Barbara Ransby lecturing at the Global Activism Expo

Social Justice Courses

& Programs of Study

Students learning at Foof Justice Event

The study of social justice encompasses the critical analysis of political, cultural, and social systems and movements connected to inequities, both in the US and around the world. UIC offers over 200 undergraduate and graduate courses that address various aspects of social justice. We are in the process of establishing a Social Justice Minor in the College of Liberal Arts and Science, which will include two new social justice courses.

In the meantime, some of UIC’s current social justice course offerings include:

(Please consult UIC’s course catalogue for information on instructors and when courses are offered.)

AAST/CLJ/SOC 271 African Americans & the Politics of Incarceration
PHL 112 Morality & The Law
GWS 262 Constructions of Gender, Race, Health, and Human Rights
HPA 402 Social Ethics & Public Health
LALS 380 Social Movements in Latin America
ASAM 458 Asian America & Transnational Feminism
Social Justice Courses offered at UIC


College of Architecture & The Arts


ARCH 504 Ethics in Health Design

An understanding of the ethical foundations of health design. Including multi-cultural definitions of health. Issues of sustainable design; universal design; health equity; global access to health; gender equality; and health as a human right.

College of Applied Health Sciences

College of Applied Health Sciences

AHS 495 Urban Health Multicultural Seminar

Students attend multicultural and urban health-related seminars, participate in faculty-student discussion, academic presentations, and directed reading groups to integrate issues of cultural difference into students' professional development. Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grading only.


Disability & Human Development

DHD 535 Advocacy and Empowerment in Disability

In-depth review of academic literature on advocacy and empowerment. Relevant theories, research, and interventions in the context of individuals with disabilities will be reviewed.

DHD 584 International Human Rights, Policy and Disability

Provides an overview of international human rights, policy and disability. Focus on historical, moral, legal and economic discourses of human rights for people with disabilities. Emphasis on comparative analysis of rights, policy and disability. This course has an online component for all students.

DHD 584 International Human Rights, Policy and Disability

Provides an overview of international human rights, policy and disability. Focus on historical, moral, legal and economic discourses of human rights for people with disabilities. Emphasis on comparative analysis of rights, policy and disability. This course has an online component for all students.


Occupational Therapy

OT 550 Disability in the Urban Environment

 Features of urban contexts that influence experiences of persons with disabilities are examined as they exacerbate problems or enhance resources in low income communities.

College of Education


College of Education

ED 258 Bilingualism and Cross-Cultural Issues in a Diverse Society

 Provides an introduction to the key issues and concepts related to the study of bilingualism. Effective instruction of linguisti­cally and culturally diverse stu­dents will be discussed.


Curriculum & Instruction

ED 258 Bilingualism and Cross-Cultural Issues in a Diverse Society

Provides an introduction to the key issues and concepts related to the study of bilingualism. Effective instruction of linguisti­cally and culturally diverse stu­dents will be discussed.

ED 222 Introduction to Gender, Sexuality, and Education

 Introductory and cross-disciplin­ary examination of issues related to gender and sexuality in education. Individual and Society, U.S. Society.

CI 515 Urban Youth Program Evaluation

Analysis of the impact of social trends and problems on urban youth. Evaluation of urban youth programs with emphasis on affective and moral dimensions.

CI 518 Race, Identity, and Agency in Mathematics and Science Education

Explores an emerging literature that is situated at the intersection of scholarship on race, identity, and critical mathematics and science education. Participants will analyze the theories and methods that inform these literatures. 

CI 549 "Teaching for Social Justice"

 Critical Pedagogy: Practice and Theory: Examine theory and practice of social justice teaching in schools, including: history liberatory pedagogies, culturally relevant and critical pedagogies, funds of knowledge, critical multiculturalism and anti-racist pedagogy, critical race theory. Same as EDPS 549.

CI 522 Social Context of Mathematics Education

 Examination of contextual, social, and linguistic factors which influence the learning of mathematics; emphasis on sociohistorical and activity theories; and equity in schooling.


Educational Policy Studies

EDPS 361

Education in Urban Context


Politics of Gender, Sex & Education

EDPS 588 Critical Race Theory: Race and Racism in Education

 Examines theories of race and racism in education within the interdisciplinary construct of Critical Race Theory.


