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Opinion: Every ASU student should take a justice studies course

With this generation of change makers in college, every student should take a course to broaden their perspective on justice


"Everybody should take a justice studies class." Illustration published on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018.

A question students often ponder in college classrooms is, "How will this help me in the future?"

That question can be answered in innumerable ways across many disciplines and programs, especially when students are able to dive into political activism and social change. 

Justice studies classes, now more than ever, are a helpful tool to better understand today’s pressing issues, and offer context to what led up to widely covered topics in news.

ASU should stress the importance of taking these classes, from the advanced class ‘Race/Ethnicity & Politics,' to a basic course like ‘Intro to Justice Studies.’ 

No matter what a university calls the program, different schools stress the importance of these classes considering the current climate. This includes the University of Victoria.

According to the University of Victoria’s website, "The most compelling reason to take Social Justice Studies is for its intrinsic value. We live in a world in crisis, a world facing enormous socio-political and ecological challenges. Whatever one's vocational or academic aspirations, SJS furnishes a common ground for understanding our troubled world and exploring alternative futures."

Additionally, there is currently a long list of schools that do offer programs that cover social justice topics. 

According to research from College Fix, "More than 100 colleges and universities in the U.S. now offer formal academic programs in 'social justice,' giving students credit for studying intersectionality, oppression, privilege, gender pronouns and racial minorities."

ASU's School of Social Transformation offers several interdisciplinary fields and two that specifically cover justice, justice and social inquiry and social and cultural pedagogy

H.L.T. Quan, an associate professor for the School of Social Transformation’s justice and social inquiry program, teaches both undergraduate and graduate justice studies courses. 

Quan said that he believes there is a great importance in justice classes for the work of current and future generations. 

She noted that there is a range of backgrounds from anthropologists to psychologists to political scientists that teach the variety of classes.

"It's a very multidimensional, even multi-pedagogical approach to learning about ideas and meanings of justice but also policy, also movements for justice and various forms of justice," Quan said.

Quan also stressed that justice has been a goal for many different groups.

"People have died in the name of justice. People have also thrived and built communities and built nations in the name of justice," Quan said. "I think justice is a wonderful, exciting field and I think that in this time people from all walk of life are asking the really, really important questions about justice."

Social justice classes can offer many tools to the upcoming generations of change makers and it should be a part of each student's college experience while at ASU.

"People who are in classes today, people are going to college right now – they are our future," Quan said. "They are going to help shape and define what they're going to define the meaning of justice and the shape the futures of tomorrow."

Reach the columnist at and follow @mayafoxall on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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