Democracy and Justice Studies

(Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science)

Democracy and Justice Studies explores diverse ideals and practices of democracy and justice in the United States and the world though interdisciplinary social and historical studies. Democracy and Justice Studies students look at how people past and present have sought in various ways to sustain and change political, economic, cultural, and social orders. We ask why and how societies develop and whether their political, economic, cultural and social relations and activities promote justice, freedom, equality, and democracy. By cultivating critical thinking and problem-focused thinking, we enable students to become engaged citizens and professionals. 

Democracy and Justice Studies encourages students to put democracy and justice into action in the classroom, in internships, in research projects, in their volunteer lives, and in their eventual career choices. Along with substantive training in current and past social and political issues, students learn skills such as digital and textual literacy, the ability to express arguments and ideas clearly in speech and writing, critical thinking, and cultural competence. This program thus offers wide-ranging educational challenges and provides students with broadly applicable learning experiences useful for many career paths in the public, private and non-profit sectors. Democracy and Justice Studies is encouraged and appropriate for individuals interested in graduate work in the social sciences and humanities, law school, journalism, international business, and a variety of careers related to community development, social justice, social and environmental activism, women’s and gender equity, and other social issues. 

Graduates work in a wide range of careers including business, domestic and international development, education, non-profit work, journalism, law and criminal justice, library science, museum administration, philanthropy, and politics. Some have pursued advanced studies in fields such as anthropology, area studies, criminal justice, economics, history, international relations, law, library science, philosophy, political science, sociology, theology and women’s and gender studies.

Majors select one or more areas of emphasis from among the following:

American Studies addresses historical and contemporary political problems, public issues, social criticism and strategies for change in the United States.

Criminal Justice considers the development of the institutions, ideas and processes of the criminal justice system, including questions of freedom, social control, punishment and inequality.

U.S. and the World focuses on the influence of the United States and essential American ideals, including democracy, equality, and social justice, abroad.

Legal Studies examines law and legal systems past and present, both in the United States and around the world, and their relationship to justice and democracy. 

Women’s and Gender Studies explores historical and contemporary perspectives on women and gender, emphasizing the ways varied and changing gender roles affect economic and social opportunity. 

Students seeking a major or minor in Democracy and Justice Studies may choose to combine their programs with another field of study. Among fields most relevant are, business, communication, economics, education, environmental policy and planning, ethnic studies, First Nations studies, global studies, history, human development, journalism, political science, psychology, social work, sociology, urban and regional studies, and women’s and gender studies.

We encourage students to study abroad or at other campuses in the United States through UW-Green Bay’s participation in international exchange programs and National Student Exchange. Travel courses are another option for obtaining academic credits and completing requirements. For more information, contact the Office of International Education at (920) 465-2190 or see

Area of Emphasis

Students must complete requirements in one of the following areas of emphasis:

Harvey J Kaye; Professor; Ph.D., Louisiana State University

Andrew W Austin; Associate Professor; Ph.D., University of Tennessee, chair

Ekaterina M Levintova; Associate Professor; Ph.D., Western Michigan University

Eric J Morgan; Associate Professor; Ph.D., University of Colorado at Boulder

Jon K Shelton; Associate Professor; Ph.D., University of Maryland

Alison K Staudinger; Associate Professor; Ph.D., University of Maryland

Kimberley A Reilly; Assistant Professor; Ph.D., University of Chicago


DJS 101. Introduction to Democracy and Justice Studies. 3 Credits.

This course will introduce students to a variety of theories about democracy and justice and offer examples of those who have attempted to put decmocracy and justice into practice.
Fall and Spring.

DJS 198. First Year Seminar. 3 Credits.

First Year Seminar, topics vary.
Reserved for New Incoming Freshman.

DJS 200. Mentoring for Equity and Inclusion. 3 Credits.

