Georgetown class has students produce 'social justice' documentaries 'for social action'

Celine Ryan
California Senior Campus Correspondent

  • Georgetown University recently urged students to preregister for social justice-oriented courses, including "Bible in Social Justice," a climate change class, and one in which they could make social justice documentaries.
  • The courses offer a social justice angle to a vast variety of subjects, including the above ones, as well as the law, history, and sexuality.
  • Georgetown University recently advertised a slew of social justice-oriented courses, encouraging students to preregister. 

    Among the courses highlighted by Georgetown’s Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor is a theology course titled “Bible and Social Justice,” which addresses social justice issues within both the Old and New Testament. Using the Bible as context, students will address “contemporary issues of liberation theology” such as globalism, proposed methods of dealing with impoverished countries, and "international texts concerning women’s rights."

    In “Social Justice Documentary,” students will collaborate with D.C. organizations to produce documentaries as a “tool for social action.”   

    [RELATED: School offers ‘real-world learning,’ major in social justice]

    Students can also take “Climate Change & Social Justice,” in which they will examine concepts such as how “global inequities” affect the way different people are impacted by climate change, the ways in which climate change relates to larger “global justice” issues, and the “distribution of responsibility” for taking action. 

    Georgetown theater students can explore the “intersection between performance and climate change” in a course titled “Improv for Social Change: Climate.” The course aims to equip students to give the “crisis” of climate change a “narrative form.” The course description describes the “fact” that the challenge of narrating climate change is “woven inextricably into the global climate change crisis.”

    “This failure may stem from the sense of despair and helplessness associated with the topic, or perceived challenges of dramatizing science, or because the dimensions of scale, time, place related to the crisis defy the normal confines of our 'well-made' dramas,” the description explains.  

    [RELATED: Harvard students can now earn a ‘Social Justice Certificate’]

    Film students at Georgetown can also incorporate social justice activism into their education. In “Social Justice Documentary,” students will collaborate with D.C. organizations to produce documentaries as a “tool for social action.” Learning outcomes include the ability to "formulate and demonstrate ways through which documentary video can be used to meet social justice ends."

    These film students will study how artists and “cultural workers” work with activists, lawmakers, scientists, and environmentalists to study local and global environmental “crises” and “mobilize change.” 

    Meanwhile, “Gender and the Law” will address masculinity and femininity as concepts that “shape the U.S. legal system."  Race, socioeconomic status, political orientation, sexuality, religion, and gender identity will be addressed as factors that, in part, determine how individuals experience the legal system. 

    Informed by this context, students will examine institutional sexual harassment, gender as it relates to the military, domestic violence, “reproductive rights and responsibilities,” and same-sex marriage. The course description emphasizes that the course will focus on public policy, legal analysis, and “respectful dialogue about emotionally complex topics.  

    In the same vein, students enrolled in "Black Sexuality” will learn about "social and political constructions of race and sexuality,” analyze the presentation of the gender and sexualities of black individuals in popular culture, and discover how these representations have addressed the "sexual colonization of Eurocentric ideals of sexuality and eroticism,” which is supposedly “rooted in racism, capitalism, and erotophobia,”  an “abnormal fear of love, especially sexual feelings and their physical expression,” according to Dictionary.com.

    [RELATED: Profs puzzled that conservatives resist social justice courses]

    One student told Campus Reform that he thinks these types of courses are “great ways to get immersed with social justice topics,” adding that although many take issue with the phrase “social justice,” he has been “very pleasantly surprised with the way [he has] seen it applied” at Georgetown.

    The student went on to praise "Facing Georgetown's History,” a course which focuses on addressing Georgetown’s “history of slavery,” as “poignant,” in that it would “allow students to get a really in-depth look at their school's history in a way that they wouldn't otherwise get to experience.”

    “There's a lot of room for growth, but I've personally found that dialogue and reconciliation are really important values on this campus,” he said, claiming that these courses are not evidence of Georgetown “trying to push Marxism on its students,” which he says is “not the case.”

    Campus Reform reached out to Georgetown for comment but did not hear back in time for publication. 

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @celinedryan





    Celine Ryan

    Celine Ryan

    California Senior Campus Correspondent

    Celine Ryan is a California Senior Campus Correspondent, and reports on liberal bias and abuse on campus for Campus Reform. Celine is a sophomore at Cuesta College, where she serves as president of Young Americans for Liberty.

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