Social Science

Peace and Justice Studies

Fall 2019 Criminal Justice Reform Panel on stage

Fall 2019 Criminal Justice Reform panel co-sponsored by PJS, AAUW, Shelby County NAACP, and Montevallo Progressive Alliance.

Peace and Justice Studies at the University of Montevallo examines causes and consequences of economic disparity, institutionalized inequality, and strategies of peace building and conflict resolution.

UM’s location at the heart of the civil rights triangle in rural Alabama and our institutional history of working toward gender equity and inclusivity provides unique opportunities to pursue the work of a peace and justice studies minor. Our students explore community issues within global contexts to critically analyze race, gender, and class relations.

We offer students spaces for experiential education and community partnerships as well as scholarly engagement to learn the history of and techniques for conflict resolution, mediation, social change, and critical thinking. Minors may enhance their major field of study through our social justice framework and go on to become negotiators, community mediators, government officials, educators, businesspeople, organizers, and professionals in organizations focused on human rights, dispute resolution, environmental protection, international law, and human and economic development.

Junior Alumni Board Peace and Justice Scholarship

The Junior Alumni Board Peace and Justice Scholarship purpose is to reward a student who has declared a Peace and Justice minor and shows exemplary participation and service toward social justice movements. Review the scholarship application link below for criteria and guidelines.

Scholarship Application

Course Requirements

PJS 200 Introduction to Peace and Justice Studies (3 credits) – required

Exploration of issues, methods, and terminology essential to Peace and Justice Studies. Consists of readings, projects, and lecture-based study. Interdisciplinary course taught by UM professors in selected fields.

PJS 370/470 Special Topics in Peace and Justice Studies (3 credits) – required

Topics vary. Course may be repeated for credit as often as the topic changes.

Electives (12 credits) – list of approved electives announced each semester

Students must take four elective courses in at least three different disciplines. No more than two courses may be taken in any one discipline (includes cross-listings).

  • AAS 200 – Introduction to African American Studies
  • ART 326 – Special Topics**
  • BIO 405 – Biological Topics in Environmental Studies**
  • BL 283 – Legal Environment of Business
  • COMS 141 – Interpersonal Communication
  • COMS 355 – Intercultural Communication
  • COMS 410 – Environmental Communication
  • COMS 420 – Interpersonal Conflict Management
  • COMS 435 – Social Movement Rhetoric
  • COMS 460 – Seminar in Communication Studies**
  • ENG 232 – Global Literature: Perspectives Within a Period or Location**
  • ENG 405 – Studies in One or Two Authors**
  • ENG 471 – African-American Literature
  • ENG 472 – Literature from the Margins
  • ENG 473 – Postcolonial Literature
  • ENG 474 – Anglophone Literature**
  • ENG 475 – Literature of Sexuality and Gender**
  • ES 200 – Environment and Society
  • ES 300 – Interdisciplinary Approaches to Environmental Studies
  • HIST 424 – Colonial Latin America
  • PHIL 220 – Ethics
  • PHIL 300 – Special Topics in Philosophy**
  • POS 333 – Gender in World Politics
  • POS 335 – Identity Politics
  • POS 340 – World Politics
  • POS 350 – Model United Nations
  • POS 360 – Citizenship and Public Service
  • POS 446 – The Politics of Social Policy
  • POS 455 – International Relations
  • SOC 322 – Group Identities, Power and Difference
  • SOC 324 – Social Stratification
  • SOC 360 – Social Change
  • MG 308 – Business and Society
  • MG 371 – Nonprofit Organizations
  • MG 400 – Globalization: National and International Issues
  • MG 420 – Social Entrepreneurship and Sustainability
  • MG 464 – Leadership and Organizational Change**
  • NPS 371 – Nonprofit Organizations – Overview and Operations
  • NPS 420 – Social Entrepreneurship and Sustainability
  • SWK 203 – Introduction to Social Welfare and Social Work
  • SWK 301 – Selected Topics in Social Work**
  • SWK 373 – Social Policy

