Imagining Justice

Instructor Name: 
Amy Greenstadt
Course Description: 

This course is taught on the model of the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program, which brings together college students living in prison (in this case, Coffee Creek Women’s Correctional Facility) with students on the outside. In this unique classroom environment we will focus on the question, “What Is Justice?” The premise of the course is that living a just existence means living imaginatively. “Justice” is not a thing, but an abstract ideal that we must constantly re-envision as we attempt to put it into practice. We will read and interpret imaginative literature as a way to launch our own investigations into what justice may mean for us and for our society. My scholarly field is Shakespearean literature with a focus on the histories of gender and race, so we will concentrate on some key texts by Shakespeare and his contemporaries as well as modern works that address issues of moral responsibility, social hierarchy, and punishment. Our final project will bring the visions of justice we have collectively imagined to a wider audience.

Be prepared for weekly writing assignments, and make sure your schedule will accommodate travel time to and from the prison. Students may only register for the course after receiving instructor approval, which will be granted on the basis of a 30-minute interview. Since the class will usually take place inside the prison, outside students will also need to undergo an Oregon Department of Corrections security background check prior to starting the course.