Courses & Requirements

The requirements below apply to those students with a 2020-2021 catalog year. Students are required by college policy to follow the major (and minor) requirements found in the catalog in effect at the time they declared their first major. To find your catalog year, please visit your Grades and Academic Records found in myOxy and access the catalog that matches your catalog year.

Critical Theory and Social Justice

Overview

Critical Theory and Social Justice (CTSJ) is the only undergraduate academic department of its kind in the U.S. Since 2006, the CTSJ major has graduated students with rigorous training in critical theory and transformative political practice. At the heart of the program is an interrogation of intersecting structures of power. Our three pillars of inquiry are interdisciplinary thought, intersectional analysis, and critical interventions. The department emphasizes the necessary relationship between critical thought and political action. Majors will learn ethical tools to effectively work within formal structures of politics and grassroots activism, and employ creative and inventive approaches to seemingly intractable problems. Majors will learn the functions and processes of formal political institutions, as well as radically transformative modes of resistance, which precede and exceed oppression. As students advance through the major, they will study in academic disciplines as diverse as psychology, political science, decolonial theory, critical race theory, Black studies, Indigenous studies, feminist theory, queer theory, biopolitics, post-modern political theory, and gender and sexuality studies. 

The major has a strong emphasis on praxis. Students are required to participate in the Justice Bootcamp and the Justice Practicum. Beyond the classroom, students will be given the opportunity to engage in a clinical practicum, participate in the editorial process of the Critical Theory and Social Justice Journal, study abroad, and participate in the summer research program. Past majors facilitated local development of a neighborhood museum in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, authored foundational work in the Menarchist Movement, and gone on to become public intellectuals, community activists, and agents of political and social change at all levels of government and in non-governmental organizations.

Courses within the department are divided into three levels. Classes taught at the 100-level teach and train students how to think and act critically and rigorously across a wide range of topics, including race, gender, sexuality, and nationality. Classes taught at the 200-level teach students how to think and write clearly and analytically about methodologies and concepts. Students will also learn to speak thoughtfully and cogently in the classroom and in public places. At the 300-level students will develop competency in the intersecting bodies of work that constitute critical theory and social justice. Students in 300-level classes will be expected to develop and write research papers that demonstrate a facility with transdisciplinarity.

Major Requirements

The major in Critical Theory and Social Justice requires eleven courses (44 units).

COURSEWORK

Students must complete the six required courses listed below.

Required Courses

CTSJ 100Introduction to Critical Theory

4 units

CTSJ 102Justice Bootcamp

4 units

CTSJ 300Research Methods and Critical Inquiry

4 units

CTSJ 390CTSJ Junior Seminar: Interventions

4 units

CTSJ 398Social Justice Practicum

4 units

CTSJ 490Senior Seminar in Critical Theory - Social Justice

4 units

The Junior Seminar will be offered during the spring semester. Students planning to travel abroad during their junior year should do so in the fall semester and may seek approval of the department chair to have one study abroad class count as a CTSJ elective. All requests must include the following: the course syllabus, all assignments completed for the particular class, and the proper completed form from either IPO or the Registrar's Office.

Additional Electives

Students must complete five additional CTSJ electives: one course at the 100-level, one course at the 200-level, and at least two courses at the 300-level. Two of these electives must be methods courses selected from the list below.

Methods
CTSJ 104The New Queer Politics of the Middle East

4 units

CTSJ 108Climate, Refugees and Global Reactionary Authoritarianism

4 units

CTSJ 202The Promise and Failure of Postmodern Politics: Foucault in the Iranian Revolution

4 units

CTSJ 215Language and Power

4 units

CTSJ 285Foucault

4 units

CTSJ 310Qualitative Interview Methods

4 units

CTSJ 340Critical Ethnography

4 units

CTSJ 357Law and Empire

4 units

CTSJ 360Feminist Methodologies

4 units

CTSJ 384Bataille

4 units

Students may also apply CTSJ 295 to the Methods requirement only if they have enrolled in the following sections of the course:

  • Black Popular Culture // The Black Digital Age
  • Blackness, Gender, and Sexuality
  • Critical Theory and Psychopathology

CTSJ 395 may apply to the Methods requirement only if students enrolled in the following sections of the course:

  • White Queer Theory
  • Indigenous Literature as Decolonial Praxis
  • Chattel Slavery and It's Afterlives

Second-Stage Writing Requirement

Students majoring in Critical Theory and Social Justice satisfy the Second-Stage Writing Requirement by completing the Junior Seminar (CTSJ 390).

Comprehensive Requirement

In their senior year, students majoring in Critical Theory and Social Justice are required to complete a comprehensive project concerning a topic of the student's own particular interest. Students will complete their comps during CTSJ 490: Senior Seminar in the fall semester of their senior year. Each student is directed to consult with at least one CTSJ professor in addition to the professor teaching the senior seminar. The final version of the comprehensive project is due on the last day of the fall semester. A typical project culminates in a 20- to 25-page paper. The department is open to critical projects of comparable length that employ other media from students formally trained in those media. All CTSJ faculty review the comps in January and provide ratings to students. There are three grades: "Pass with Distinction," "Pass," and "No Pass." A comprehensive project earns the grade "Pass with Distinction" if all department faculty agree that it is of the quality publishable in the CTSJ Journal or another journal in the fields embraced by Critical Theory & Social Justice. In the case of "Pass," students may work on their project to improve it to the level of "Pass with Distinction." In the case of "No Pass," the student works with faculty and the senior comps professor to complete the project to departmental satisfaction.

College Honors

Students majoring in CTSJ must be nominated during their senior year by a CTSJ faculty member to be considered for Honors. Nominations will be reviewed by the CTSJ department faculty, who will consider the nominee’s excellence as a CTSJ major by examining a number of factors such as: major GPA, quality of the comprehensive project, performance in the practicum, and engagement in justice theory and activism.

Minor Requirements

The minor in Critical Theory & Social Justice requires five courses (20 units) taught in the CTSJ Department: one course at the 100-level, one course at the 200-level, one course at the 300-level, and two additional electives.

Transfer Credit Policies

The CTSJ Department policy on transfer credit conforms to College policy. Students should reference the Transfer Credit section for details.

Information that can be included in this section include:
  • specific policies for majors/minors
  • AP/IB Exam credit - course equivalencies?
  • Online courses
  • Policies specifically for matriculating frosh, transfer students, returning students after a leave of absence
Information that can be included in this section include:
  • specific policies for majors/minors
  • AP/IB Exam credit - course equivalencies?
  • Online courses
  • Policies specifically for matriculating frosh, transfer students, returning students after a leave of absence

Courses

Critical Theory and Social Justice Courses