2012-13 Catalog

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Offering Description

Justice at Work: Labor, Civil Rights, Immigration and the Law


Fall 2012, Winter 2013 and Spring 2013 quarters

Sarah Ryan labor studies/history, industrial relations , Arleen Sandifer law, Spanish, bilingual/ELL education
Fields of Study
African American studies, American studies, business and management, community studies, gender and women's studies, government, history, law and public policy and political economy
Preparatory for studies or careers in
law, labor organizing, history, social justice, public administration, management

Is justice a concept that is applicable to the workplace?  In approaching this question, we’ll look at the history and legacy of immigration laws, labor law as set forth in the National Labor Relations Act, and civil rights/anti-discrimination law as written in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  In addition to defining rights, these laws reflect the shape of power in society, and they can determine how workers and management interact.  Their texts were written by lawmakers; but in another sense, they were written in the streets and workplaces during turbulent times.  Class and racial biases exist in, and are reproduced by, the laws and their practices.  In this class we’ll study the social movements and conditions that led to the passage of important bodies of labor, civil rights, and immigration law.  We’ll ask how their history is important, how the struggles at their roots shaped the laws' forms, and how they affect the workplace today.

Students will become acquainted with the critiques developed by scholars in Critical Race Theory and Critical Legal Studies, which help us think about power in the larger society and alternative possibilities for justice.  Be prepared for fun, active, problem-solving and hard work.  Students will learn to do basic legal and historical research.  You will get a sense of the real work of attorneys and courts, but also the work of community activists and union stewards.  Though there are no prerequisites, students should be prepared with some basic background in 20th century American history and should have the patience and persistence to read detailed histories, statutes, and legal cases.  Students who are particularly interested in either labor, civil rights, or immigration issues are strongly urged to participate in the year-long program, as the connections between these histories and legal regimes are essential to understand.

Advertised Schedule
9a-5p Sat
Online Learning
Enhanced Online Learning
Greener Store
Required Fees
$25 required fee spring quarter (registration for the Pacific Northwest Labor History Conference in Portland, OR May 4)
Internship Possibilities
16-credit students must have arranged a 20-hour-per-week internship with a labor union, civil rights organization, immigration rights or immigrant organization, or human resources or labor relations office of a company or agency. Faculty will provide interested students with some sources, but students must set up their own internships, with faculty approval.
Offered During

Program Revisions

Date Revision
July 9th, 2012 8 credit enrollment increased. 16 credit enrollment decreased.