Harper College


The Basics

To earn the Social Justice Studies (SJS) distinction, you must successfully complete at least 3 SJS course sections in addition to the Social Transformation Capstone (CAP201). The SJS course schedule is carefully designed to allow you to complete the distinction alongside your degree. Aside from CAP201, you are welcome to choose any SJS course sections that fit your interests and goals.

What to Expect

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.

All Harper students are encouraged to enroll in Social Justice Studies course sections and to participate in SJS programming at Harper. 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.”


The Social Transformation Capstone (CAP201) must be successfully completed in order to earn the SJS Graduate Distinction. You are eligible to enroll in CAP201 once you have completed at least two other Social Justice Studies (SJS) course sections (see below).

  • Instructor: Eric Bohman
  • Banner Title: CAP201-001: Social Transformation Capstone (2 Credit) or CAP201-002: Social Transformation Capstone (3 credit)
  • Modality (PoT): Blended/Hyflex (16 weeks)
  • Meeting Time: TBD
  • Credits: 2 (no service/experiential learning component) or3 (includes service/experiential learning component)
  • Theme: Focuses on developing project design and management skills for the purposes of analyzing global movements and/or addressing social justice problems and solutions. Special emphasis will be given to interdisciplinary questions, methods, and applications related to information literacy, intercultural communication and collaboration, critical thinking, and civic engagement. Students will have the opportunity to reflect on their personal, professional and academic journeys with the goal of applying acquired knowledge toward fostering justice-oriented social transformation. ebohman@harpercollege.edu
    Prerequisites: Students must complete at least two SJS course sections to enroll in the capstone course. For special exceptions, contact instructor.
    [Students must complete CAP201 to earn the SJS Distinction.] 
    [CAP201 will also be offered every Fall and Spring semester.]

Current SJS Courses

The following course sections will be offered in Fall '24. Courses that also fulfill the World Cultures and Diversity requirement are listed with a "+".


  • Instructor: Judi Nitsch
  • Banner Title: ENG101-SJ1: Composition/Soc Justice
  • Modality (PoT): Online Asynchronous (16 Weeks)
  • Meeting Time: N/A
  • Credits: 3
  • Theme: Welcome! In this course, 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 mnitsch@harpercollege.edu. I look forward to working with you! 
    [English 101 will be every Fall. ENG102 will be offered every Spring.]
  • Instructor: Isaiah Carrington
  • Banner Title: SPE101-SJ1: Fund of Speech/Soc Justice
  • Modality (PoT): Face-to-Face (16 Weeks)
  • Meeting Time: Online Aysnchronous
  • Credits: 3
  • Theme: Public speaking’s history is rooted in social justice movements. From the I Have a Dream Speech to advocacy around the world, speaking in front of an audience is a necessary skill to drive change in the world. In this course students will develop the skills to present impactful discourse through using their own personal identities and stories to advocate for the change they want to see in the world. This course will require students to analyze their own voice, and to consider which voices are amplified, and which voices are silenced. Embrace the ethos of allyship as we navigate the intricate web of human rights advocacy together, fostering an environment where open-mindedness thrives and perspectives flourish. ci12612@harpercollege.edu

Physical & Life Sciences

  • Instructor: Virginia Turner
  • Banner Title: BIO103-SJB: Humans/Environment/Soc Justice
  • Modality (PoT): Blended (16 weeks)
  • Meeting Time: Thursday, R 9:30am-10:45am
  • Credits: 3
  • Theme: How do social justice and environmental justice intersect? How have past actions shaped our environment and use of natural resources, and how are current actions shaping our future? Can we, as members of this planet, equitably utilize the available resources? In this course, meant for non-science majors, students will learn the fundamentals of environmental science, the history of the environmental movement, and about those instrumental in shaping environmental policies, both globally and in the United States. Bring your perspectives and join us as we explore and discuss these globally critical issues while expanding our worldview as it relates to our environment. vturner@harpercollege.edu
  • Instructor: Virginia Mchugh-Kurtz
  • Banner Title: BIO120-SJ1: Plants/Society/Soc Justice
  • Modality (PoT): Face-to-Face (16 weeks)
  • Meeting Time: Tuesday/Thursday, 11am-12:15pm (lecture) and 12:30-1:45pm (lab)
  • Credits: 4
  • Theme: this course 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 vmchughk@harpercollege.edu

