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Social Science

Peace and Justice Studies

Fall 2019 Criminal Justice Reform Panel on stage

Fall 2019 Criminal Justice Reform panel co-sponsored by PJS, AAUW, Shelby County NAACP, and Montevallo Progressive Alliance.

Peace and Justice Studies at the University of Montevallo examines causes and consequences of economic disparity, institutionalized inequality, and strategies of peace building and conflict resolution.

UM’s location at the heart of the civil rights triangle in rural Alabama and our institutional history of working toward gender equity and inclusivity provides unique opportunities to pursue the work of a peace and justice studies minor. Our students explore community issues within global contexts to critically analyze race, gender, and class relations.

We offer students spaces for experiential education and community partnerships as well as scholarly engagement to learn the history of and techniques for conflict resolution, mediation, social change, and critical thinking. Minors may enhance their major field of study through our social justice framework and go on to become negotiators, community mediators, government officials, educators, businesspeople, organizers, and professionals in organizations focused on human rights, dispute resolution, environmental protection, international law, and human and economic development.

Course Requirements

PJS 200 Introduction to Peace and Justice Studies (3 credits) – required

Exploration of issues, methods, and terminology essential to Peace and Justice Studies. Consists of readings, projects, and lecture-based study. Interdisciplinary course taught by UM professors in selected fields.

PJS 370/470 Special Topics in Peace and Justice Studies (3 credits) – required

Topics vary. Course may be repeated once for credit if topic changes.

Electives (12 credits) – list of approved electives announced each semester

Total: 18 credits

Spring 2021 PJS Courses

ENG 232-001 and ENG 232-002 Global Literature: Shakespeare and Contemporary Society, Atwood (non cross-listed PJS elective)

In this section of Global Literature, we will explore Shakespeare’s influence on contemporary society, looking at ways Shakespeare has been adapted, appropriated, and deployed as a tool for social justice and resistance since the turn of the 21st century. Is “Shakespeare” a bastion of conservative thought, or are there opportunities to read and perform against the grain? In addition to reading a selection of Shakespeare’s plays as foundational texts, we will consider a variety of film and theater adaptations, the teen Shakespeare market, non-fiction personal and political essays, and more, always asking the question: why does Shakespeare still matter?

PJS 470/ES 401/SWK 411 Immersive Environmental Storytelling, Tetloff

Immersive Environmental Storytelling is an interdisciplinary course in which we examine inequalities that result from the development and implementation of environmental policies. Utilizing 360 video, students will create interactive documentaries that explore local environmental injustices. No prior knowledge of 360 screenwriting or production is required.

This course is part of the VACCA program and in collaboration with the Departments of Communication, Behavioral and Social Sciences, and Environmental Studies.

PJS 370/SOC 360 Social Change, Lowry

Introduces students to major sociological concepts and theories related to both “unintentional” and “intentional” social change. Initially, we examine various forms of collective behavior such as crowd activity, riots, protests, and conspiracy theories. The latter portion of the course is devoted to examining strategies, dynamics, and experiences of intentional social change via scholarly study of social movements and counter-movements.

PJS 370 /SWK 373 Social Policy, Tetloff

An introduction to the study of social policy with emphases on:  1) how social policy influences the lives of citizens; 2) how citizens can influence policy, and 3) historical and current barriers to social justice and the role in policy in increasing justice.

PJS 470/NPS 420/MG 420 Social Entrepreneurship and sustainability, DeAnna Smith

PJS 470/POS448/ES350 Environmental Policy, Eckelman

Peace and Justice Studies Committee Members

Jennifer Rickel, Co-Chair

Meredith Tetloff, Co-Chair


Social Work

Susan Caplow Environmental Studies
Andrea Eckelman Political Science
Steve Forrester Philosophy
Deb Lowry Sociology
Leonor Vazquez-Gonzalez Latin American Studies (Service Learning and Community Engagement)
Tom Sanders Business (Nonprofit Studies)
Greg Samuels Education (African American Studies)
Catherine Walsh Art History
Ariel Hall Student (non-voting)