About Diversity and Social Justice Studies
Welcome to Diversity and Social Justice Studies at UPEI!
Diversity and Social Justice Studies at the University of Prince Edward Island explores scholarship and theories about identity categories (gender, sexuality, race, etc) and their relationship to power and knowledge. Through core and cross-listed courses students examine identity as a category of analysis, investigate the construction of social differences, and explore the impact that these considerations have on social structures and practices and knowledge production.
Diversity and Social Justice Studies recognizes that questions of social identity make a difference to people's lives; it researches how taking identities into account changes what we know and can know about social formations; it explores the importance of "differences" between people, recognizing that "difference" is often about (unequal) power relations; it investigates how identity markers such as gender, race, sexuality, (dis) abilities, national identity, etc. make a difference to people’s positioning in the world and thus also to what a more just world can look like; and it creates new scholarship that acknowledges the difference that considerations of identity make to how we know and can act in the world.
Diversity and Social Justice Studies is a self-reflexive project — that is, in addition to generating new knowledge that takes social identities into consideration, it also always asks questions about the construction of those categories of identity themselves. Thus, in Diversity and Social Justice Studies, identity is more than a description or variable to take into consideration; it is an area of constant question and contestation even as its overall concern is to explore what is meant by “social justice.” The academic field of Diversity and Social Justice Studies involves the critical examination of existing theories and research and the expansion of knowledge through generating new questions across a wide variety of disciplines and issues.
Diversity and Social Justice Studies gives students expertise and flexibility in a number of different fields, and provides them with critical-thinking skills and the kind of background and training more and more relevant to today's world. In Diversity and Social Justice Studies, students acquire: knowledge and social awareness about differences between groups of people and respect for that diversity; the capacity to ask critical questions about how the world is organized—and to posit other possibilities; and broad communication skills and the ability to see, understand, and translate multiple points of view for different audiences. Pursuing a program of study in Diversity and Social Justice Studies strengthens individual intellectual and personal development, and is valuable preparation for a variety of career fields after graduation, including (although not limited to!) law, administration, non-profit organizations and NGOs, social work, education, health professions, life sciences, academia, government service, business, counselling, journalism, leisure and recreation, and library science, among others.
Students can complete a Major or a Minor in Diversity and Social Justice Studies. Requirements for each of these can be found on the Diversity and Social Justice Studies Program page. For more information, contact the Co-ordinator of DSJS, Ann Braithwaite via e-mail or in person in Main 504.
Ann Braithwaite, Ph.D.