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AP/HREQ 3890 6.00A Social Justice Studies: Theory, Analysis, Practice


Dr. Lorne Foster

Class: Thursday 2:30 to 4:30 – CLH K
Term: 2019-20

Office: 123 McLaughlin College

Office Hours: (by appointment)




This course examines the historical importance and the contemporary relevance of struggles to overcome inequality and injustice. The course is divided into four distinct parts. In the first part, theory and processes of social justice will be triangulated around the key concepts of culture, social power and ideology. The second part the focus will be on the critical analysis of social justice and equity issues surrounding race, ethnicity, gender and social class as they relate to the many dimensions of inequality and domination, resistance and collective empowerment, in Canada and beyond. In the third part of the course the emphasis will be on the structures and patterns of social action in Canada, related to the social forces of prejudice, stereotyping, discrimination and racism. In the fourth part, some of the major institutional policies reflecting values of social justice in Canada and the workplace will be examined with specific emphasis on immigrants and immigration, employment equity and multiculturalism.

Note*: Exam reviews will not be offered/ provided in this session.




The focus of this course will be on expanding your awareness of social justice issues by developing and understanding of the “interlocking” nature of poverty, violence, racism, sexism, colonization, disability, religious persecution, environmental degradation and other forms of oppression. This course will be devoted to the development of "critical thinking" about the mediating impact of ideology-culture-and-power on institutions, the relationship between social institutions and social inequality, and the role of consciousness as a transformative tool. Particular attention will be devoted to (1) the problems associated with research on explicitly political, often contentious social phenomena, (2) the implications of various social justice theories for the research process, including the relation between various methodological approaches and their resulting forms of knowledge, and (3) the problems associated with the dissemination and circulation of knowledge about social justice issues within mainstream public discourse.





The class procedure involves lectures, interactive discussion of the readings, occasional audio visual presentations and student presentations. Students are expected to attend classes with reading assignments completed in order to facilitate discussions. Additional materials relevant to the topic readings will be introduced as lecture material.





Augie Fleras.

2017    Unequal Relations: An Introduction to Race And Ethnic Dynamics in Canada. Eighth             Edition. Scarborough, Ontario: Prentice Hall Canada. ISBN -9780133761788(paperback).


Lorne Foster, Les Jacobs, Bobby Siu & Shaheen Azmi.

2018   Racial Profiling and Human Rights in Canada: The New Legal Landscape. Toronto: Irwin Law. ISBN 973-1-55221-483-1 (paperback).






1968    The Republic. (Benjamin Jowet trans.). New York: Airmont Publishing Co. Inc.



Each student’s performance will be evaluated as follows:


Class participation/presentation(on one of the course readings)


In-class test (October 03)


In-class test (November 28)


In-class test (February 13)


Essay (March 12)


Final Exam (March 26)


Note*: The instructor reserves the right to make changes to this course outline after consultation with the full class.



September 05

Distribution of Course Outline and Introductions.

September 12

Excerpts from Plato's Socrates on The Nature of Justice (handout)

September 19

Unequal Relations, Ch. 1 –  Conceptualizing Race, Ethnic and Aboriginal Relations

September 26

Unequal Relations, Ch. 2 –  The Politics of Race

October 03

In-Class Test

October 10

Unequal Relations Ch. 3 - Racisms & Anti-Racism Social Inequality

October 17

Reading Week

October 24

Racial Profiling & Human Rights, Ch. 1 - Defining Racial Profiling

October 31

Racial Profiling & Human Rights, Ch. 6 - "Singled Out" Being Black in the Suburbs

November 07

Racial Profiling & Human Rights, Ch. 7 – The Reframing of Racial Profiling: Police Violence Against Black Women

November 14

Unequal Relations, Ch. 6 - Gender Difference/Gendered Inequality (pp. 167-172{Gender Justice})*

November 21

Unequal Relations, Ch. 6 – Gender Difference/Gendered Inequality (pp. 172-181{Gender Justice})*

November 28

In-Class Test


Pause for the Cause

January 09

Racial Profiling & Human Rights, Ch. 9 - Racial Profiling of Women in Canada: Beyond a “Gender-Free” Lens

January 16

Racial Profiling & Human Rights, Ch. 8 - Damaged Goods: A Critical Perspective on Consumer Racial Profiling

January 23

Unequal Relations, Ch. 7 –  Aboriginal Peoples (pp. 196-218) {Aboriginal Justice})*

January 30

Unequal Relations, Ch. 7 –  Aboriginal Peoples (pp. 218-238) {Aboriginal Justice})*


January 30


Unequal Relations, Ch. 7 – Aboriginal Peoples in Canada: Repairing the Relationships (pp. 218-238 {Aboriginal Justice})*

February 06

Unequal Relations Ch.8 – Immigrants and Immigration

February 13

In-Class Test

February 20

Winter Reading Week

February 27

Racial Profiling & Human Rights, Appendix – Race Data and Traffic Stops in Ottawa, 2013-2015: A Report submitted to Ottawa Police Services Board and Ottawa Police Services

March 05

Racial Profiling & Human Rights, Ch. 11 – A Double-Edge Sward: Carding, Public Safety, and the Impact of Racialized Police Practice


March 12

Racial Profiling & Human Rights, Ch. 13 – Ending Racial Profiling

Major Essay Due


March 19 

Unequal Relations, Ch.9 – Multiculturalism as Canada-Building Governance

March 26

Final Exam



Grading, Assignment Submission, Lateness Penalties and Missed Tests

Grading:  The grading scheme for the course conforms to the 9-point grading system used in undergraduate programs at York (e.g., A+ = 9, A = 8, B+ - 7, C+ = 5, etc.).  Assignments and tests* will bear either a letter grade designation or a corresponding number grade (e.g.  A+ = 90 to 100, A = 80 to 90, B+ = 75 to 79, etc.)  (For a full description of York grading system see the York University Undergraduate Calendar –

Assignment Submission: Proper academic performance depends on students doing their work not only well, but on time.  Accordingly, assignments for this course must be received on the due date specified for the assignment.  Written assignments are to be handed in to the Course Instructor in person and students must retain a computer copy.