    [BIO120 will also be offered in Spring ‘25.]
  • Instructor: Joseph Wachter
  • Banner Title: CHM103-SJ1: Chem Connection/Soc Justice
  • Modality (PoT): Face-to-Face (16 weeks)
  • Meeting Time: Monday/Wednesday, 2pm-4:45pm (Lecture/Lab)
  • Credits: 4
  • Theme: Did you know that the Ancient Greek root of “pharmacy,” pharmakon (φάρμακον), means both medicine and poison? In this lab science course, meant for non-science majors, students will explore the social nature of chemistry by asking questions like: 
    What is the difference between medicine and poison? 
    Can chemicals be good? Bad? Neutral? 
    Who gets to decide? 
    Who has access to good chemicals? Bad ones? 
    Who is punished or rewarded for using certain chemicals? 
    Exploring these questions will take students on a tour of the chemical world, from the environmental chemistry of plastic waste, water quality, and climate change to the chemistry of drugs, medicines, poisons, and explosives, while also learning the fundamentals of chemistry in a lab-focused setting. Jwachter@harpercollege.edu

Humanities & Fine Arts

  • Instructor: Michael Bentley
  • Banner Title: HUM107-SJW: Cultures of Africa/Soc Justice
  • Modality (PoT): Online Asynchronous (Late start - 13 weeks)
  • Meeting Time: N/A
  • Credits: 3
  • Theme: in this course we will explore how three ideologies, which were each essential to the African Independence Movement (Negritude, Afrocentrism, and Pan-Africanism) have empowered scholars, artists, and freedom fighters across the African diaspora to remember and re-imagine what it means to be African, to be human, and to be free. Students will have the opportunity to explore how these ideas challenge and empower them to think more critically about their own identities and their relationship to power. IAI HF 904N. mbentley@harpercollege.edu
    [HUM107 will also be offered in Spring '25.]
  • Instructor: Andre Berchiolly
  • Banner Title: LIT112-SJW: Literature Film/Soc Justice
  • Modality (PoT): Online Asynchronous (16 weeks)
  • Meeting Time: N/A
  • Theme: In this course we will explore the historical and cultural context of film adaptations over time and in relation to social justice. This course will allow the opportunity to engage with original texts and ideas (the spirit of the text) and the context of representation relating to contemporary, modern, and post-modern adaptations. We will also look into social media responses (public discourse) relating to representation in film adaptation. We will explore such questions as: how are different aspects of society and culture represented in literature and film; how do culture and society influence adaptation; how, where, and when do you see yourself represented in media; and how do dominant and non-dominant cultures use aberchio@harpercollege.edu.

  • Instructor: Rebecca Scott
  • Banner Title: PHI105-SJ1: Intro/Philosophy/Soc Justice
  • Modality (PoT): Face-to-Face
  • Meeting Time: Monday/Wednesday, 9:30am-10:45am 
  • Credits: 3
  • Theme: in this course, 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. 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. rscott1@harpercollege.edu
    [PHI105 will be offered every Fall. PHI101 will be offered in Spring.] 

  • Instructor: Maham Khan
  • Banner Title: MCM130-SJ6 – Intro to Journal/Soc Justice
  • Modality (PoT): Face-to-Face (Late start - 13 weeks)
  • Meeting Time: Tuesday/Thursday, 1pm-2:40pm
  • Credits: 3
  • Theme: This “Introduction to Journalism” section will be an exploration of the journalism industry’s role in the writing of history and storytelling—and how that has both empowered and damaged the causes and voices of marginalized groups throughout modern times. We will take a critical look at how news media then influences the social nature of justice through simplified schemas, builds “heroes” and “villains” and examine micro-level biases. Students will observe case studies and writing samples from journalism platforms that serve as poignant moments in the evolution of social justice work while also learning the professional process of reporting and writing. Students will also be introduced to minority media and content providers that they may normally lack access to due to knowledge, issues of trust, bias, or geography. Students will get to learn how to use writing as a powerful mechanism for advocacy and change by addressing topics relevant to them and to the Harper College community. The experience in this course will place students in the center of social justice work by doing it—through the writing and reporting process and journeying to the realization that their voice matters. mkhan3@harpercollege.edu
  • Instructor: Sadie Hochman-Ruiz
  • Banner Title: MUS110-SJ1– Amer Music: HipHop/Soc Justice 
  • Modality (PoT): Face-to-Face (16 weeks)
  • Meeting Time: Wednesday 11am-3:30pm (Lecture/Lab) 
  • Credits: 3
  • Theme: In MUS110, students will examine racial justice and intersectionality through the lens of hip-hop. The course will guide students in placing hip-hop within the history of African American musical expression and unearth its roots in musical practice. Students follow the evolution of hip-hop practice as a guide to examine the history of African American people in the post-Civil Rights Era. This course combines theory with practice. For their final assignments, students will have the opportunity to write a research paper and to create original beats in the music department’s electronic music studio. hs24908@harpercollege.edu

