Humanities and Justice (BA)

Humanities and Justice (BA)


The Humanities and Justice major offers students the opportunity to explore fundamental questions about justice from a humanistic, interdisciplinary perspective. Rooted in history, literature and philosophy, Humanities and Justice prepares students for basic inquiry and advanced research into issues of justice that lie behind social policy and criminal justice as well as broader problems of social morality and equity. Its courses are designed to help students develop the skills of careful reading, critical thinking and clear writing that are necessary for the pursuit of any professional career. This major provides an excellent preparation for law school and other professional programs, for graduate school in the humanities, and for careers in law, education, public policy and criminal justice. The Humanities and Justice curriculum involves a sequence of five interdisciplinary core courses in Humanities and Justice (designated with the HJS prefix), and seven courses from a list of humanities electives.

Learning Outcomes. Students will:

•     Gain a comprehensive foundation in major concepts, underlying principles, values, issues, and theories of justice in the Western tradition.

•     Gain a comprehensive foundation in non-Western traditions of justice in several historical periods through direct engagement with historical, literary, and philosophical primary texts.

•     Identify and analyze the issues and theories embedded in primary texts concerning justice.

•     Employ, compare and evaluate the methods of inquiry used in the disciplines of history, literary study, and philosophy.

•     Produce well-reasoned, coherently written, evidence-based, argumentative analyses of primary sources.

•     Investigate an original research question or research problem, and/or argue an original thesis, by engaging in a critical, rigorous, and ethical process of academic research.

Credits Required.

Humanities and Justice Major


General Education




Total Credits Required for B.A. Degree


Coordinator. Professors Stephen Russell, Fall 2017 (212.237.8290, and Hyunhee Park, Spring 2018 (212.237.8291,, Department of History. Students must review their course of study with major faculty.

Advising resources. Four-year Academic Plan

Additional information. Students who enrolled for the first time at the College or changed to this major in September 2014 or thereafter must complete the major in the form presented here. Students who enrolled prior to that date may choose the form shown here or the earlier version of the major. A copy of the earlier version may be obtained in the 2013–2014 Undergraduate Bulletin.

Senior–level requirement. Students must complete HJS 410 Reading Scholarship in Humanities and Justice and HJS 415 Thesis in Humanities and Justice Studies.

PART ONE. REQUIRED COURSES                                                                          Subtotal: 9 credits

HJS 250 Justice in the Western Traditions
HJS 310 Comparative Perspectives on Justice
HJS 315 Research Methods in Humanities and Justice Studies

PART TWO. HUMANITIES AND JUSTICE ELECTIVES                                    Subtotal: 21 credits

Students take seven advanced elective courses in one or more of the humanities disciplines in order to explore how the fundamental assumptions, methods and general subject matter of these disciplines relate to issues of justice. These courses will be chosen by the student with faculty advisement, from the following list. Permission by the Humanities and Justice Coordinator is required for any course not listed below in Categories A, B, or C to count toward the major. A minimum of 12 credits must be taken at the 300–level or above.

HIS 214 Immigration and Ethnicity in the United States
HIS 219 Violence and Social Change in America
HIS 224 A History of Crime in New York City
HIS 242/POL 242/LLS 242 U.S. Foreign Policy in Latin America
HIS 252 Warfare in the Ancient Near East and Egypt
HIS 254 History of Ancient Greece and Rome 
HIS 256 History of Muslim Societies and Communities
HIS 260/LLS 260 History of Contemporary Cuba
HIS 264 China to 1650
HIS 265/LLS 265 Class, Race, and Family in Latin American History
HIS 270 Marriage in Medieval Europe
HIS 274 China: 1650-Present
HIS 277 American Legal History
HIS 281 Imperialism in Africa, South Asia, and the Middle East
HIS 282 Selected Topics in History
HIS 323 History of Lynching and Collective Violence
HIS 325 Criminal Justice in European Society, 1750 to the Present
HIS 340 Modern Military History from the Eighteenth Century to the Present
HIS 354 Law and Society in Ancient Athens and Rome
HIS 356/GEN 356 Sexuality, Gender, and Culture in Muslim Societies
HIS 364/GEN 364 History of Gender and Sexuality: Prehistory to 1650
HIS 374 Premodern Punishment
HIS 375 Female Felons in the Premodern World
HIS 381 Social History of Catholicism in the Modern World
HIS 383 History of Terrorism
HJS 380 Selected Topics in Humanities and Justice
LIT 219 The Word as Weapon
LIT 223/AFR 223 African-American Literature
LIT 265 Foundations of U.S. Lation/a Literature
LIT 287 Selected Topics in Literature
LIT 305 Foundations of Literature and Law
LIT 311 Literature and Ethics
LIT 314 Shakespeare and Justice
LIT 315 American Literature and the Law
LIT 316 Gender and Identity in Western Literary Traditions
LIT 326 Crime, Pusnishment, and Justice in U.S. Literature
LIT 327 Crime and Punishment in World Literature
LIT 340/AFR 340 African American Experience in America: Comparative Racial Perspectives
LIT 342 Perspectives on Literature and Human Rights
LIT 346 Cultures in Conflict
LIT 348 Native American Literature
LIT 366 Writing Nature: Literature and Ecology
LIT 380 Advanced Selected Topics in Literature
LIT 383 Gender and Sexuality in U.S. Latino/a Literature
LLS 322 Latina/o Struggles for Civil Rights and Social Justice
PHI 203 Political Philosophy
PHI 205 Philosophy of Religion
PHI 210 Ethical Theory
PHI 302 The Philosophy of Rights
PHI 304 Philosophy of the Mind
PHI 310/LAW 310 Ethics and Law
PHI 315 Philosophy of the Rule of Law: Theory and Practice
PHI 317 Philosophy of Law in Global Perspective
PHI 322/CRJ 322 Judicial and Correctional Ethics
PHI 326 Topics in the History of Modern Thought
PHI 340 Utopian Thought
PHI 423/POL 423 Selected Topics in Justice
SPA 308 The Theme of Justice in Spanish Literature
SPA 335 Themes of Justice in Latin American Literature and Film

HIS 282, LIT 287, LIT 380: HIS 282 Selected Topics in History, LIT 287 Selected Topics in Literature, LIT 380 Advanced Selected Topics in Literature and LIT 401 Special Topics may be used to satisfy the six-course requirement of the Disciplinary Component when the topic is applicable to the Humanities and Justice major. ISP courses should be handled similarly. To approve these courses for inclusion in the major, students and/or faculty must petition the program coordinator.

PART THREE. PROBLEMS  AND RESEARCH                                                             Subtotal 6 credits

Both are required
HJS 410 Reading Scholarship in Humanities and Justice
HJS 415 Thesis in Humanities and Justice Studies

                                                                                                                                         Total Credit Hours: 36

                                                                                                                                               Last Updated: 2/13/18