Humanities and Justice (BA)

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Justice Studies Major 

The Humanities and Justice major offers students the opportunity to explore fundamental questions about justice from a humanistic, interdisciplinary perspective. Rooted in history, literature and philosophy, Humanities and Justice prepares students for basic inquiry and advanced research into issues of justice that lie behind social policy and criminal justice as well as broader problems of social morality and equity. Its courses are designed to help students develop the skills of careful reading, critical thinking and clear writing that are necessary for the pursuit of any professional career. This major provides an excellent preparation for law school and other professional programs, for graduate school in the humanities, and for careers in law, education, public policy and criminal justice.

The Humanities and Justice curriculum involves a sequence of five interdisciplinary core courses in Humanities and Justice (designated with the HJS prefix); six courses from a list of humanities courses in history, literature, or philosophy (HIS, LIT, PHI), and a choice of one of two courses on theory.

Some details:

Part 1. Foundations

Part 2. The Disciplinary Component

Part 3. Topics In Political or Legal Theory

Part 4. Problems And Research

Credits required: 36                            Four Year Academic Plan

Prerequisites: ENG 101-201; one of the general education courses in literature, history, or philosophy; one of the general education courses in the social sciences and upper-sophomore standing.

Please note: GOV 101 or POL 101 is a prerequisite for POL 375 and LAW 203 or POL 230 is a prerequisite for LAW 301 (Part III of the major requires either POL 375 (GOV 375) or LAW 301

Coordinator: Professor David Munns, Department of History (646.557.4496, Students must review their course of study with major faculty.

Additional Information: Students who enrolled for the first time at the College or changed to this major in September 2008 or thereafter must complete the major in the form presented here. Students who enrolled prior to that date may choose the form shown here or the earlier version of the major. A copy of the earlier version may be obtained at the Office of Undergraduate Studies or at the Lloyd George Sealy Library.

Senior-level requirement: Students must complete HJS 410 Problems and Theory: Thesis Prospectus and HJS 415 Thesis in Humanities and Justice Studies.



Subtotal: 9 credits


HJS 250 Justice in the Western Traditions
HJS 310 Comparative Perspectives on Justice
HJS 315 Research Methods in Humanities and Justice Studies



Subtotal: 18 credits

History and/or Literature and/or Philosophy (six courses)

Students take six advanced elective courses in one or more of the humanities disciplines in order to explore how the fundamental assumptions, methods and general subject matter of these disciplines relate to issues of justice. These courses will be chosen by the student, in consultation with faculty advisement, from the following list or from a designated list of other humanities courses being taught in any particular semester. Permission by the Justice Studies Coordinator is required for any course not listed below in Categories A, B, or C to count toward the major. A minimum of 12 credits must be taken at the 300-level or above.

Category A. History Courses

HIS 217 History of New York City
HIS 219 Violence and Social Change in America
HIS 224 A History of Crime in New York City
HIS 252 Warfare in the Ancient Near East and Egypt
HIS 254 History of Ancient Greece and Rome
HIS 260 /LLS 260 History of Contemporary Cuba
HIS 265/LLS 265 Class, Race, and Family in Latin American History
HIS 277 American Legal History
HIS 290 Selected Topics in History*
HIS 320 The History of Crime and Punishment in the United States
HIS 325 Criminal Justice in European Society, 1750 to the Present
HIS 354 Law and Society in Ancient Athens and Rome
HIS 374 Premodern Punishment: Crime and Punishment before 1700
HIS 381 Social History of Catholicism in the Modern World
HIS 383 History of Terrorism

Category B. Literature Courses

LIT 219 The Word as Weapon
LIT 223/Africana Studies 223 African-American Literature
LIT 290 Special Topics
LIT 305 Foundations of Literature and Law
LIT 311 Literature and Ethics
LIT 313 Shakespeare
LIT 314 Shakespeare and Justice
LIT 315 American Literature and the Law
LIT 316 Gender and Identity in Western Literary Traditions
LIT 327 Crime and Punishment in Literature
LIT 340/AFR340 African American Experience in America: Comparative Racial Perspectives
LIT 342 Perspectives on Literature and Human Rights
LIT 346 Cultures in Conflict
SPA 208 The Theme of Justice in 20th-Century Spanish Literature

Category C. Philosophy Courses

PHI 203 Political Philosophy
PHI 205 Philosophy of Religion
PHI 210 Ethical Theory
PHI 302 Philosophical Issues of Rights
PHI 304 Philosophy of Mind
PHI 310/LAW 310 Ethics and Law
PHI 315 Philosophy of the Rule of Law
PHI 322/CRJ 322 Judicial and Correctional Ethics
PHI 326 Topics in the History of Modern Thought
PHI 340 Utopian Thought
PHI 423/POL 423 Selected Topics in Justice



Subtotal: 3 credits

Select one

LAW 301 Jurisprudence or
 POL 375 Law, Order, Justice and Society



Subtotal: 6 credits

Both are required

HJS 410 Problems and Theory: Thesis Prospectus
HJS 415 Thesis in Humanities and Justice Studies

Total: 36 credits

* HIS 290 Selected Topics in History, LIT 290 Selected Topics, LIT 390 Individual Reading and LIT 401 Special Topics may be used to satisfy the six-course requirement of the Disciplinary Component when the topic is applicable to the Humanities and Justice major. To approve these courses for inclusion in the major, students and/or faculty must petition the program coordinator.