Social & Behavioral Sciences

  • Instructor: Amaziah Finley
  • Banner Title: ANT101-SJ1: Intro to Anthro/Soc Justice
  • Modality (PoT): Face-to-Face (16 weeks)
  • Meeting Time: Monday/Wednesday, 9:30am-10:45am
  • Credits: 3
  • Theme: This introduction to Anthropology class explores the four fields in a way that actively unravels ethnocentrism, which is the belief that one's own culture is superior to others. By understanding and appreciating the diversity of cultures worldwide, anthropology can help individuals develop a more open-minded and empathetic perspective towards others. We explore the colonial origins of the discipline, unified human development, primatology, Paleoanthropology, archeology, language, fieldwork and culture, global economy, medical anthropology, religion, intersectionality, race, gender, and cultural relativism. For the final project, students will be asked to create a portfolio of resistance and reflection to that their voices matter. fa17019@harpercollege.edu
    [ANT101 will be offered every Fall. ANT202 will be offered in Spring.]
  • Instructor: Malathy Chandrasekar
  • Banner Title: ECO212-SJB:  Macroeconomics/Soc Justice
  • Modality (PoT): Face-to-Face (16 weeks)
  • Meeting Time: Wednesday 9:30am-10:45am
  • Credits: 3
  • Theme:  Is economic inequality a necessary evil, or can it be effectively addressed without compromising economic growth? Can macroeconomic policy be designed to prioritize the needs of marginalized communities and promote social justice, or does it inherently favor the interests of the wealthy? In this social justice section of ECO212, we will explore how social justice can be achieved through macroeconomics. Together we will learn about the intricacies of GDP, unemployment, inflation, fiscal and monetary policies, and international relations as we embark on a journey to unravel the complexities of our global economy. Join us and be part of the conversation that's shaping the future of economics and social justice worldwide! mchandra@harpercollege.edu
  • Instructor: Monica Edwards
  • Banner Title: SOC101-SJ1: Sociology/Soc Justice
  • Modality (PoT): Online Asynchronous (16 weeks)
  • Meeting Time: N/A
  • Credits: 3
  • Theme: 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. medwards@harpercollege.edu


  • Instructor: DuBoi McCarty
  • Banner Title: DIV101-SJB: Diversity in US/Soc Justice
  • Modality (PoT): TBD
  • Meeting Time: TBD
  • Credits: 3
  • Theme: In DIV 101, students will examine their intersecting identities while discussing dimensions of their own culture. The cultural and historical experiences of socially marginalized groups in the United States are also explored. Students will analyze the dynamics of prejudice and discrimination between groups and the impact of social power differences on peoples’ lives. Human rights, social change and social movements will be introduced. 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 issue of their choosing with instructor approval. dmccarty@harpercollege.edu

  • Instructor: Kelly Coronado
  • Banner Title: LNG105-SJ6: INT To LNG/LING/Soc Justice
  • Modality (PoT): Blended (Late start - 13 weeks)
  • Meeting Time: Monday 5:30pm-7:10pm
  • Credits: 3
  • Theme: this course explores language and focuses on issues of social justice in English language education in the U.S.—Specifically, we will study language origins, properties, use, structure, and meaning. Through studying sound, word-formation, and syntactic systems, we will look at language hierarchies in American society and how one’s language proficiency is attached to one’s worth in society. Students will learn and research past and current pedagogy used for bilingual education through a critical lens to address equity gaps in the different models and try to determine best practices for equitable English language education. kcoronad@harpercollege.edu

For more information, contact the Social Justice Studies Coordinator:

Michael Bentley




Last Updated: 6/4/24