Honors College

HON 123 Diversity I & II

Diversity and Cultural Identity

HON 123 Education and Social Justice I

 The Influence of John Dewey on American Education

HON 125 Biography and Identity II

The World of Refugees: World War II to the Present: Understanding the Past, Exploring World Cultures.

HON 201

The Role of Music in Social and Political Change


College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

African American Studies

AAST 103 African American Politics and Culture

Survey of African American political and cultural activism from the Black Convention Movement of the 1830's to contemporary times. Same as POLS 112. Individual and Society, US Society.

AAST 104 Race, Place, and Schooling

African Americans and Education: Examination of the social, political, cultural, and economic facors shaping African American’s educational experiences in the United States historically and currently. Same as EDPS 104. Individual and Society, U.S. Society.

AAST 112

Af-Am Politics & Culture

AAST 251

Blacks and the Law I

AAST 271 African Americans and the Politics of Incarceration

Examination of the status of African Americans as offenders, victims, and personnel within the criminal justice system. Same as CLJ 271 and SOC 271.

AAST 272

 Race Gender & Sexuality

AAST 356 Constitutional Law: Women, Gender, and Privacy

 A multidisciplinary examination of U.S. constitutional law and politics in shaping issues of gen­der, privacy, race, and sexual ori­entation; including reproduction, labor, sexual harassment, political participation, and women and crime. Same as GWS 356 and POLS 356.

AAST 406 Politics of Race, Gender, and Class

Formation of social status catego­ries, individual and collective identity construction, the mecha­nisms of group-based marginal­ization and stigmatization; relationship between social status categories. Same as GWS 406.



ANTH 219 Anthropology of Globalization

Explores capitalism as a culture, its origins, and the problems of consumer culture in the U.S. and the world. US Society, World Cultures.

ANTH 411 Urban Cultural Problems

A study of the processes of urbanization and of cultural and social adjustments to the city; illustrated by case studies.

ANTH 424 Violence

Explores how men and women have experienced violence historically and in modern times. Students examine how violence is perpetrated through words, pictures, physical harm, and silences. Same as CLJ 423.

ANTH 473 Anthropology of Social Movements

Examines the causes of social change from the perspective of sociocultural anthropology. An ethnographic approach to political life, how communities describe and enact their experiences as individuals and citizens.

ANTH 514 Gender Issues in Cross-Cultural Perspectives

Selected substantive and theoretical issues in the cross-cultural study of gender roles, conceptions, and relations. Same as GWS 514.


Asian American Studies

ASAM 263 Asian American Gender and Sexual Diversity

 Introductory, cross-disciplinary examination of issues related to gender and sexuality among Asian Americans, with critical attention paid to diverse experiences across various social and political contexts. Same as GWS 263. Individual and Society,US Society.

ASAM 428 Asian/Asian American Women in the Global Economy

Examines the racialization and feminization of a global division of labor and focuses primarily on Asian and Asian American women's participation and incorporation as workers and key actors in the development of the global economy. Same as ASST 428, GWS 428 and SOC 428.

ASAM 458 Asian American and Transnational Feminism

 Advanced, cross-disciplinary examination of feminism among Asian Americans from critical race and decolonizing perspectives and in a transnational context. Same as GWS 458.

ASAM 463 Politics of Gender and Sexuality in Asian America

Advanced, cross-disciplinary examination of issues related to gender and sexuality among Asian Americans, with critical attention paid to feminist and queer perspectives on the politics of representation and identity construction. Same as GWS 463.


Criminology, Law, & Justice

CLJ 102 Foundations of Law and Justice

The philosophical and historical foundations of American and non-American criminology, law, and justice. Focus on diversity, due process, equality, liberty, punishment, social control, and legal institutions and procedures. U.S. Society.

CLJ 110 Rights, Justice, and the Law

The historical evolution, philo­sophical justification, and politi­cal context of human rights are examined. The balance between individual rights and social responsibility is analyzed. U.S. Society.

CLJ 114 Race, Class, Gender, and the Law

A review of criminological theo­ries, organizational decision mak­ing, and a consideration of contemporary criminology, law, and justice policies with specific attention to race, class, and gen­der. U.S. Society.

