Spring 2020

Dr. Brittany P. Battle


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Conceptualizing Social Justice

Guiding Questions for this Unit:

v  How do we define Social Justice? How does this definition connect to how we define other related concepts, such as diversity, inclusion, culture, identity, and respect?

v  What is the role of Social Justice in academia, and in the social sciences and humanities more specifically? How does this relate to Lorde’s quote about doing battle where we are?

v  How is knowledge production influenced by power? Why is this important?

v  What areas of academic study are connected to Social Justice pursuits? What are the links and how are there “cracks” in these links?


Tuesday, January 14 – Course Introduction & Conceptualizing Social Justice


Thursday, January 16 – Social Justice in Academia

*Collins, Patricia Hill. 2013. Truth Telling and Intellectual Activism. Contexts 12(1):36-41.

*Lorde, Audre. 2009 (Paper delivered 1977). The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action. I Am Your Sister: Collected and Unpublished Writings of Audre Lorde.


Tuesday, January 21 – Social Justice in Academia
 *Watch Mary Romero’s American Sociological Association Annual Meeting 2019 Presidential Plenary. Sociology Engaged in Social Justice. American Sociological Association Available at (start at 1:03:30).


Thursday, January 23 – Social Justice in Academia 
 *Cole, Nikki Lisa. 2017. Sociologists Take Historic Stand on Racism and Police Brutality: Open Letter Addresses National Crisis. Available at


Tuesday, January 28 – Studio Art, Guest Lecture 


Thursday, January 30 – Interdisciplinary Humanities, Guest Lecture 


Social Justice in Social Theory

Guiding Questions for this Unit:

v  What does a critical approach to social theory represent? What are the threads which connect different theories under this branch? What are their distinctions?

v  Are critical social theories inherently linked to social justice? What are the ethical consequences of such a link or lack thereof?

v  How does (critical) social theory inform data collection? How do we use (critical) social theory in other ways?


Tuesday, February 4 – Conceptualizing Critical Social Theory
*Collins, Patricia Hill. 2019. Chapter 2: What’s Critical About Critical Social Theory? (Pgs. 54-84). Intersectionality as Critical Social Theory.


Thursday, February 6 – Black Feminist Thought
*Collins, Patricia Hill. 2000. Distinguishing Features of Black Feminist Thought (pgs. 24-48). Black Feminist Thought.


Tuesday, February 11 – Intersectionality
*Coaston, Jane. 2019. The Intersectionality Wars. Available at
Recommended Reading(s):
*Crenshaw, Kimberlé. 1991. Mapping the Margins. Stanford Law Review, 43(6): 1241-1299.


Thursday, February 13 – Intersectionality
*Collins, Patricia Hill. 2019. Chapter 8: Intersectionality without Social Justice? (Pgs. 253-287). Intersectionality as Critical Social Theory.       


Tuesday, February 18 – Queer Theory
*Cohen, Cathy C. 2005 Punks, Bulldaggers, and Welfare Queens: The Radical Potential of Queer Politics (Pgs. 21-51). In Black Queer Studies.


Thursday, February 20 – Queer Theory
*Mignon, Moore. 2018. Challenges, Triumphs, and Praxis: Collecting Qualitative Data on Less Visible and Marginalized Populations (Pgs. 169-184). In Other, Please Specify: Queer Methods in Sociology.


Social Justice in Research Methods

Guiding Questions for this Unit:

v  Does social justice-oriented research require the use of particular methods?

v  How does social justice-oriented research navigate ethical dilemmas? What are the ethical requirements of this body of research?

v  Are questions of bias and/or lack of objectivity significant in social justice-oriented research?

v  How are narratives important in social justice-oriented research? Is this different from mainstream research?


Tuesday, February 25 – Creative Projects 
Assignment: T-shirt Designs


Thursday, February 27 – Self-Care Day 


Tuesday, March 3 – Innovative Research Methods
Assignment: Self-Care is Political
*Hitchens, Brooklynn. 2019. Girl Fights and the Online Media Construction of Black Female Violence and Sexuality. Feminist Criminology, 14(2): 173-197.


Thursday, March 5 – Community Based Research
*Speights, Joedrecka S. Brown, et al. 2017. Engaging African American Women in Research: An Approach to Eliminate Health Disparities in the African American Community. Family Practice, 34(3): 322-329.


