The Critical Social Justice initiative began in Fall 2013 when UMBC Women’s Center/Honors College intern Amelia Meman envisioned a multifaceted programming campaign aimed at supporting dynamic engagement with social justice issues and advocacy. Responding to ongoing conversations about constructive self-reflexivity and crucial intersectionality in activist and academic spaces, the Women’s Center launched the inaugural Critical Social Justice campaign with the theme “Engaging in Difficult Dialogues” to be held March 3rd through 7th, 2014. Later joined by Student Life’s Mosaic Center and other departmental co-sponsors, the CSJ initiative was met with incredible support from partners across the UMBC community who were interested in expanding opportunities for participatory learning beyond the classroom.

With an emphasis on integrating creative, analytical, and affective approaches to collaborative education and civic engagement, Critical Social Justice examines the margins and intersections of issues, identities, and systems. By coordinating an annual week of concentrated interdisciplinary programming, the CSJ campaign provides a unique platform for facilitating inclusive conversations on the meanings and challenges of social justice across different spaces. Critical Social Justice promotes sustained intellectual and practical engagement with social justice ideologies and movements through critical pedagogy and praxis with the aim of cultivating collective investment in transformative education and productive action.

If your university is interested organizing Critical Social Justice at your campus, contact the Women’s Center at UMBC for more information at womenscenter@umbc.edu.