OWU Offers ‘Social Justice’ Major With Mandatory ‘Activism’ Work
A university in Ohio is offering a “social justice major” to students, aiming to “cultivate…the knowledge and skills needed to analyze social injustices.”
Ohio Wesleyan University is offering the major to undergraduate students who are interested in creating social change through activism, stating that the major gives students the skills to “reflect critically on the meaning of social justice” on multiple levels.
“Through this interdisciplinary major, students will develop the knowledge and skills to reflect critically on the meaning of social justice at both the local and global levels, examine the dynamics of societal conflicts and struggles for social justice within and among various groups and institutions, and apply interdisciplinary perspectives at multiple levels of analysis,” states the description for the major.
In addition to coursework, the major requires that each student does work outside of class, which includes an “activism” project.
“Students will be required to supplement their classwork with a more experientially-oriented activist project, and will be encouraged to further participate in a travel-learning course, theory-to-practice grant, and other service projects,” states the description.
The university contends that these activism components of the major which take place outside of the classroom will give students the chance to build career-related skills, such as “community organizing, working with and mediating diverse social groups, presenting ideas in professional forums, and managing real-world projects.”
Course requirements to obtain a “Social Justice Major” include “Teaching for Social Justice,” and a choice between a variety of courses such as “Contemporary Feminist Theory,” “Social Inequality,” “Feminist Philosophy,” and more.
Contemporary feminist theory, for example, aims to study far-left versions of feminism, including “marxist feminism” and “socialist feminism.”
“Often U.S. contemporary feminist theory is characterized as a typology of theories (sometimes assumed to be distinct and separate from each other) that follows a linear chronology such as: liberal feminism, Marxist feminism, socialist feminism, radical feminist, ecofeminism, queer feminism, postcolonial/ global feminism, postmodern/poststructuralist feminism, feminist ethnography, and critical race or “woman of color” feminism (or as first, second, and third wave feminisms),” states the course description.
In addition, the course “Teaching for Social Justice” is a required course for all social justice majors.
Greg Margevicius, a student at Ohio Wesleyan University, told Campus Reform that the program isn’t something he’d personally enjoy, but understands why some students may want to pursue it.
“I think that the wide breadth of student interests will result in some students wanting to study the subject,” Margevicius said.
Margevicius also added that while he does not believe the major will prepare students for some professions, he contends there is less of an emphasis on what a potential employee’s major is.
“While it may not prepare students adequately for some professions, I think that a lot of employers are less concerned with a potential employee’s major and are more concerned with that student’s work ethic and experience,” Margevicius said, adding that students majoring in social justice could go to work for non-profits.
Campus Reform reached out to Ohio Wesleyan University but did not receive a response in time for publication.