Students will serve as mentors for Green Bay high school students participating in the Federal TRIO Upward Bound program. Mentors will help promote the development of skills critical to academic success, will encourage students to aspire to college, will help overcome barriers to college attainment, and will act as a role model and resource for the underrepresented students served by TRIO programs. A critical component of mentoring will involve learning about the barriers that have historically limited access to college, including low income, racism, and sexism. Mentors will work with local TRIO students at least four hours per week for twelve weeks and will provide mentoring as well as tutoring support.
Fall and Spring.

DJS 204. Freedom and Social Control. 3 Credits.

Explores definitions, concepts and theories used to explain and understand central features of social power. Themes include the struggle for social justice, the history of punishment in Western society, and the legal and extralegal management and disciplining of individuals and groups.
Fall and Spring.

DJS 221. American Law in Historical Perspective. 3 Credits.

Americans hold equality to be one of the central principles of our democracy. Our Declaration of Independence articulates the ideal that “all men are created equal.” And our courts are intended to embody the principle that justice is blind—all are to be equal before the law. At the same time, our nation has embraced profound legal inequalities from the moment of its inception—most conspicuously in the law of slavery, but also in the legal regimes that governed the status of women, immigrants, wage earners, Native Americans, and others. This course examines the ideal of legal equality in historical perspective, beginning with the colonial era and ending in the present day. We will investigate transformations in the legal meaning of privacy, citizenship, and civil rights over time, and consider the terms in which we uphold “equality” in our own historical moment.
Spring Odd.

DJS 241. Introduction to Women's & Gender Studies. 3 Credits.

Interdisciplinary introduction to the study of gender, including identity, expression, and sexuality; the influence of gender on social institutions and structures; and an intersectional examination of women, men, and LGBTQ+ lives in the United States historically and today.
Fall and Spring.

DJS 299. Travel Course. 1-4 Credits.

Travel courses are conducted to various parts of the world and are led by one or more faculty members. May be repeated to different locations.
P: cons of instr & prior trip arr & financial deposit.

DJS 303. Criminal Justice Process. 3 Credits.

A study of the components, relations, and processes of U.S. criminal justice. The criminal justice system is theoretically linked to larger social arrangements, including class and race-ethnic stratification. Ethical problems, such as group disparities in arrest and sentencing, are given special attention.
P: POL SCI 101 and SOCIOL 202.
Fall Only.

DJS 307. History of Economic Thought. 3 Credits.

Historical development of contemporary economic thought from the mercantilist period to the present emphasizing contributions of major schools of economic thought.
P: jr st.
Fall Only.

DJS 320. Constitutional Law. 3 Credits.

This course examines the development of constitutional law across a variety of issue areas in the United States Supreme Court, focusing on civil liberties and civil rights. It is taught using the case law method, which consists of reading judicial opinions. In addition to learning about our individual freedoms and rights, we will identify, analyze, and evaluate the legal questions and legal arguments raised in Supreme Court cases.
P: POL SCI 101.
Fall Only.

DJS 325. Law and Society. 3 Credits.

Explores how the courts can either promote or inhibit progressive social, political, and economic changes in contemporary American society. There is a great deal of emphasis placed on how to use theory to better understand the relationship between law and society.
P: HISTORY 206 or POL SCI 100 or 101 or SOCIOL 202.

DJS 348. Gender and the Law. 3 Credits.

The changing legal status of women and LGBTQ+ people in relationship to other social forces; major historical landmarks in the development of their legal rights and current status in such areas as property rights, family law and employment opportunity; legal tools in the struggle for equality.
P: sophomore standing
Fall Even.

DJS 349. American Political Thought. 3 Credits.

The history and development of American political thought, with attention to the thinkers and themes influential to controversies, ideologies, and institutions in American politics.

DJS 353. The U.S. and the World. 3 Credits.

