“Charity, vertical, humiliates. Solidarity, horizontal, helps.”
– Eduardo Galeano

Course Description
Social and Economic Justice will review and study historical and contemporary issues in social and economic justice as they relate to US policy. It will explore the distribution of power, status, and resources in society. It will also address how issues of discrimination affect the vulnerable populations and how advocates can work in the political arena.


-exhibit an awareness and understanding of self in relation to diverse populations;
-analyze the impact of social welfare populations on populations-at-risk;
-identify the forms and mechanisms of oppression and discrimination in society;
-identify issues of power and privilege;
-develop advocacy skills for empowerment;
-learn about national and international movements of social change; and,
-move beyond intellectualization of social issues.

Major Areas Covered:
UN Declaration of Human Rights
History from the perspective of the oppressed
Popular education
Definitions of Social Justice
Analysis of economic principles and how they impact social work practice
Issues of race, gender and class
National and international movements of social justice in the tradition of social work

?Beverly, D. P., & McSweeney, E. A. (1987). Social Welfare and Social Justice. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc.
Gil, D. G. (1998). Confronting injustice and oppression. New York: Columbia University Press.
Young, 1. M., (1990). Justice and the Politics of Difference. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Course Structure:
The course will include lecture, class discussion, and student presentations. Audiovisual material and guest lecture may be utilized, as well.

Class Participation 125 points
Community Service 125 points
Persons/Movements of Social Justice 125 points
Proposal for change 125 points
500 total points

Advocacy Proiect
Choose a nonprofit/social service/grassroots organization which is working on issues of economic and social justice. You will spend 30-40 hours there this semester. You will plug into this agency as a volunteer. Get to know their work, mission, strategic plan, budget, how they are financed, etc. And, involve yourself in one of their advocacy campaigns.

You will write five journals on this experience (25 points each – due Weeks 3, 5, 7, 9, 11). Each journal should include the following:

-a summary of your activities
-What you have learned
-relate your experience to readings and discussions from class
-anything else you think is important.

Journals may be handwritten, but they must be legible. Write only on one side of the paper.

Possible Sites:
Project Home
Amnesty International
Clean Air Council
Action AIDS
Youth United for Change
Bread for the World
American Friends Service Committee
Eastern Phila. Organizing Project
Kensington Welfare Rights Union
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
Philadelphia Urban Resources Project

Movements of Social Change

You are to select one of the organizations from the list below. These are all organizations which deal with issues of oppression and/or justice. There will be two parts to your assignment:

1 ) With other members of the class you will plan a presentation on this organization. The presentation will be 25 minutes in length. Your group will then lead a class discussion of 20 minutes. In your presentation you may use poetry, video, movies, slides – be creative!

2) Write a five to seven page paper using the following guidelines (not necessarily in this order.

You are to address each of these points, but your paper should be coherent and flow:
a) communicate the most salient points of this movement;
b) what did you learn from studying this movement?;
c) how does this relate to your service placement and to social work practice?;
d) how does this relate to the values and heritage of the social work profession?;
e) how does this relate to what you are learning in class?;
f) how does/did this movement contribute to a more just society?;
g) critique the movement and its work using the elements of structural analysis;
h) how were you challenged studying this movement? How will you share what you have learned with others?; and,
i) If appropriate, relate to class readings.

Do not just tell about the movement, but apply it, interweaving the responses to the above.

Possible topics:

Settlement House Movements
Catholic Worker Movement
Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo
National Welfare Rights Union
Popular Education Movement
Southern Christian Leadership Council
Gray Panthers
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom

Other Helpful Hints for Your Presentation

-Make it interesting!
-Get others involved. Use role plays, quizzes, questions, etc.
-Be creative – use a song, part of a video, a poem, handouts, whatever.
-You will be graded on content, delivery, how much information you are able to communicate, creativity, etc. If you have any hesitations or concerns about this, by all means, ask for help.

Final Project

For your final project, you will choose a topic of interest to you which relates to issues of justice and to your volunteer site. Examples would include: homelessness, AIDS, welfare, militarism, human rights, spousal abuse, environmental justice, living wage, public education, drugs, violence. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list.

