Doing Justice

GenEd 0853



What You Will Learn, What You Will Not Learn


This course introduces you to a question: do justice agencies treat different individuals, or different groups of individuals, in different ways?

This question leads to other questions: If they do treat them in different ways, is there a pattern to what they do? How has this pattern stayed the same over time? How has it changed? How is that pattern likely to shift in the future?

This course is a General Education course. It seeks to meet goals relevant to all General Education courses.

It is also a course within the GenEd area "U.S. Society," so it also seeks to meet those goals as well.

What you will learn: skills

You will gain several specific skills through your participation in this course.

Some of those skills will help you learn to do research. For example, depending on your instructor and the course structure, you may be asked to complete small exercises or assignments which help you learn:

You may find these skills helpful in future courses. Learning these skills may help with the goals of information literacy or quantitative literacy.

You will understand how these data you locate can be used to describe situations, trends, institutions, and locations. As you learn about these data, you will strengthen your ability to make informed (i.e., data-based) judgments about the topics at hand.

There will be some assignments or exercises where you will be working with these data. You will learn how data can be used to test ideas about why things are (or were) the way they are (or were). This is called the scientific method.

Perhaps most importantly, you will learn that data “are” something, because data means more than one datum. A single piece of data is a datum, and is singular. If you have more than one datum, you have data. You will learn to never, ever say “data is.”

What you will learn: content

This course looks at the intersection of U.S. society, and how justice agencies do their work.

This course takes a very specific approach to this area. Those specifics include:

There are some things this course is not
This is not a course on urban crime in the early 20th Century. For that take History 0279 Historical Roots of Urban Crime (highly recommended).

This course is not about the geographic, social, demographic, economic, cultural structure of cities or urban regions. For that take History 278 (Development of the Modern American City) or Geography and Urban Studies C055 (Urban Society).

This course is not a detailed history of Philadelphia. For that, take History 0167 (History of Philadelphia).

This course is not an introduction to the criminal justice. For that, take Criminal Justice 0050 (Introduction to Criminal Justice).

This course is not about national politics and how those matters connect with law and order and criminal justice. For that take Political Science 0126 (American Public Opinion).

This course is not about the structure of American (or other) societies. For that, take Introduction to Sociology.