CLJ 121 Violence in Society

Causes and consequences of violence in the United States and in other societies. Various theories of violence are discussed and used to analyze individual, group, and governmental violence. This is a blended-online and classroom course. US Society.
CLJ 355 Punishment, Prisons and Corrections

 A survey of American corrections from local jails to mega prisons; correctional field services; probation and parole and recent developments in alternatives to incarceration.

CLJ 405 The Problem of Justice

Premodern and modern views of justice and their practical utility in analyzing legislative, executive, and judicial programs for enhancing or restricting justice. Same as POLS 405.

CLJ 424 Gender, Crime, and Justice

An in-depth examination of the etiology of female crime and the involvement of females in the criminal justice system as offenders, victims, and workers/professionals. Same as GWS 424.

CLJ 421 Youth, Crime, Law, and Justice in Society

 Theories of juvenile delinquency and rule breaking; juvenile rights; organization and administration of the juvenile justice system in the U.S.

CLJ 540 Criminal Justice: Process and Institutions

Critical examination of the criminal justice system. The dynamics and processes of contemporary police, judicial, and correctional institutions are evaluated in the context of key historical developments and relevant research.

CLJ 546 Violence and Victimization

The field of victimology and victimization theories are introduced including characteristics of victims, crime and post-crime victimization effects, and victim criminal justice system experiences.

CLJ 547 Race, Class, and Gender Dimensions of Crime and Justice

Theories addressing the intersections of race, class, gender, crime and justice. Students examine criminological theories, social construction of race, class, and gender, legal decision-making, and implications for justice in our society. Same as GWS 547.



ECON 516 Economic Development in an Interdependent World

 Theoretical and empirical studies of economic development with intersectoral and international perspectives; structural change and resource reallocation; factor proportions, substitutability, and movement; export-led growth.



ENG 361

Gender Theory


Gender & Women’s Studies

GWS 202 Comparative Social Movements

International social movements involving issues of women, gender, and sexuality.

GWS 203 Sexuality and Community

Lesbians, Gay Men, and Contemporary Society: Lesbian/gay studies; current personal, political, and cultural issues, including: coming out, hate crimes, military, AIDS, families, religion, activism, represen­tations in literature, film, and media.

GWS 214 Sex and Gender in World Cultures

Comparative study of sex roles, gender identity, and male-female relationships, emphasizing biological, ecological, ideological and symbolic factors associated with cross-cultural variability. Same as ANTH 214. Individual and Society, World Cultures.

GWS 262 Constructions of Gender, Race, Health, and Human Rights

Explores issues at the intersec­tions of gender, race, and sexual­ity through the lens of health in both U.S. and non-U.S. contexts.

GWS 251 History of Race Relations in America

An examination of American racial thought and racial discrim­ination to determine how the content and function of both have changed over time. Same as AAST 200 and LALS 251.

GWS 272 Race, Gender and Sexuality

The course will focus on the various ways that African American Studies has conceptualized issues of gender and sexuality. Same as AAST 272. Individual and Society, US Society.

GWS 292 History and Theories of Feminism

An introduction to feminist the­ory and practice throughout the world from the 19th century to the present. Same as HIST 292.

GWS 390 Feminism and Social Change

An examination of the historical development of feminist models of social change, as well as strate­gies of contemporary feminist activism. May be repeated to a maximum of 6 hrs.

GWS 406 Politics of Race, Gender and Class

Formation of social status categories, individual and collective identity construction, the mechanisms of group-based marginalization and stigmatization; relationship between social status categories. Same as AA

GWS 485 Gender and Politics

Impact of gender on basic categories of western political thought. Distinctions between reason and emotion, public and private, among others, examined from feminist perspective. Same as POLS 485.

GWS 501 Feminist Theories

Significant trends in the analysis of gender and sexuality, and the intersection of those trends with analyses of power, difference, and equality. Historical and contemporary, national and non-U.S. based critiques of identity, agency, representation.




Blacks and the Law I

HIST 253 The Worker in American Life

Introduction to the major historical transformations in the lives of American working people and the ideas, movements and organization through which they have defined a collective response to changing conditions. Past, US Society.

