to the Mexican Revolution and its aftermath); the 1960s, marked by the historical turning point of the Cuban Revolution; and the decade of the 1990s, characterized by the transition to democracy, the emergence of human rights and other social movements. Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Rosenberg

HIST 171b Latinos in the U.S.
[ ss ]
History of the different Latino groups in the United States from the nineteenth century when westward expansion incorporated Mexican populations through the twentieth century waves of migration from Latin America. Explores the diversity of Latino experiences including identity, work, community, race, gender, and political activism. Usually offered every second year.
Staff

HSSP 192b Sociology of Disability
[ ss ]
In the latter half of the twentieth century, disability has emerged as an important social-political-economic-medical issue, with its own distinct history, characterized as a shift from "good will to civil rights." Traces that history and the way people with disabilities are seen and unseen, and see themselves. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Gulley

NEJS 148b Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Jews and Christians: Sources and Interpretations
[ hum ]
Introduction to the classical Jewish and Christian sources on same-sex love and on gender ambiguity and to a variety of current interpretations of them, to the evidence for same-sex love and gender fluidity among Jews and Christians through the centuries, and to current religious and public policy debates about same-sex love and gender identity and expression. Usually offered every third year.
Ms. Brooten

PHIL 108a Philosophy and Gender
[ hum ]
Prerequisite: PHIL 1a or PHIL 17a.
Explores the place of gender in the works of particular Western philosophers (e.g., Kant, Hume, and Rousseau) and uses the tools of contemporary analytic philosophy to address questions about gender equality, sexual objectification, and the nature of masculinity. Usually offered every third year.
Ms. Moran or Ms. Smiley

SJSP Electives: Social Justice in Action: Policy Approaches to Social Problems

AMST 55a Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration in American Culture
[ ss ]
Provides an introductory overview of the study of race, ethnicity, and culture in the United States. Focuses on the historical, sociological, and political movements that affected the arrival and settlement of African, Asian, European, American Indian, and Latino populations in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Utilizing theoretical and discursive perspectives, compares and explores the experiences of these groups in the United States in relation to issues of immigration, population relocations, government and civil legislation, ethnic identity, gender and family relations, class, and community. Usually offered every year.
Staff

AMST 191b Greening the Ivory Tower: Improving Environmental Sustainability of Brandeis and Community
[ oc ss ]
Yields six semester-hour credits towards rate of work and graduation.
Get active, involved, and out of the classroom with this class! In this hands-on, field-based experiential learning course we focus on the human impact on the world's natural resources, and explore strategies for creating healthy, resilient , environmentally sustainable communities in the face of increasingly daunting environmental challenges. Students also create projects that can change the face of Brandeis and the local community. Usually offered every year.
Ms. Goldin

BIOL 17b Conservation Biology
[ sn ]
Considers the current worldwide loss of biological diversity, causes of this loss, and methods for protecting and conserving biodiversity. Explores biological and social aspects of the problems and their solutions. Usually offered every year.
Ms. Hitchcock

ECON 57a Environmental Economics
[ ss ]
Prerequisite: ECON 2a or 10a.
Investigates the theoretical and policy problems posed by the use of renewable and nonrenewable resources. Theoretical topics include the optimal pricing of resources, the optimal use of standards and taxes to correct pollution problems under uncertainty, and the measurement of costs and benefits. Usually offered every year.
Ms. Bui

ED 155b Education and Social Policy
[ ss wi ]
Examines the various functions that schools perform in a community, with special attention to the intended and unintended consequences of contemporary policies such as special education, desegregation, charter schools, and the standards/accountability movement. Usually offered every year.
Ms. Levenson

ED 170a Critical Perspectives in Urban Education
[ ss wi ]
Examines the nature of urban schools, their links to the social and political context, and the perspectives of the people who inhabit them. Explores the historical development of urban schools; the social, economic, and personal hardships facing urban students; and challenges of urban school reform. Usually offered every year.
Staff

ENVS 18b International Environmental Conflict and Collaboration
[ ss ]
Studies the development of international environmental law and policy through a historical lens. Examines how early diplomatic initiatives have--and importantly, have not--shaped the contemporary structure of international environmental relations. Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Chester

HS 104b American Health Care
[ ss ]
Examines and critically analyzes the United States health care system, emphasizing the major trends and issues that have led to the current sense of "crisis." In addition to providing a historical perspective, this course will establish a context for analyzing the current, varied approaches to health care reform. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Altman

HS 143a Social Justice and Philanthropy
[ ss ]
May not be taken for credit by students who took SOC 143a in prior years.
Examines the role of philanthropy in American society including individual, institutional, and societal-level factors that affect philanthropic efforts to create social change and the relationship between social justice and philanthropy. Students explore philanthropy from both theoretical and practical perspectives using an academic framework grounded in sociological theory and a semester-long experiential learning exercise in real-dollar grantmaking. Usually offered every year.
Staff

HSSP 124a Long-term Care Policy, Programs, and Politics
[ ss ]
May not be taken for credit by students who took HS 124a in prior years.
Fifty million Americans have a disability. What kinds of help do they want? What are the responsibilities of families, friends, and communities to help? Current U.S. approaches to service delivery, financing, and organization are reviewed and alternatives considered. Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Leutz

