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“What is Justice?” Humanities Course

Project Director: Jacqueline O’Connor
Institution: Boise State University
Enduring Questions Grant Proposal Abstract

What is Justice?

An undergraduate course on “What is Justice?” will guide students in the exploration of a concept central to the formation of all world civilizations, an issue that compels interest from cradle to grave and occupies a foundational place in the humanities. Pluralistic viewpoints on justice, whether social, criminal, or poetic, abound in theory and representation, and have resulted in a vast record of compelling philosophical dialogue and gripping artistic narrative. The desire for justice ignites the intellect and boils the blood, for the gap between word and deed is all too often dishearteningly wide: for example, although “liberty and justice for all” is part of the pledge of our national allegiance, documentation of injustice, be it national or international, individual or state-sanctioned, fills history books and daily blogs. Sustained study of the topic will increase students’ understanding of justice, its complex cultural legacy, and its connections to contemporary life. Through this course, designed for students from all majors and at all levels, the project director will make new contributions to scholarship in the field of law and humanities, guide undergraduates in their own explorations of this compelling intellectual intersection, and foster community by promoting understanding across personal and cultural divides.