In Ramona Ilea & Julinna Oxley (eds.), Experiential Learning In Philosophy. Routledge. pp. 161-168 (2014)

Ericka Tucker
Marquette University
Engaging with Global Justice through InternshipsGlobal justice, on its face, seems like an impossible task. As individuals, even citizens of wealthy and powerful countries, the task of economic, social and political justice seems to outstrip our intellectual, practical and emotional abilities. Considering the scope of 'global' justice, it would appear that a massive coordinated effort would be necessary to overcome the problems of global injustice, yet it would seem such coordination may be impossible. The difficulties of seeking justice between nations led John Rawls to suggest that we can only hope for a kind of humanitarian goodwill between states, which in his view was less than a robust requirement for international justice. Amartya Sen, in the Idea of Justice, recently argued that it is not justice that we seek, since seeking justice in a global sense is impossible. Given the capitulation of such philosophical luminaries, it is no wonder that philosophy students often find the problems of global justice and injustice to be intractable and indeed, overwhelming. However, when students engage with those whose everyday work involves chipping away at one or another specific problem of global justice, they learn not despair, but hope, and more importantly, they learn how issues of global justice are addressed in practical terms. Those who work on these local issues not only have an understanding of the connection between local, national and global aspects of these issues, they solve these problems, and can show students how everyday decisions on a local level affect issues of justice on a larger scale. Working with such individuals and organizations helps students understand the work of justice, and its local, national and global faces. In my course 'Global Justice', I use internships with social justice organizations to give students a look at the everyday, often difficult, but essentially manageable work that goes into solving issues of injustice at the local, national and global levels. I call this work 'engaged learning'. Engaged learning is a variety of experiential learning that seeks to integrate theory and practice through project-based internships that foster strong university-community partnerships. In my philosophy course 'Global Justice', each of my students is assigned a semester-long internship with a local organization working on issues of global justice. Through these internships, students work through larger theoretical questions while engaging in the everyday work of global justice practitioners. In what follows, I describe how I organized this class and what elements of the course work to both create good experiences for my students and community relationships that persist beyond the semester.
Keywords Engaged Learning  Experiential Learning  Teaching philosophy  Global Justice
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