LGLS 114a American Health Care: Law and Policy
[ ss ]
Not recommended for freshmen.
Focuses on individual rights, highlights how our laws and policies affect American health care. Traces the evolution of the doctor-patient relationship; explores access issues, including whether health care is or should be a fundamental right; assesses the quality of care and the impact of malpractice; and examines the cost of having (or not having) adequate health insurance. Concludes with options and prospects for meaningful reform. Usually offered every year.
Ms. Curi

LGLS 114aj American Health Care: Reform
[ ss ]
Five years after the historic passage of the ACA, the United States and our health care system is at a cross roads. While the ACA seems to have weathered most of the significant implementation challenges, even its most ardent supporters acknowledge that the law provides only a partial fix for our nation's health care system. While access should improve appreciably, particularly for those who are currently uninsured, many will still remain without access to needed care. Moreover, among advanced nations our costs are the highest by far and the quality of our care is no better than that found in these less costly nations. We will explore the ACA, the events leading up to its passage, the policies the law was designed to further, and its impacts so far. Offered as part of the JBS program.
Ms. Noble

LGLS 124b International Law and Development
[ nw ss ]
Surveys public and private forms of international law with special application to developing countries, and to political and social development in the global economy. Examines basic legal concepts of property, contract, and rule of law in the context of national and cultural transformations. Usually offered every second year.
Staff

LGLS 131bj Patient Autonomy: Law, Medicine, and Ethics
[ ss ]
At the heart of our evolving health care system are the doctor and the patient. Related to the doctor-patient relationship are often complex issues related to patient autonomy, life and death treatment decisions, and the cost of and access to care. They implicate questions of justice and the just distribution of care, a key goal of health care reform. We will explore ethical, legal, and social issues (including end-of-life-decision making, physician assisted suicide, procreative liberty, cloning, and genetic therapies) from the micro level of patient care at the patient's bedside to the macro issues of the health care system in which patient care is delivered and financed. Offered as part of the JBS program.
Ms. Curi

LGLS 132b Environmental Law and Policy
[ oc ss wi ]
Provides students with an understanding of complex environmental issues from a policy perspective. We begin by considering the broad origins of environmentalism in the U.S and then focus on federal and some state and international treaties and policies. We’ll survey major environmental laws, environmental justice, risk and recent cross-cutting issues. Finally, we’ll discuss current environmental issues ripped from the headlines, like fracking, lead in drinking water as in Flint, Michigan, and the Paris Climate Change Agreement. Usually offered every second year.
Ms. Goldin

POL 108a The Police and Social Movements in American Politics
[ ss wi ]
Analyses American mass political movements, their interaction with police, and their influences on American politics. Topics include the relationship between social movements and various political institutions. Explore various theories with case studies of specific political movements. Usually offered every third year.
Mr. Kryder

POL 108aj Social Movements in American Politics
[ ss ]
Provides a practical introduction to the causes and effects of movements seeking social justice, with a focus on how communication technologies affect the way that activists mobilize groups, and how authorities respond to such mobilizations. We will seek to understand the evolution of social movement theory and concepts through a consideration of historical and contemporary cases, and search for mechanisms to apply to our own experiments in creating social networking applications that can matter in the real world. We will read case histories and do independent research so as to write accounts of successful and failed cases of movements for reform. Offered as part of JBS program.
Mr. Kryder

POL 136b Social and Political Movements in Israel
[ oc ss ]
Applies the scholarship on collective action and social movements to the case of Israel. It provides students with a comprehensive understanding of the social, religious, and ethnic conflicts that have shaped Israeli society and politics through a focus on the unique movements and campaigns that have driven them. Special two-time offering, spring 2015 and spring 2016.
Ms. Norwich

POL 154aj Seminar: Citizenship
[ ss ]
Liberal theory presumes the progress of history to be, in the words of John Stuart Mill, a gradual "doing away with privilege." Examines the frontiers of social and political justice through readings drawn from literature, political science, and history. Offered as part of JBS program.
Mr. Kryder

SOC 104a Sociology of Education
[ ss ]
Examines the role of education in society, including pedagogy, school systems, teacher organizations, parental involvement, community contexts, as well as issues of class, race, and gender. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Wallace

SOC 175b Environmental Movements: Organizations, Networks, and Partnerships
[ ss ]
Studies environmental movement organizations and field strategies, national advocacy organizations, as well as community-based and civic approaches to environmental problem solving. Case studies draw from sustainable and climate resilient cities, watersheds, coastal adaptation, forests, ecosystem restoration, environmental justice, renewable energy, and the greening of industry. May be combined with internships and action research. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Sirianni

SOC 176a Nature, Nurture, and Public Policy
[ ss ]
Examines the impact of heredity or genetic theories of human problems on developing public policy, including the viability and validity of theories and evidence. Historical and contemporary cases such as gender, IQ, mental illness, and alcoholism are studied. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Conrad

SOC 191a Health, Community, and Society
[ ss ]
This course offers a 2-credit optional practicum.
An exploration into interrelationships among society, health, and disease, emphasizing the social causes and experience of illness. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Conrad