Social Justice Studies Course Sections

All Harper students are encouraged to enroll in Social Justice Studies course sections and to participate in SJS programming at Harper. Each semester, a cluster of special Social Justice Studies course sections will be offered. These courses are specially designed to engage students in an ongoing dialogue about the meaning of social justice and in an exploration of the most compassionate, equitable, and inclusive practices and strategies for achieving more just societies. The content of these courses provides opportunities for students to explore how their individual identities, cultural backgrounds, and chosen disciplines situate them in relation to systems of power and privilege. Enrollment in these courses will also offer students an opportunity to form meaningful relationships with instructors and fellow students who share their desire to co-create a more just and sustainable future.

Social Justice Studies course sections will be designated in the course schedule by an “SJ” course section notation and a specialized title. Example: “ENG101-SJ1: Composition I/Social Justice.”

Required Courses

9 out of the 12 required credit hours must come from the following required Social Justice Studies course sections:

  • ENG101 - Composition I/Social Justice or 
    ENG102 - Composition II/Social Justice
  • DIV101- Exploring Diversity in the US/Social Justice 
  • SOC101 - Intro to Sociology/Social Justice or
    ANT101 - Intro to Anthropology/Social Justice

Required Social Justice Studies course sections offered in Fall 2023

  • Instructor: Judi Nitsch
  • Banner Title: ENG101-5SJ: Composition/Social Justice // ENG095-5SJ: Supplement/Social Justice
  • Modality (PoT): Online Asynchronous (16 weeks)
  • Meeting Time: N/A
  • Description: Welcome! In this asynchronous online ENG 101 section, we will explore social justice in the context of our cultural identities. Specifically, students choose one of their cultural identities as a lens and then consider what (in)justice looks like in their culture, what problems impede justice in their culture, and what solutions could remove those impediments from their culture. I enact socially-just policies in my course, so know that you will be given lots of support and opportunity to grapple with these difficult and exciting topics. If you would like to see my syllabus or if you have questions about the course, don’t hesitate to email me at I look forward to working with you!

    [ENG102: Composition II/Social Justice will be offered in Spring '23.]
  • Instructor: Karin Lacour-Rivers
  • Banner Title: DIV101-SJB: Diversity in US/Social Justice
  • Modality (PoT): Blended (16 weeks)
  • Meeting Time: W 2-3:15pm
  • Description: In DIV 101 for Fall 2022, the focus is on exploring culture and other diversity issues and topics utilizing an interactive personal development format. Students will examine their intersecting identities while discussing dimensions of their own culture. The culture and historical experiences of social affinity groups related to Ability, Gender, Sexual Orientation, Religion, and Race//Ethnicity in the United States are also explored. Students will also analyze the dynamics of prejudice and discrimination between groups and the impact of social power differences on peoples’ lives. The experiential nature of this course will give students the opportunity to dialogue about diversity and social justice topics and to develop skills necessary to interact effectively in a diverse society. Students will complete a final course assignment addressing a diversity or social justice topic of their choosing with instructor approval. Fulfills World Cultures and Diversity requirement.

    [DIV101 will also be offered in Spring '23.]
  • Instructor: Monica Edwards
  • Banner Title: SOC101-SJ1: Sociology/Social Justice
  • Modality (PoT): Face-to-Face (16 weeks)
  • Meeting Time/Place: T/Th 12:30-1:45 in J-165B 
  • Description: In our time together we will engage in analysis of the structure and dynamics of human society.  We will explore theoretical and empirical work to observe and analyze social norms, groups, intergroup relations, social change, social stratification, and institutions.  This course will dive into questions of social organization, social change, and social justice through an exploration of the intersection of food systems and systemic racism; we will do so with a focus on outcomes related to the climate crisis and Covid pandemic.  Emerging from sociological analyses of our complex interdependence is a push for compassion and solidarity; as such, the policies of the class will reflect this larger sociological--and feminist--ethos of care.  IAI S7 900.  3 Credit Hours.  Open Educational Resources, Social/Behavioral Sci-AA/AS, Sociology Elective, Social/Behavioral Sciences-AAS, World Culture and Diversity.

    [SOC101 will also be offered in Spring '23.]


The additional 3 required credit hours can be chosen from any available Social Justice Studies course sections.

Social Justice Studies electives offered in Fall 2022:

  • Instructor: Virginia Mchugh-Kurtz
  • Banner Title: BIO120-SJB: Plants/Society/Social Justice
  • Modality (PoT): Blended (16 weeks)
  • Meeting Time/Place: W 12:30-3pm in Avante/Z-225
  • Description: This blended section of Biology 120: Plants & Society - Social Justice Studies focuses on the form and function of plants, their diversity, and the economic and environmental impacts of plants in our everyday lives and in society. The theme of this SJS course will be Cannabis and Society. Students will explore the botanical nature, history, environmental impact, public policy, and social disparities of Cannabis. A main component of the course will be focusing on the “War on Drugs,” decriminalization of Cannabis, policy reform, and racial justice. BIO 120 (IAI L1 901L) fulfills the life science lab requirement for AS and AA degrees.  I look forward to exploring the twisted history of Cannabis with you. If you have questions about the course, don’t hesitate to email me at
  • Instructor: Rebecca Scott
  • Banner Title: PHI105-SJ1: Intro/Philosophy/Social Justic
  • Modality (PoT): Face-to-Face (16 weeks)
  • Meeting Time/Place: T/Th 9:30-10:45am in L-221
  • Description: In this face-to-face Social Justice Studies section of PHI 105: Introduction to Philosophy, we will explore a range of philosophical principles and problems of philosophy as seen in different schools of thought, particularly as they relate to the theme of justice. Beginning with Plato's construction of an ideal city in the Republic and inspired by abolitionist calls for a radical reimagining of political possibility, we will explore our own conceptions of justice by engaging in a creative, collaborative world-building project. Throughout the semester, we will work together as a class to reimagine what justice might look like through the creation of a fictional world that represents our own conceptions of justice. Specific topics will be based on student interest but may include things such as religious belief, education and knowledge, the ontology of race and gender, (dis)ability, human choice and accountability, love and marriage practices, the value of art, and more. IAI H4 900. 

    [A different PHI course (tbd) will be offered in Spring ‘23.]
  • Instructor: Michael Bentley
  • Banner Title: HUM110-SJW: Women and Creativity/Social Justice
  • Modality (PoT): Online Synchronous (Final 12 weeks)
  • Meeting Time: T 2-3:40pm
  • Description: In this synchronous section of HUM 110 we will explore how activist art and autobiography have been used as powerful tools for representing and reshaping our world. In particular, we will consider how Feminist art and autobiography have long served as forms of activism which aim to creatively illustrate the oppressions and opportunities peculiar to womanhood, while also seeking to creatively diminish oppression and enhance opportunity. We will study the life, work, and ideas of intersectional feminist and womanist artist-activists who have actively sought to re-envision the relationship between their womanhood and their world. In the process, you will explore how your own identity and experience influence your assumptions and expectations about the role of art and artists in today's world. Finally, you will have an opportunity to experiment with the creative power of telling your own story. Fulfills Humanities and Fine Arts Requirement. IAI HF 907D. If you have questions about the course, don’t hesitate to email me at
    [A different HUM course (tbd) will be offered in Spring ‘23.]
Last Updated: 6/24/22