HIST 462 AIDS, Politics and Culture

Introduction to the study of AIDS as a medical, social, political and cultural construction. Explores the epidemiology of AIDS, the politics of the state’s response, how activists have addressed AIDS, and media representations of AIDS. Same as GWS 462.


Jewish Studies

JST 225 Topics in Muslim-Jewish Relations

Muslim-Jewish interactions from the rise of Islam until contemporary times, the relationship between Biblical and Quranic materials, the Jewish and Islamic interpretive tradition and the legal systems of the two religious traditions. Same as CL 225 and RELS 225.


Latin American & Latino Studies

LALS 102 Introduction to Latino Studies

Introduction to the major concepts, issues, and debates in the field of U.S. Latina/o Studies. Overview of the history, cultures, and issues of race, ethnicity, gender, and class among Latinos in the United States. US Society, World Cultures.

LALS 104 Introduction to Puerto Rican Studies

Analysis of contemporary cultural, political, social and economic issues of Puerto Rico: the political status of Puerto Rico, problems of cultural identity, migration and economic dependence. World Cultures.

LALS 105 Introduction to Mexican Studies

Introduction to major issues in the formation of modern Mexico (conquest, Revolution of 1910) and to major literary works which depict and interpret the Mexican and Mexico. World Cultures

LALS 229 Sociology of Latinos

Examines social, political and economic issues affecting Latino groups. While focusing on the process of racialization, the course also examines immigration, language rights, gender and sexuality, labor market, media, and youth. Same as SOC 229. Individual and Society, US Society.

LALS 380 Social Movements in Latin America

The different ways in which different groups have used non-traditional means to change the social and political circumstances that have conditioned their lives.

LALS 382 Race and Citizenship in the Americas

The relationship between citizenship and racial ideologies in the Americas. Comparison of the diverse racial and social experiences of U.S. Latinos with other populations in the Americas.

LALS 385 Latino Social Movements in the United States

Social movements and public action by Latinos in the United States. Includes farmworkers organizing, unionization efforts, nationalist movements, feminism, struggles, and community debates.

LALS 427 Studies in Language Policy and Cultural Identity

Examines the development, articulation, and effects of language policies on identity formation and culture. Focuses on the United States and the Spanish language, although other countries and languages are included. Same as SPAN 427.


Native American Studies

NAST 113 Native American Studies

Sovereignty: Overview of Native and non-Native perspectives of American Indian sovereignty in historical context. Primary focus on spiritual, political, ethnic, and legislative aspects of sovereignty. Past, US Society, World Cultures.


Political Science

POLS 103 Who Rules?: Introduction to the Study of Politics

An introduction to the concepts and methods of political analysis, philosophy and action. Substantive focus on the selection of political leaders in the U.S. US Society.

POLS 293 Possible Political Systems: Ideal and Actual

Political possibilities beyond those that presently prevail. Arguments for gender equality, participatory democracy, and alternative technologies are exam­ined and evaluated.

POLS 251

Blacks and the Law I

POLS 356

Women Gender & the Law

POLS 405 The Problem of Justice

Premodern and modern views of justice and their practical utility in analyzing legislative, executive, and judicial programs for enhancing or restricting justice. Same as CLJ 405.

POLS 485

Gender & Politics



PSCH 411 Stereotyping, Prejudice, and Racism

Psychological research and theory concerning stereotyping, prejudice, and racism. Historical conceptualization, development, causes, expression, and psychological consequences of prejudice, as well as theories of prejudice reduction.

PSCH 521 Violence Against Women

Examines the extent, causes, and consequences of sexual assault, intimate partner violence (e.g., domestic violence, dating violence), and sexual harassment, and considers the impact of culture and community on violence and its victims. Same as GWS 521.



SOC 105 Social Problems

Contemporary social problems examined from the perspectives of social institutions, culture, inequality, organizations and groups, political and economic structure, social change, and social policy. Individual and Society, US Society.

SOC 215 Sociology of Childhood and Youth

Explores the meanings and social position of children and youth in society and examines how contemporary ideas about these categories emerged.

SOC 224 Gender and Society

Sociological perspectives on gender as a factor in social stratification; gender role acquisition; individual and social consequences of changing social definitions of gender roles. Same as GWS 224. Individual and Society, US Society .