Lateness Penalty: Assignments received later than the due date will be penalized one-half grade letter per day that the assignment is late. Exceptions to the lateness penalty for valid reasons such as illness, compassionate grounds, etc., may be entertained by the Course Instructor but will require supporting documentation (e.g., a doctor’s letter).

Students need to be aware that requests for extensions in regard to research/essays where the assignments where provided at the beginning of the semester and are due at the end will not be entertained for any reason.

Missed Tests:  Students with a documented reason for missing a course test, such as illness, compassionate grounds, etc., which is confirmed by supporting documentation (e.g., doctor’s letter) may request accommodation from the Course Instructor. Accommodation will entail a make-up test on a date and time specified by the Course Instructor. Further extensions or accommodation will require students to submit a formal petition to the Faculty.

Important York Policies

Academic Honesty: LA&PS as a Faculty considers breaches of the Senate Policy on Academic Honesty to be serious matters. To quote the Senate Policy on Academic Honesty:

The Policy on Academic Honesty is an affirmation and clarification for members of the University of the general obligation to maintain the highest standards of academic honesty. As a clear sense of academic honesty and responsibility is fundamental to good scholarship, the policy recognizes the general responsibility of all faculty members to foster acceptable standards of academic conduct and of the student to be mindful of and abide by such standards.

Suspected breaches of academic honesty will be investigated and charges shall be laid if reasonable and probable grounds exist.

Students should review the York Academic Honesty policy for themselves at: 

Students might also wish to review the interactive on-line Tutorial for students on academic integrity, at: 

Grading Scheme and Feedback Policy: The grading scheme (i.e. kinds and weights of assignments, essays, exams, etc.) shall be announced, and be available in writing, within the first two weeks of class, and, under normal circumstances, graded feedback worth at least 15% of the final grade for Fall, Winter or Summer Term, and 30% for ‘full year’ courses offered in the Fall/Winter Term be received by students in all courses prior to the final withdrawal date from a course without receiving a grade, with the following exceptions:

  • graduate or upper level undergraduate courses where course work typically, or at the instructor's discretion, consists of a single piece of work and/or is based predominantly (or solely) on student presentations ( e.g. honours theses or graduate research papers not due by the drop date, etc.);
  • practicum courses;
  • ungraded courses;
  • courses in Faculties where the drop date occurs within the first 3 weeks of classes;
  • courses which run on a compressed schedule (a course which accomplishes its academic credits of work at a rate of more than one credit hour per two calendar weeks ).

Note: Under unusual and/or unforeseeable circumstances which disrupt the academic norm, instructors are expected to provide grading schemes and academic feedback in the spirit of these regulations, as soon as possible.

For more information on the Grading Scheme and Feedback Policy, please visit: 

In-Class Tests and Exams - the 20% Rule

For all Undergraduate courses, except those which regularly meet on Friday evening or on a weekend, tests or exams worth more than 20% will not be held in the two weeks prior to the beginning of the official examination period. For further information on the 20% Rule, please visit:

For further information on examination scheduling, and Atkinson examination exceptions to this rule, please refer to the "Notes" in the table:  


Students may, with sufficient academic grounds, request that a final grade in a course be reappraised (which may mean the review of specific pieces of tangible work). Non-academic grounds are not relevant for grade reappraisals; in such cases, students are advised to petition to their home Faculty. Students are normally expected to first contact the course director to discuss the grade received and to request that their tangible work be reviewed. Tangible work may include written, graphic, digitized, modeled, video recording or audio recording formats, but not oral work.

Students need to be aware that a request for a grade reappraisal may result in the original grade being raised, lowered or confirmed.

For reappraisal procedures and information, please visit the Office of the Registrar site at:

Accommodation Procedures:

LA&PS students who have experienced a misfortune or who are too ill to attend an examination in an Atkinson course should not attempt to do so; they must pursue deferred standing. Other students should contact their home Faculty for information. For further information, please visit: 

Religious Accommodation

York University is committed to respecting the religious beliefs and practices of all members of the community, and making accommodations for observances of special significance to adherents.

For more information on religious accommodation, please visit: 

Academic Accommodation for Students with Disabilities
(Senate Policy)

The nature and extent of accommodations shall be consistent with and supportive of the integrity of the curriculum and of the academic standards of programs or courses.

Provided that students have given sufficient notice about their accommodation needs, instructors shall take reasonable steps to accommodate these needs in a manner consistent with the guidelines established hereunder. For more information please visit the Disabilities Services website at 

Alternate Exams and Tests

York’s disabilities offices and the Registrar’s Office work in partnership to support alternate exam and test accommodation services for students with disabilities at the Keele campus. For more information on alternate exams and tests please visit 

Please alert the Course Director as soon as possible should you require special accommodations. For questions relating to academic accommodations, please contact the LA&PS Counseling and Supervision Centre: