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Education and Social Justice Minor


Many students at Western are interested in working with children and youth in a variety of settings to foster social justice. This program will provide students, who may or may not be seeking teacher certification, the opportunity to study about how to address equity issues in a variety of educational settings.

The Education and Social Justice (ESJ) Minor integrates theory and practice (praxis) to equip students with the skills and knowledge for understanding the complex relations of culture, power, systems of oppression, and movements for social justice, particularly as it connects to children, youth, and schooling. As an interdisciplinary program, the ESJ Minor draws on a range of critical theories (both scholarly and grassroots-movement based) to frame and address economic inequality and poverty; corporate and state power; settler colonialism and imperialism; war and state violence; environmental harm; consumerism and commodification; and struggles over space, place, and territory. 

Courses in the ESJ Minor span a variety of areas where human dignity, freedom, and solidarity are at stake. Key themes that thread through the program include: critical and decolonizing theories and pedagogies, the social and political context of schools, the construction of individual and collective identities, mechanisms of social and cultural reproduction, and forms of resistance and political movement building for social change. 

Students may declare the ESJ Minor by contacting the director, Veronica Velez, or Elaine Mehary.

For FAIR coursework, a narrative evaluation is required; other coursework must be completed with a grade of C- or better.

32 Credits Required

Required Core Courses (12 credits)

  • ESJ 411 Education and Social Justice (4) (formerly EDUC 411)
  • FAIR 314E Critical Pedagogy (4)
  • AMST 301 or FAIR 366E Comparative Cultural Studies (4)

Social/Political Context (at least one course)

  • ELED 310, or SEC 310, or SPED 310, or EDUC 310 Education, Culture & Equity (4)
  • FAIR 319B Current Topics in the Law (topic approved by advisor) (4)
  • FAIR 336B Topics in Social Issues (topic approved by advisor) (4)
  • SOC 361 Sociology of Education (5)
  • ANTH 484 Intercultural Education (5)

Equity Pedagogy (at least one course)

  • ELED 464 or AMST 464 Multicultural Education for Teachers (4)
  • FAIR 336B Topics in Social Issues (topic approved by advisor) (4)
  • FAIR 311C Alternatives in Education (4)
  • EDUC 412 or AMST 412 Seminar in Educational Equity (4)
  • EDUC 413 or AMST 413 Bridging Barriers with Migrant Youth (4)

Children & Youth in Society (at least one course)

  • FAIR 322M Childhood in America: Memoir & Memory (4)
  • SOC 380 Sociology of Youth (5)
  • FAIR 448T Risk/Resilience Adolescent Girls (4)
  • ECE 435 Child Abuse & Neglect (4)
  • FAIR 336B Topics in Social Issues (topic approved by advisor) (4)
  • HSP 315 Human Development & Human Services (4)
  • PSY 332 Adolescent Development (5)

Identity in Culture (at least one course)

  • AMST 314 Contemporary Latino/a Issues (4)
  • AMST 316 Contemporary African American Issues (4)
  • ANTH 481 Childhood & Culture (5)
  • COMM 260 Communication, Identity and Difference (5)
  • EDUC 310, or SEC 310, or ELED 310, or SPED 310 Education, Culture & Equity (4)
  • FAIR 312E Transgender Identities and Histories (4)
  • FAIR 313E Queer Issues in Education (4)
  • FAIR 336B Topics in Social Issues (topic approved by advisor) (4)
  • FAIR 374B Cultural Creation of Identity (4)
  • FAIR 436B Adv Topics in Social Issues (topic approved by advisor) (4)
  • HSP 455 Diversity & Social Justice Dynamics (4)
  • SAA 375 Diversity in Higher Education (4)
  • SOC 369 Sociology of Race & Ethnicity (5)
  • AMST 315 or FAIR 399B Contemporary American Indian Issues (4)

Praxis/Capstone (4 credits)

  • EDUC 414 or FAIR 414D Special Topics in Social Justice Education (4)