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Our History

The College of New Jersey’s Center for the Study of Social Justice (CSSJ) was created in 2000 by the eminent Historian, Alan Dawley, who was its founding director. Professor Dawley approached the question of social justice in a multidisciplinary manner as a complex dialogue about contemporary issues of social justice both within the United States and globally. Through forums, symposiums, public lectures, film festivals, course work, campus-wide learning communities, community engagement, and other initiatives, the CSSJ has helped to create an intellectual and social space dedicated to the study and practice of social justice for TCNJ and the surrounding community.

Following Professor Dawley’s passing in March 2008, TCNJ President, R. Barbara Gitenstein, commissioned a group of faculty members to develop a proposal to expand the scope and vision of the CSSJ in order to amplify its role and significance at the college and to rename it the Alan Dawley Center for the Study of Social Justice (ADCSSJ) in his honor.

Here is a time line of the major public events that the ADCCSJ has sponsored:

November 14, 2000: Inequality in the World Economy –  a one-day conference focusing on poverty alleviation and development in Africa and Latin America featuring Kevin Danaher (Global Exchange), Alice Dear (Africa Development Bank), and Patricia Fernandez-Kelly (Princeton University).

February 22-23, 2001: Social Justice through Documentary Film – a two-day film festival of award winning documentaries on social issues, featuring: W.E.B. BuBois: A Biography in Four Voices (1995), Tuning with the Enemy (1998), If the Mango Tree Could Speak (1993), The Man Who Drove Mandela (1998), and an evening with documentary filmmaker Danny Schecter.

Fall 2001: Eating for a Small Planet – a symposium on the impact of food production and consumption on human communities featuring Francis Moore Lappe (Food First).

April 11, 2002: Corporate Codes: Are They Making a Difference? – a one-day conference addressing corporate social and environmental responsibility featuring Edna Bonacich (UC-Riverside), Tom DeLuca (Toys R Us), Gerog Kell (UN Global Compact) and Michael Santoro (Rutgers) and student workshops on Transnational Corporations and Human Rights and Social Responsibility and the Global Economy.

Spring 2003: Gender, Nation and Democracy – a semester-long learning community that included several courses, a faculty-student seminar, a symposium with a visiting scholar (Elena Gapova),  and a faculty-mentored trip to Prague for students participating in the certificate program.

March 29-April 2, 2004: Examinations of American Empire – series of events including “America on Trial”, “Imperial Projections” – documentary films dealing with American Empire, and a panel featuring Harvey Sicherman (Foreign Policy Research Institute) and Marilyn Young (NYU).

Spring 2005: Does Equality Matter? A lecture series featuring Fred Feldman (UMass-Amherst), Larry Temkin (Rutgers) and Alan Krueger (Princeton).

February 13-16 2006: Remembrance, Reparations, and Restorative Justice – a series of events including documentary films such as Chile: Obstinate Memory and lectures by Lisa Mangarell (International Center for Transitional Justice) and Thomas Pogge (Columbia University).

Spring 2007: Immigration and American Identities -a screening of the documentary “Farmingville” and discussion with the filmmaker Catherine Tambini,  a panel discussion, and keynote address by Nancy Foner.

Spring 2008: Health and Human Rights – A faculty panel featuring Regina Kenen, Bozena Leven, Melinda Roberts, and Leslie Rice discussing the question of whether there is a right to health care.

December 2, 2008: Talk by Dave Zirin author of A People’s History of Sports in the United States.

March 17, 2009: Environmental Justice in New Jersey – a panel discussion of the role of community activism in brownfields redevelopment featuring Ana Baptista (Ironbound Community), Judith Shaw (Rutgers) and Leah Yasenchek (Brownfields Redevelopment Solutions) moderated by Martin Bierbaum.

May 2009: Awarded the Alan Dawley Prize to the W.I.L.L. Senior Capstone project LEAP and to Steven Morris for his essay on torture policy during the Bush administration.

October 20, 2009: Inaugural Alan Dawley Memorial Lecture. Professor Peter Singer, Princeton University, “The Life You Can Save: What Do We Owe the World’s Poor?”

March 30, 2011: Alan Dawley Memorial Lecture, Professor James Gray Pope, Rutgers Newark Law School, “The Supreme Court and Social Justice.”

March 25, 2012: Alan Dawley Memorial Lecture. Professor James Livingston, Rutgers, “Crisis as Opportunity: The Great Recession and the American Dream.

March 26, 2013: Alan Dawley Memorial Lecture. Rebecca MacKinnon. “Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle for Internet Freedom”.

March 19, 2014: Alan Dawley Memorial Lecture, Holly Metz, “Killing the Poor Master: A Saga of Poverty, Corruption, and Murder in the Great Depression.

January 2015: The College of New Jersey is awarded the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching elective designation as a Community Engaged Campus.