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Law and Justice

[Professor Jill Budny, a member of the Law & Justice faculty, accepts the 2015 Underkofler Teacher of the Year Award. Photo by Trevor Johnson.]
Professor Jill Budny, a member of the Law & Justice faculty, accepts the 2015 Underkofler Teacher of the Year Award.  Photo by Trevor Johnson.

The Law and Justice program at Beloit is designed to provide students with a multidisciplinary understanding of issues related to law and justice. Law and Justice is a minor that can complement a student’s major in any academic discipline. The program is designed to appeal to the student who wishes to prepare for a career in law, government, law enforcement, corrections, social services, or organizations like Amnesty International and Greenpeace.

The law is an ongoing process in society that reaches deeply into our public and private lives. Through a variety of disciplinary modes of inquiry and analysis, the minor investigates law as an idea and as a set of institutions. By considering law’s relationship to other political, economic, and social institutions, students come to understand legal decision making and how law functions–from the U.S. criminal justice system to international treaties and courts. Students also use law as a lens through which one can better understand a range of societal phenomena such as political movements, discriminatory practices, and social identities.

If law is a process, justice is an outcome–a universally desirable outcome that concerns moral rightness and fairness. What is the relationship, if any, between what is legal and what is just? How do different societies and individuals attain justice and eliminate injustice? What are the individual and societal implications of pursuing economic justice, political justice, social justice, and environmental justice?

In the Law and Justice program, students actively engage with and critique current paradigms and conceptual frameworks. They pose meaningful questions about what is good, legal, and just. Students also have the opportunity to study law from a variety of policy perspectives such as criminal justice, poverty and development, health and human rights, and environmental protection. Law and Justice students learn how to think critically and how to express and defend their views.

Law and Justice faculty members are available to offer advice to students who wish to pursue a career related to law or justice. Faculty advisors can assist students in selecting courses, finding internships, and preparing applications to graduate and professional schools.