ITSJ Overview |
Institute for Social Justice Signs

ITSJ Overview

2017 ITSJ Schedule and Summary of Key Topics

Please note that this page reflects the 2017 ITSJ program. Please check back for summer 2018 updates.

The Institute for Transforming Social Justice is designed to be intensive. The program runs Monday-Friday from about 9 a.m.-5 p.m. each week, generally structured around in-class time and site visits. Students will attend evening lectures and events, participate in collaborative projects, develop action plans, and have the opportunity to engage in activist work in and around the area during their stay. There may also be some weekend work and trips during the program. Throughout the program, we'll explore stories, philosophy, tactics, and art of today’s leading social justice movements.

Week One (June 5-9)

Culture, Youth, Schooling, and Mass Incarceration

This course will explore intersections of popular culture, youth culture, schooling, and incarceration. Topics will include how mass media narratives, public policy, and school-level policies naturalize the criminalization and incarceration of black and brown youth; the logic of presumed guilt that often frames how teachers perceive black and brown students; the raced, classed, and gendered construction of dis/ability in school settings; and connections between restorative justice, alternative media, and efforts to envision and enact public policies that move beyond control, discipline, and punishment. 

Faculty: Christopher Tinson, associate professor of Africana studies and history

Week Two (June 12-16)

Feminist, Queer, and Transgender Activisms

Over the course of the week, we will examine the writings, tactics, histories, demands, and politics of radical movements for gender and sexual liberation in the post-1970s United States. We will examine issues such as: incarceration and policing, health care, immigration, marriage, state power, HIV/AIDS, hormones, race and white supremacy, disability, and economic justice. Central to our concern will be exploring how feminist, queer, and trans activists have reimagined the ways we organize our world. What does a queer future look like and how do we bring it into being?

Faculty: Stephen Dillon, assistant professor of queer studies

Download last summer's syllabus

Week Three (June 19-23)

Reproductive Rights, Health, and Justice

Abortion and contraception have been in the forefront of political battles over reproductive rights in the U.S. and internationally. True reproductive freedom--the right to have children, not have children, and to parent the children we have in safe and healthy environments--encompasses, however, so much more. We will look at the different ways in which scholars and advocates have approached these issues. We will explore how the contemporary reproductive justice movement is transforming the understanding of reproductive rights issues and the political agenda.

Faculty: Roosbelinda Cárdenas, assistant professor of Latin American Studies

Download last summer's syllabus

Week Four (June 26-30)

Arts as Activism

How has art provoked social change? Can the arts be instruments of social action? How do the principles of organizing intersect with the arts? Topics covered will include anti-apartheid protest theater, the work of artists and writers in the fight for economic and racial justice in the U.S., the arts as a means for healing and remembering, the role of joy in movements for change, and digital storytelling as social action.

Faculty: Will MacAdams, playwright, director,and performer


Equipped with a historical framework and critical analysis of these intersectional systems, we create action plans through different media--podcasts, digital story telling, spoken word performance, embodied movement--to experiment with new forms of organizing and reflective practice. Check out some projects from previous years.

These hands-on experiences in translating a historical framework and critical analysis of intersectional systems into action plans gives participants a clear sense of how a campaign can be run, and methods for bringing these skills back to their own communities

In 2015, ITSJ participants created audio essays with Professor Chris Tinson, focusing on prison reform and the carceral state. Listen below.

Stay In Touch
With Summer Programs
Snail Mail
Summer Academic Programs
Hampshire College
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002