**Requires approval by PJS Coordinating Committee

Total: 18 credits

Fall 2023 PJS Courses

PJS 200, Introduction to Peace and Justice Studies, Rickel & Tetloff

MWF, 12 – 12:50 pm

This introduction to peace and justice studies will survey causes and consequences of economic disparity, institutionalized inequality, and strategies of peacebuilding and conflict resolution. Faculty from multiple disciplines will lead class discussions about both global and local forms of institutionalized inequality, the many causes of violence and conflict, and the impacts of nonviolent protest and social activism. This course will take advantage of UM’s location at the heart of the civil rights triangle by applying class content within the community and referring to those community experiences to deepen critical analysis of race, gender, and class relations both locally and globally.

Global Literature: Shakespeare and Contemporary Society, Atwood (PJS elective)

ENG 232-003 TR 12:30 pm–1:45 pm

ENG 232-004 TR 2:00 pm–3:15 pm

In these sections of Global Literature, we will explore Shakespeare’s influence on contemporary society, looking at ways Shakespeare has been adapted, appropriated, and deployed as a tool for social justice and resistance since the turn of the 21st century. Is “Shakespeare” a bastion of conservative thought, or are there opportunities to read and perform against the grain? In addition to reading a selection of Shakespeare’s plays as foundational texts, we will consider a variety of film and theater adaptations, the teen Shakespeare market, non-fiction personal and political essays, and more, always asking the question: why does Shakespeare still matter?

ENG 457/557/PJS 470: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Technical Communication, Mwenja

MWF 1 – 1:50 pm

This class interrogates whose voices are represented in the field of Technical Communication, whose are left out, and how technical writing can account for a wider array of authors and audience members. Course texts include pieces taken from Technical Communication Quarterly’s special issue on Black Technical Writing, Communication Design Quarterly’s special issue on disability in technical communication, and scholar Cana Uluak Itchuaqiyaq’s Decolonial Methods in Technical and Professional Communication course. Using a DEI lens, students in this class examine and create a variety of conventional technical and professional writing texts, including instructions, emails, memos, surveys, reports, and proposals. Students may also produce infographics, public service announcements, bulletins, and a survival guide. Class content includes developing writing processes, attending to ethical considerations, finding and using credible source material, creating texts for specific rhetorical situations, and gathering and reporting data.

POS 335/PJS 370 Identity Politics, Eckelman

TR 11 – 12:15 pm

Explores how various racial, ethnic, gender and sexual identities shape political experience, participation and representation in American politics. Prerequisite(s) with concurrency allowed: POS 200 or 250; or permission of instructor. POS 200 or 250 recommended.

POS 350/PJS 370 Model UN, Turner

TR 2:00-3:15

Students learn about the United Nations’ structure and process and major issues of global concern. They prepare to represent a designated country by learning about that country’s positions and concerns in the United Nations. They write resolutions and practice parliamentary procedure, debating, and voting in a simulation of the UN process. The course culminates with students participating in the Southern Regional Model United Nations. Course is repeatable once for general elective credit. Consent of instructor required. May be Cross-listed with HNRS 309.

POS 385/PJS 370, Modern Political Thought, Turner

TR 12:30-1:45

From Locke to Marx, students will engage the evolution of modern political thought through careful reading and discussion of primary texts, and they will be encouraged to consider the relevance of the major philosophers to contemporary political life.

SWK 373/PJS 370 Social Policy, Tetloff

TR, 12:30 – 1:45 pm

An introduction to the study of social policy with emphases on:  1) how social policy influences the lives of citizens; 2) how social policy influences the practice of social work, and 3) the resulting responsibilities of social work to try to influence social policy. Utilizing Critical Race Theory, Intersectionality Theory, and Conflict Theory, the course examines historical and structural causes of inequalities, especially based on race, ethnicity, and gender, and explores policy-based solutions for social problems such as poverty, systemic racism, and barriers to social needs.

