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Social Justice Academy, Spring 2024: Labor, Work, Action

“Small art and love and beauty.
Their drudging spirits knew.
Yes, it is bread we fight for.
But we fight for roses too.”

- “Bread and Roses” by James Oppenheim, 1911

The Department of Politics and Human Rights launches the Spring 2024 Social Justice Academy: Bread and Roses: Labor, Work, Action. This fourth interdisciplinary, semester-length, and college-wide academy features thought leaders and hands-on workshops illuminating theories and methods of labor, work, and action.


In the 1911 Bread and Roses strike, workers demanded both “bread” and “roses,” broadening the concept of the “necessities of life” met by wage labor. The 2024 Social Justice Academy is inspired by the strike’s demand for a life lived beyond bare necessity. Drawing from critical analyses like Hannah Arendt’s The Human Condition (1958), Angela Davis’ Are Prisons Obsolete (2003), and Dina Gilio-Whitaker’s As Long As Grass Grows (2019), the Academy addresses the social legacies and changes impacting today’s labor and work cultures, including ongoing systems of oppression, political instability and strife, artificial intelligence, and climate change. Heeding histories of those who have worked and labored, often in conditions not of their choosing, the 2024 Social Justice Academy asks: What is the meaning of labor and work? How can labor and work support a more equitable society? What work do we envision for our health, children, and future? How can collective action ‘labor’ and ‘work’ toward a greater good?

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