Friday, March 6 – Midterm Podcast Assignment Due by 5pm

Tuesday, March 10 & Thursday, March 12 – Spring Break…Have a great time!


Tuesday, March 17 – Mixed Methods
*Harris, Alexes. 2016. Chapter 1: The Criminal Justice System and Monetary Sanctions (Pgs. 20-32). Pound of Flesh: Monetary Sanctions as Punishment for the Poor.           


Thursday, March 19 – Critical Ethnography/Phenomenological Research
*PUSHOUT Documentary trailer. (
*PUSHOUT: A Discussion About the Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools. (
Recommended Reading(s):
*Morris, Monique. 2015. Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools.
*Jones, Nikki. 2009. Between Good and Ghetto: African American Girls and Inner-City Violence.
*Shedd, Carla. 2015. Unequal City: Race, Schools, and Perceptions of Injustice.


Tuesday, March 24 – Personal Essay
*Cottom, Tressie McMillan. 2019. Dying to Be Competent (Pgs. 73-98). Thick.


Thursday, March 26 – Personal Essay/Autoethnography  

*Cooper, Brittney. 2018. Capital B, Capital F (Pgs. 9-38). Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower.
Recommended Reading(s):
*Griffin, Rachel Alicia. 2012. I AM an Angry Black Woman: Black Feminist Autoethnography, Voice, and Resistance. Women’s Studies in Communication, 35: 138–157.


Social Justice in Practice

Guiding Questions for this Unit:

v  What is the place of love in the movement for social justice? What is the place of rage? Are these (collective) emotions (and others) in opposition?

v  How did Black feminism evolve over time?

v  How do past and contemporary movements for social justice fit with academic principles/values? How do they push back against them?

v  What tools can we use in the movement for social justice? What are our ethical obligations in using these tools? How do we define our audience?

v  Where do we go from here? What does social justice work look like in the future? What is our role?


Tuesday, March 31 – Social Justice Movement Strategy
*Brown, Adrienne Maree. Intentional Adaptation (Pgs. 44-49) and Tools for Emergent Strategy Facilitation & Principles (Pgs. 131-138). Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds.


Thursday, April 2 – Ethics of Social Justice Movement
*hooks, bell. 1995. Killing Rage: Militant Resistance (Pgs. 8-20). Killing Rage, Ending Racism.
*hooks, bell. 2000. Chapter 6: Values-Living By a Love Ethic (Pgs 85-102). All About Love.
Recommended Reading(s):
*Lorde, Audre. 1981. The Uses of Anger: Women Responding to Racism Keynote Lecture.


Tuesday, April 7 – Origins of Black Feminist Movements
*Cooper, Anna Julia. 1892. Womanhood a Vital Element in the Regeneration and Progress of a Race (Pgs. 1-19). A Voice From the South.
Recommended Reading(s):
*Powell, Amber Joy and Caity Curry. 2019. Unearthing Black Women’s Early Contributions to Sociology. The Society Pages. (
*Ransby, Barbara. 2003. Ella Baker & the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision.
*Wells, Ida B. (2014…essays from late 1800s). The Light of Truth: Writings of an Anti-Lynching Campaign.


Thursday, April 9 – Recent Social Justice Movements (fishbowl discussion)
*Davis, Angela. 2003. Assigned chapter and Chapter 6: Abolitionist Alternatives (Pgs. 105-115). Are Prisons Obsolete?


Tuesday, April 14 – Contemporary Social Justice Movements
*Khan-Cullors, Patrisse and asha bandele. 2018. Chapter 11: Black Lives Matter (Pgs. 166-181). When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir.
Recommended Reading(s):
*Taylor, Keeanga-Yamahtta. 2016. From #BlackLivesMattter to Black Liberation.
*Davis, Angela. 2016. Freedom is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement.

Thursday, April 16 – Role of Social Media

*Anderson, Monica; Skye Toor; Lee Rainie; and Aaron Smith. 2018. Activism in the Social Media Age (3 pages…toggle through pages at bottom of page). Pew Research Center Report. Available at


Tuesday, April 21 – Future Directions
*Read the mission statement of an organization with which you feel connected. Reflect on the statement and be prepared to present an overview of the statement and your thoughts in class.


Thursday, April 23 – Final Project Preparation 


Friday, April 24 – Opening Reception


Tuesday, April 28 – Course Reflection