MG 400 / PJS 470 Globalization, Alex Mechitov

TR 11:00 to 12:15

This course reviews international business issues as an integral part of contemporary globalization process. The course focuses on consequences of the increasing international flows of goods, services, information, and people and studies their interdependence. The course explores the corresponding demands on management systems and individuals.

PSYC 396 / PJS 370: Psychology of Prejudice and Minority Experience Shannon Pinegar

TR 12:30

The study of prejudice and minority experience in social psychology has a long and storied tradition, dating back to Gordon Allport’s The Nature of Prejudice in 1954. The importance of this work has grown across time. Understanding events of the 20th Century such as the Holocaust, the Civil Rights Movement, gender equality, and the Stonewall riots led social psychologists to study processes underlying intergroup behavior. The value of this work continues today in the wake of Black Lives Matter, #metoo, anti-Asian prejudice, and LGBTQ+ equality (among many others). Although discourse about prejudice and minority experience has at times been co-opted for political gain, we will focus on the science underlying how stereotyping, prejudice, discrimination, and minority experience affect human behavior. We will read two popular books written by leading social psychologists (Biased focusing on race, and The Broken Ladder focusing on social and economic inequality) as well as scientific papers that add experimental insights to the themes covered in these books. Additional class activities will broaden our class coverage (e.g., people with physical disabilities, the women’s rights movement). The prerequisites are PSYC 201, (or 202), and 3 additional hours of psychology course credit

PSYC 382/PJS 370: Diverse Family Systems, Rachel Jubran

TR 11- 12:15 pm

The notion of the “traditional American family” is transforming. With new historical circumstances, families in the United States have become increasingly more diverse. This course is intended to provide students with an overview and analysis of a variety of contemporary family systems in the US, such as single-parent families, adoptive and foster family systems, families who have children via reproductive technologies, and families withsexual minority parents. Taught from a developmental psychological perspective, students will also gain understanding in family systems theory and in research methods for studying family systems. Course material will be considered within the context of social issues, questions, and public controversies, e.g., “Is the traditional family disappearing?”, “Is the institution of marriage dying or changing?”, “Do children need both a mother and a father for optimal development?”. The course will address factors that contribute to positive family functioning and healthy outcomes for children and parents. Implications for future research, clinical practice, public policy, and law surrounding parenting and families (e.g., custody and placement decisions) willbe covered. Course goals are accomplished through interactive dialogue of course readings, opportunities for presentation on course topics, and several course projects/papers.

prerequisites are PSYC 201, (or 202),  PSYC 306 and 9 additional hours of psychology course credit

COMS 410/PJS 470 Environmental Communication, Sally Hardig

TR 11 – 12:15 pm

This course begins with the presumption that the language and rhetorical strategies used in environmental discourse powerfully affect our perceptions of ourselves and of our relationships with the natural world. During the course of this semester we will analyze and reflect on perceptions of these relationships in our own lives and communities through various assignments and activities. We will also examine various contexts, styles, and strategies of communication focusing on how language and symbols are used to shape public perception and policy on environmental issues. In addition to analysis, we will explore and apply a variety of communication practices including deliberative communication and advocacy.

Peace and Justice Studies Committee Members

Jennifer Rickel, Co-Chair

Meredith Tetloff, Co-Chair


Social Work

Lolita Kincade Education and Human Development
Susan Caplow Environmental Studies
Andrea Eckelman Political Science
Steve Forrester Philosophy
Deb Lowry Sociology
Leonor Vazquez-Gonzalez Latin American Studies (Service Learning and Community Engagement)
Milad Jasemi Zargani Business (Nonprofit Studies)
Catherine Walsh Art History
Mixtica Canales Student (non-voting)
Jamal Rasheed Student (non-voting)