This course will explore the United States' interactions with the larger world, including its experiments with imperialism, interventionism, and multilateralism, from 1898 to the present. Through our study of both United States foreign policy and the engagement of Americans with global and transnational issues such as the spread of democracy, free trade, peace, human rights, and environmentalism, we will critical gain insights into the democratic ideals of the United States and their implications for the larger global community.
P: HISTORY 206 or POL SCI 100 or POL SCI 101.
Spring Even.

DJS 361. Historical Perspectives on American Democracy. 3 Credits.

Examination of historical thinking in scholarly work and public life and study of the making of modern American freedom, equality and democracy, past and present.
P: ENG COMP 105. REC: ANTHRO 100 or SOCIOL 202
Fall Only.

DJS 362. Power and Change in America. 3 Credits.

Study of the dynamic relations between political economy and social structure and the formation and impact of social movements, politics and ideologies in modern America.
P: POL SCI 101 or SOCIOL 202.
Spring Odd.

DJS 363. Topics in Democracy and Justice. 3 Credits.

Explores a single theme pertaining to democracy and justice from an interdisciplinary perspective. Variable content. Course is repeatable for credit; may be taken 3 times for a total of 9 credits.
REC: DJS 101
Fall and Spring.

DJS 365. U.S. Labor and the Working Class: Past and Present. 3 Credits.

This course introduces students to the major themes around the history of American working men and women in the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries. The course examines the social and political place of working people as well as cultural practices and how they impacted workers’ political consciousness.

DJS 371. Gender and Economic Justice. 3 Credits.

This course serves as an introduction to the field of contemporary feminist approaches to economics. Questions range from conceptualization of the economy, work, well-being, and the gendered implications of policy at both micro and macro levels. The course includes an examination of contemporary economic inequalities between men and women (also differentiated by race and class), with a focus on the United States.
Spring Even.

DJS 437. Feminist Theory. 3 Credits.

This course is an introduction to feminist theories from a variety of disciplinary perspectives; we will examine the development of feminist theories, their practice and contrasting viewpoints.
P: DJS 241.
Spring Even.

DJS 461. Social and Political Criticism. 3 Credits.

Operating as a seminar, we examine the role of the American social critic and the practice of social criticism on the political left, right and center. Then, operating as a writing workshop, we compose pieces of political, social and cultural criticism for possible publication.
P: DJS 360 or 361 or SOCIOL 302 or 307.

DJS 470. Senior Seminar in Democracy and Justice Studies. 3 Credits.

Rigorous analysis of an important social change issue or of the work of an important social change theorist. Course is not repeatable for credit.
P: DJS 361; and ENG COMP 105
Fall and Spring.

DJS 478. Honors in the Major. 3 Credits.

Honors in the Major is designed to recognize student excellence within interdisciplinary and disciplinary academic programs.
P: min 3.50 all cses req for major and min gpa 3.75 all UL cses req for major.
Fall and Spring.

DJS 497. Internship. 1-12 Credits.

Supervised practical experience in an organization or activity appropriate to a student's career and educational interests. Internships are supervised by faculty members and require periodic student/faculty meetings. Course is repeatable for credit.
P: jr st.
Fall and Spring.

DJS 498. Independent Study. 1-4 Credits.

Independent study is offered on an individual basis at the student's request and consists of a program of learning activities planned in consultation with a faculty member. A student wishing to study or conduct research in an area not represented in available scheduled courses should develop a preliminary proposal and seek the sponsorship of a faculty member. The student's advisor can direct him or her to instructors with appropriate interests. A written report or equivalent is required for evaluation, and a short title describing the program must be sent early in the semester to the registrar for entry on the student's transcript. Course is repeatable for credit.
P: fr or so st with cum gpa > or = 2.50; or jr or sr st with cum gpa > or = 2.00.
Fall and Spring.

DJS 499. Travel Course. 1-6 Credits.

Travel courses are conducted to various parts of the world and are led by one or more faculty members. May be repeated to different locations.
P: cons of instr & prior trip arr & financial deposit.