Students in U. Iowa’s New Social Justice Major Learn About ‘Networks of Privilege and Oppression’

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By Jillian Kay Melchior | 4:59 pm, September 19, 2016

The University of Iowa is offering a new social justice major for its students, joining a handful of other public colleges and universities across the nation preparing students for careers in liberal activism.

The new bachelor’s degree, offered by the Department of Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies, was created in response to students’ increasing interest in social justice, administrators told the Board of Regents. The University of Iowa will begin offering classes for this degree as early as Spring 2017.

Among other things, the program will help students “explore. . . how the intersections of geography, race, class, gender, sexuality, health, economics, and history create networks of privilege and oppression across the globe,” according to the proposal submitted to the Board of Regents.

Other colleges are rolling out offering a social justice major, too.

Loyola University in Chicago philosophy majors can choose an emphasis in social justice. Amusingly, students enrolling in these higher-level social-justice courses must have completed “one lower level philosophy course in the metaphysics or epistemology group, including Being Human but not Logic.”

Brandeis University offers a social-justice program where the core course is on “protest, politics and change.” And Eastern Kentucky University’s program urges students to “forget the common ‘What do you want to do as a career?’ quandary. . . [and ask] instead, ‘Who do you want to be and what role do you want to play in developing a more just world?’”

Art history majors rejoice: There’s now an even more unemployable field of study.

— Jillian Kay Melchior writes for Heat Street and is a fellow for the Steamboat Institute and the Independent Women’s Forum.

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