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A featured course of the College of Arts and Sciences

Social Justice in Film

Social Justice in Film (SJ 310) is a dynamic, peer-led elective that exposes students to social justice through the medium of classic film. Evenly split between Hollywood and foreign films, the course covers one film per week, each with one or more social themes. Designed and overseen by Professor Robert Hauhart this course offers students the unique opportunity to conduct at least one class per semester where they deliver a 10-12 minute post-film presentation of the filmmakers and why they made the film and moderate the following class discussion

Consistently well-received, this lively course offers an exciting and safe venue for the exchange of ideas and sharing of diverse points of view.

Films include such classics as:


Tam Dinh
Irina Gendelman
Robert Hauhart
John Hopkins
David Price
Katya Shkurkin
Roger Snider

Contact information

Robert Hauhart

Social Justice Program (m.)

Department overviewCommunication studies (M., m.) Community services (M.)Community services and social work internshipsCriminal justice (M., m.)Legal studies (m.)Social justice (m.)Social work (M.)Sociology and Cultural Anthropology (M., m.)Women's studies (m.)Harvie Social Justice Lecture Series

The Social Justice Program at Saint Martin’s University explores the complex nature of social justice and alternative venues that foster justice. While criminal justice and legal studies are the official systems for justice in the United States the outcomes from those systems are not always just. Students experience this at a young age as justice and injustice play out in their own lives. At Saint Martin’s they are given the tools to communicate with others about justice and are inspired to seek out others like themselves who desire to think about justice in a wider way.

A complement to other academic programs at Saint Martin’s, the social justice minor fits hand-in-glove with religious studies, sociology, social work, criminal justice and legal studies, adding value to the students’ academic experience. The program follows the best Liberal Arts tradition encouraging students to work toward social justice no matter what they will be doing for a living.

The Social Justice Program offers an interdisciplinary minor that focuses on non-legal forms of justice, and the corresponding societal settings for injustice, in society. In addition to courses exclusively listed in social justice, select courses in criminal justice, political science, history, sociology, women’s studies and related areas contribute to the curriculum as electives. Students interested in acquainting themselves with the history, development, impact, and contemporary status of social justice initiatives may minor in social justice in support of their major field of study.

Minor requirements

The minor requires completion of nine required semester hours and 12 upper-division elective semester hours, drawn from the courses listed below.

Required Courses (12 required semester hours of approved courses in communication and electives, including:)

SJ 110/SOC 110 Introduction to Social Justice
SOC 333 Women, Culture and Society
CJ 430/PLS 430 Constitutional Safeguards and Individual Liberties

Approved Elective Courses

Electives may include up to six semester hours of internship credit. Additional courses may be cross-listed for social justice credit on an occasional basis. Other elective courses may be counted toward the minor if, in the judgment of the program director, they significantly enhance the student’s learning in the program.

SJ 301 Social Justice in Literature
SJ 310 Social Justice in Film
RLS 305 Peaceable Kingdom
CJ/SOC/WS 307 Gender, Crime and Law
SOC 316 History of Women in North American Social Work: 1848-1945
HIS 319 United States Working Class History
SOC 370 Social Action
ENG 381 Women’s Literature
SJ 390 Internship
SJ 395 Special Topics
SJ 397 Directed Study
SJ 480 Service Learning in Social Justice
SJ 490 Internship

SJ 110/SOC 110 Introduction to Social Justice (3)
This course introduces the student to the history of major American social justice movements and ethical issues. The course will feature a broad range of guest speakers as well as opportunities for engagement with contemporary social justice issues through participation/observation. Offered: Fall or Spring.

SJ 301 Social Justice in Literature (3)
A close textual reading of classic literature with special attention to the social justice themes and moral significance of the readings. Selections vary but have included in the past classic texts by Kafka, Solzhenitsyn, Orwell, Wright and others. Offered: Alternate years.

SJ 310 Social Justice in Film (3)
An intensive examination of social justice themes in classic films. Films include documentaries, Hollywood productions, and foreign films (with subtitles). Films vary but have included On The Waterfront, Brokeback Mountain, Titicut Follies, Desert Hearts, City of Gold, Rabbit Proof Fence, others. Offered: Alternate years.

RLS 305 Peaceable Kingdom
Biblical perspectives on peace and justice, including an examination of a range of contemporary interpreters of the Bible, both Catholic and Protestant, who are concerned with the application of the Biblical ideal of Shalom to contemporary peace and justice issues. Includes the American Catholic bishops’ pastoral letters on peace and on the economy.

CJ/SOC/WS 307 Gender, Crime and Law (3)
Overview of history, definitions and nature of the relationship between gender and the criminal justice system. To address the historical lack of interest in women’s roles and the status of LGBT individuals within the criminal justice world, the course will examine historical and contemporary roles played by women and LGBT individuals as offenders, professionals, prisoners and victims. Special attention will be given to crimes against women/LGBT individuals and the efforts to investigate, prosecute, prevent and deter these crimes. Same as CJ/SOC/WS 307. Prerequisites: CJ 101 or SOC 101.

SOC/SW 316 History of Women in North American Social Work: 1848-1945 (3)
An examination of the historical context of the development of the profession of social work, with special emphasis on the sociological, psychological and feminist theories of current at the time. Special focus on the Settlement House movement, the Women’s Clubs and the progressive era. Offered: Annually.

HIS 319 United States Working Class History (3)
A critical survey of working class history in the United States from the early 19th century to the present. Main themes will include: working-class culture, industrial organization and politics; work and community life; labor-management relations; changing patterns of working-class protest; and a special emphasis on race, ethnicity and gender in the process of working-class formation and fragmentation. Prerequisites: None

SOC 370 Social Action (3)
Examines theories and methods employed by individuals and groups desiring to initiate planned social change. The course assesses theories of social action and change through case studies where change was induced either by working within the system or stepping outside conventional institutions. Offered: Annually.

ENG 381 Women’s Literature (3)
Representative works of literature by and about women in their historical contexts with attention to the exploration of feminist issues in literature and the literary traditions in writings by women. Prerequisite: ENG 201, ENG 202 or ENG 203, or permission of instructor.

SJ 390 Internship (1-6)
Semester-long involvement with an agency or established public interest group dedicated to social justice. Offered: Fall and Spring.

SJ 395 Special Topics (3) TBA
Courses relevant to the Social Justice curriculum offered periodically on topics announced by the faculty, such as: comparative social justice studies; contemporary social justice initiatives; others.

SJ 397 Directed Study (1-3) Hauhart
Topic relevant to the Social Justice curriculum, to be chosen by student in consultation with advisor. Prerequisites: senior standing; 3.0 gpa; permission of program director.

SJ 480 Service Learning in Social Justice (1-3) Hopkins
An important feature of many social justice initiatives is direct involvement with community improvement efforts, social organizing and political action. This course permits students to engage in direct social action through an organized service learning experience under the supervision of the instructor and a grass roots/community action group. Offered: Fall or Spring.

SJ 490 Internship (1-6) Hauhart
Semester-long involvement with an agency or established public interest group dedicated to social justice. Offered: Fall and Spring.

College of Arts and Sciences