After you have chosen the topic, you will analyze it from the definition of social justice that was discussed in class, as well as the concepts of social/structural analysis. After the analysis, you will formulate a proposal for change which you feel will address this social issue. The emphasis of your paper should be on your proposal, or the action-oriented portion of the paper, however, do not just skirt over the other areas as they are integral to understanding the issue.

YOU MUST DISCUSS YOUR TOPIC WITH ME BEFORE THE SEMESTER BREAK! At the first class after the break, I expect a written proposal of your topic. You may, of course, hand this in early. Please feel free to consult with me as you research and write your paper.

Use at least ten sources, others than readings from class. At least seven of these should be written sources, but you are welcome to experiment with interviews, videos, and other types of sources. If appropriate, you may interweave into your proposal some of the readings from class.

You will submit a six to eight page paper which addresses the following issues (not necessarily in this order. You are to address each of these points, but your paper should be coherent and flow):

-What is the overall goal of your proposal?
-What are the objectives which will help realize that goal?
-What are the underlying issues which you hope to address?
-Who will be involved? Who will be responsible?
-How will you get others involved?
-What is the timeframe?
-What activities will you carry out in order to accomplish your objectives? What will be the result of these activities?
-How will you measure success?
-What are the issues you will be addressing? What are its causes? What is the historical context?


?Addams, J. (19 10). Twenty years at Hull House. New York: Signet Classic
?Bane Ellwood, Welfare realities
?D. Barlett and J. Steele, America: What went wrong?
?Freire, P. (1985). The Politics of education: Culture, power, and liberation. New York: Bergin & Garvey.
?Funiciello, T. (1993). Tyranny of kindness: Dismantling the welfare svstem to end poverty in America. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press.
?Linda Gordon, Pitied but Not Entitled: Single Mothers and the History of Welfare
?Kozol, J. (1995). Amazing grace: The Lives of children and the conscience of a nation. New York: Harper Perennial.
?(1988). Rachel and her children: Homeless families in America. New York: Faucett Columbine.
?(l 991). Savage inequalities: Children in America’ schools. New York: Harper Perennial.
?Liebow, E. (1967). Tally’s comer: A Study of Negro Streetcorner men. Boston: Little, Brown and Company.
?(1993). Tell them who I am: The Lives of homeless women. New York: The Free Press.
?West, C. Race Matters
?William Julius Wilson, When Work Disappears: The World of the New Urban Poor
?J. Wright, Address Unknown: The Homeless in America
?Virginia E. Schein, Working from the Margins: Voices of Mothers in P
?Alex Kotlowitz, There are No Children Here: The Story of Two Boys Growing Up in the Other America
?Danziger & Weinberg (eds), Fighting Poverty: What works and what doesn’t
?Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals

Michael Katz, In the Shadow of the Poorhouse

Haynes & Mickelson, Affecting Chanae: Social Workers in the Political Arena
?Bertha Capen Reynolds, An Uncharted Journey
?Beverly & McSweeney, Social Welfare and Social Justice
?Herbert J. Gans, The War Against the Poor
?Michael B. Katz, Improving Poor People
?Zepezauer & Naiman, Take the Rich off Welfare
?James Patterson, America’s Struggle Against Poverty
?Andersen & Hill Collins, Race, Class, and Gender: An Anthology
?Jerry Aaker, Paernters with the Poor: An ememing Approach to Relief and Development
?Iris Mario Young, Justice and the Politics of Difference
?Luis J Rodriguez, Always Running: La Vida Loca: Ganiz Days in LA

Arms for the Poor
Women in the Third World
The Global Assembly Line
The Many faces of the Homeless
We Have a Table for Four Ready: The Story of St. Francis I
Ida B. Wells: A Passion for Justice
Eyes on the prize
Skin Deep
School of Assassins
Ending Welfare as we Know It
Jesuits in El Salvador
Not in Our Town
Weapons of the Spirit