March 27, 2014
The Department of Sociology is offering a new minor in law, justice and social change for the fall 2014 semester. The minor will serve students interested in careers in law, policy, criminal justice, or grassroots social change, and students who want to have a deeper understanding of law and society.
The minor's curriculum explores the ways in which legal and social institutions reproduce and exacerbate social inequalities, and how social groups challenge — or fail to challenge — institutions in ways that produce fundamental social change.
The new minor builds on the strengths of the faculty teaching across these disciplines and the enthusiasm of students for a curriculum that allows them to develop their interests in law.
"I've been teaching courses in these areas for a long time," says Sandra Levitsky, assistant professor of sociology, "and I'm constantly struck by how many students are interested in social justice, criminal justice, and the capacity of ordinary people to effect social change. Now at last we have an intellectual home for these students.
"How do sociologists understand what justice is?" Levitsky adds. "How do we use data to assess claims about justice — or the lack thereof? The courses in this minor will give students a fundamentally different understanding of things like fairness, deviance, social order, and inequality.
"Whether students want to view social change from the perspective of lawyers and policymakers, or from the perspective of street protesters, the courses in this minor will be of interest to them."
The minor will include a variety of courses to develop students' knowledge in criminology, law, social movements, human rights and more.