Vassar offers course on fighting economic inequality, sexism

Toni Airaksinen
New York Campus Correspondent

Total Shares

  • Sociology majors at Vassar College can fulfill an introductory course requirement by enrolling in a section explicitly devoted to social justice issues.
  • The course objectives align with the Sociology Department's broader focus on social justice issues, exemplified by its boast of a “diverse faculty” who are “strongly committed to social justice."
  • Sociology majors at Vassar College can fulfill an introductory course requirement by enrolling in a section explicitly devoted to social justice issues.

    The course, called “A Social Justice Approach,” will be taught by Vassar sociology professor Eileen Leonard during the spring semester, when she hopes to introduce students to “social justice” through a “sociological perspective” by teaching them about the “structural” and “cultural forces” perpetuating injustice.

    "Sociology has a long tradition of commitment to social justice issues."   

    [RELATED: ‘Fat studies’ course deems ‘weightism’ a ‘social justice issue’]  

    The course, notably, is one of ten offered under the umbrella category of “151 Introductory Sociology,” any one of which students can take to meet the requirement.

    According to a description for the course, social justice is a theory that “delineates and describes injustices such as economic inequality, racism, sexism, and homophobia and, by definition, addresses solutions and alternative social systems.

    “Sociology has a long tradition of commitment to social justice issues and we will consider a wide variety of them including: issues of power, how social advantages and disadvantages are distributed, the relationship between social location and inequality, and the practice of reducing the gap between them at the local, national, and global levels,” Leonard elaborates.

    [RELATED: Students demand Pomona rescind offer to prof because she’s white]

    Like Leonard, the Sociology Department as a whole places social justice at the forefront of its mission, claiming to instill a “passion for social justice” and a “critical awareness of social inequalities” in its students.

    Meanwhile, a “history” of the department published on its website notes that its “diverse faculty” are “strongly committed to social justice and the discipline’s relevance for grappling with the complexities of a contemporary world.”

    Accordingly, Vassar’s Sociology Department offers several other social-justice themed courses, including one on “Masculinities,” which explains how gender is a “social structure of inequality,” another on “Topics in Feminist Activism,” and another on “Centering Black Women and Girl’s Lives.”

    [RELATED: Vassar teaches freshmen to ‘appreciate social justice’]

    In addition to “A Social Justice Approach,” a course on “overlooked” sociological ideas from minorities also fulfills the “151 Introductory Sociology” requirement, noting that “ideas about society that we value usually come from the European, the heterosexual, the male or fully-abled.”

    Campus Reform reached out to Leonard for additional comment on her course, but did not receive a response in time for publication.

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen



    Toni Airaksinen

    Toni Airaksinen

    New York Campus Correspondent

    Toni Airaksinen is a New York Campus Correspondent, and reports liberal bias and abuse on college campuses for Campus Reform. She is a junior at Barnard College, and also contributes regularly to The College Fix, USA Today College, Red Alert Politics, and Quillette Magazine. She formerly held a post with the Columbia Spectator and has been featured on Fox News and on the Drudge Report.

    More By Toni Airaksinen

    Latest 20 Articles