SOC 241 Social Inequalities: Dimensions of inequality

Economy, education, housing, health­care; power, status and self-esteem; inequality, and social policy.

SOC 258 Race and Urban Life

Examines the experiences of Blacks in urban areas since the 1900's. Same as AAST 258.

SOC 424 Sociology of Gender

Variety and change in gender roles; patterns and consequences of gender inequality; gender and sexuality; gender and social institutions such as family, economy. Same as GWS 424.

SOC 425 Race and Ethnicity

Critical examination of the conceptual frameworks and empirical findings in the study of race and ethnicity.

SOC 426 Topics in Race, Ethnicity, and Gender

Intensive examination of a specialized topic in race, ethnicity and gender.

SOC 441 Social Stratification

The nature of systems of differentiation and ranking in societies and their consequences; emphasis on class structure in the United States; prestige, status, power, and social mobility in the United States and other societies.

SOC 520 Seminar on Race, Ethnicity and Gender

Intensive analysis of specialized topics.

SOC 524 Gender

Review of a wide range of theories that explain the development and maintenance of gender, focusing on how gender stratification has developed historically and how and why individuals “do gender” in their daily lives.

SOC 525 Sociology of Race and Ethnicity

A survey of classical and contemporary research on "race" and "ethnicity" focusing on how their meaning is both ascribed and achieved and the relationship of these categories to individual and collective life chances.


Jane Addams College of Social Work

SOCW 411 SW in Multicult Society

SOCW 420 Policy I: Social Welfare Policy and Services

Social work and social welfare policy; history, structure and development of current policies; policy analysis and policy advocacy skills for social and economic justice.

SOCW 520 Practice IV: Community Health and Urban Development

Advanced, integrated practice with urban communities with emphasis on diversity, strengths, capacity-building and large systems.

SOCW 532 Social Work in Corrections

Policy and practice roles of social workers in correctional settings with emphasis on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and poverty factors.

SOCW 591 Social Welfare Policy Analysis and Development

Analysis of social welfare policies with particular attention to issues of social and economic justice; conceptual models for analysis; application of models to selected problems.


School of Public Health

Community Health Science

CHSC 543 MCH Policy and Advocacy

Examines the social, economic and political dynamics which influence the development and implementation of maternal and child health (MCH) policy and US health policy in general.

CHSC 554 International Women's Health

Current and Emerging Issues: Examines current and emerging women's health issues globally with an emphasis on studying social and cultural factors affecting women's physical and psychosocial health.

CHSC 563 Neighborhoods and Health

This interdisciplinary seminar explores theories and empirical evidence regarding the mechanisms by which neighborhoods affect health and contribute to health disparities. Same as NUEL 563.

CHSC 584 Community Organizing for Health

Focuses on facilitating community organizing processes in health promotion including theories, field work tools, feminist and international perspectives. Field work required.


Health Policy & Administration

HPA 402 Social Ethics and Public Health

Application of ideas from philosophy, law, political science and economics to analyze the ethical basis of public health policies and programs.


Interdisciplinary Public Health Sciences

IPHS 409 Global Public Health Challenges

An ecological approach to public health to provide a broad overview of current health problems around the world, with an emphasis on low income countries.
IPHS 410 Global Public Health Solutions

Utilizes readings and case studies of successful health interventions in the developing world to orient students to the field of global public health.


College of Urban Planning & Public Policy

Public Administration

PA 230 Nonprofit Organizations in U.S. Society

Provides a basic introduction to the U.S. nonprofit sector and examines the social, political, and economic impact of these organizations in American society.

PA 532 Labor Mgmt in Public Sectr


Urban Planning & Policy

UPP 516 Issues of Class and Race in Planning

Critically examines the significant role of race, class, ethnicity and gender as factors in planning public policy formation, implementation, and evaluation.

UPP 543 Planning for Healthy Cities

Investigates the needs of special populations such as the elderly or mentally ill, the role of the planner in serving these groups and community based strategies to meet needs.

UPP 544 Urban Revitalization and Gentrification

Urban change in U.S. cities since World War II that is associated with socioeconomic restructure under globalization. The course examines restructure under the new global order and its impact on cities and urban planning and different social groups.