We say justice is blind. Does this mean treating everyone in the same way? As if they are equals? As if there are no differences among them? But what if some people are marginalized, subordinated, or stigmatized? Could pretending these stratifications don't exist actually be unjust? What if different people or groups need different things for justice to be done? Would that mean a "one-size fits all" approach is fundamentally unjust? But then, how would we know who needs what? Who would be obligated? To whom? And what if there are conflicting definitions of justice? Could securing justice for some simultaneously cause others injustice? How would we mediate between these competing definitions? How would we do justice for all? Can we?
This course explores what justice might entail through contemporary Western political theory. We will begin with liberal democratic theories of justice. Then we will study texts by feminist, critical-race, queer, and other theorists to understand justice from the perspectives of marginalized, subordinated, or stigmatized groups. We will not search for definitive answers or hard-and-fast conclusions about what justice is or should be. Rather, we are interested in getting a better sense of justice's many dimensions and tensions.
Course Instructor: Dr. Paul Martorelli