Centering Justice in Introductory American Government Courses


One of the core responsibilities of modern American universities is to prepare students for their role in the American democratic system. The organization of syllabi and textbooks has changed very little over time and offers a piecemeal survey of institutions, processes, and developments. This can be disengaging for todays college students who are already familiar with the content and desire to see change in the political system. This paper highlights an alternative organization of traditional American Government content framed around justice rather than institutions. . This paper features a comparison of the justice course syllabus with the American Government textbook assigned by traditional course sections at the same institution. It highlights the shared content, terms, theories, events, and documents presented in both courses, but offers an alternative frame for meeting learning objectives. The paper concludes with general recommendations on centering justice in political science courses.



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