ACTIVITIES & CLUBS

J-Mester

The Morehouse College Justice-Mester (JMester) is a winter term that positions social impact and social justice issues as central in a high performance learning community curated through courses taught by Morehouse College faculty and affiliated content experts. JMester provides the unique opportunity for learners to engage in an intensely focused and immersive “high-touch” academic experience beyond traditional methods of instruction that might take place during a regular semester course. As such, JMester Faculty are charged to design their ‘dream’ courses with particular attention given to innovation, engagement and application for the learner and the lecturer alike.

JMester course curriculums are grounded within a Curriculum Framework for Social Impact that is designed to help develop skills, attitudes and behaviors that position learners to contribute positively to their communities.

The Curriculum Framework is an extension of the Morehouse College Mission and centers authentic engagement, understanding self, understanding rudimentary tactics of impactful leaders and movements, and the accountability tethered to being knowledgable about freedoms and the consequences of their denial. These precepts are anchored by four domains of social justice — identity, diversity, justice and action.

Faculty who teach JMester Courses will utilize the Curriculum Framework for Social Impact as a “map” broad enough to be integrated into their individual pedagogical expressions, while also maintaining a Morehouse-centric foundation that is informed by the best histories and practices of the College and related leadership (i.e. Howard Thurman and the work of humanness; the radical vision of Spike Lee; the economic innovations of Maynard Jackson; and the American non-violent movement pioneered by Martin Luther King, Jr.).

Learners who engage in the JMester experience are intent on the positionality of their learning. They are assuming instruction and lines of inquiry that anchor their education as being of consequence and necessary in the establishment and maintenance of a just society. Their participation in the JMester enterprise presumes collaboration with peers and the professor toward social justice, social impact and deep attachment to a 21st century expression of the Morehouse College Mission.

JMester courses are for credit toward graduation for the the Morehouse College student as determined by the College’s Curriculum and Education Policy Committee. For the non-Morehouse college student learner, the JMester course is an experience with and exposure to the College and its most important asset — the men of Morehouse College. A certificate of completion will be given to all learners successfully finishing JMester as signed by the College Provost and Senior Vice-President for Academic Affairs.

JMester courses take place during the month of January with the College calendar dictating the specific week(s) across which classes will be taught. Three-credit-hour courses [our current standard] represent one hour of contact time and two hours of outside work. In considering a typical 15-week semester, a 3-credit-hour course is equal to 150 contact-minutes per week (three 50-minute class sessions or two 75-minute class sessions). One hundred and fifty contact- minutes per week at 15 weeks is 2,250 contact-minutes in the classroom, or 37.5 contact-hours; and 4,500 outside-work-minutes, or 75 outside-hours for a total of 112.5 hours. For JMester, in order for the course to have an equivalent number of contact-hours and for a student to earn 3- credit-hours, each class should meet for the equivalent 37.5 contact-hours and allow for the equivalent 75 hours of outside work that students get in the 15 week semester. One-credit hour [12.5 contact-hours; 25 outside-hours] and 2-credit-hour [25 contact-hours; 50 outside-hours] courses can also be taught, and courses not taught for credit hours will vary in meeting times and duration, and will be explicit in that regard within the course description.

Given that students will receive an enriched learning experience, more time on outside assignments is to be expected. Accordingly, the actual time on material will be substantially more than during a regular semester. Therefore, students can only take one course during the JMester term.

The 2021 JMester will be conducted entirely online and courses will be made available to students via Banner on November 2nd 2020.

Courses offered for the 2021 term of JMester are:

  • Negotiation and Communication Strategies: Students in this course learn about negotiating by actually negotiating with each other in real-life settings focused on social justice environments. (In the past we have negotiated terms for Colin Kaepernick’s return to the NFL, discrimination claims brought by employees, and cooperation agreements between social justice organizations.) This interactive environment emphasizes the reality that the ability to negotiate effectively is critical for success. This course provides a comprehensive introduction to concepts in negotiation, interpersonal effectiveness, and organizational conflict resolution. We will explore various types of negotiations including integrative (win/win approach), distributive (win/lose approach) and various iterations of these two extremes. In addition, we discuss communication (face to face, virtual, verbal/nonverbal), emotion/perception (psychological intangibles), team/multiparty negotiations, and international negotiations and cultural differences. We will interrogate implicit biases, cross-cultural communication and power dynamics that manifest in an adversarial environment. JMester courses are free elective courses. It is advised that students engage Advisors prior to enrolling to determine if credit from these courses can be applied to their specific major or can fulfill general education requirements.
  • Gentrification: A public heath examination of how neighborhoods are designed will highlight how the built environment, policies, neighborhood engagement, racism, economic stability, education, and neighborhood structures impact the health of a neighborhood and its residents. We will use models from Public Health to discuss the levels of intervention and strategies that can shift individual behavior and neighborhoods. The foundation of the course will begin with reading The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein. We will also have supplemental readings from peer-reviewed research articles and podcasts. We review numerous case studies as examples of how neighborhoods have changed and are in the process of changing to enhance the health of the neighborhood, thereby enhancing the health of the neighbors. JMester courses are free elective courses. It is advised that students engage Advisors prior to enrolling to determine if credit from these courses can be applied to their specific major or can fulfill general education requirements.
  • A Philosophy of the Absurd is a philosophical engagement with a human tendency to provide intelligibility and explanation for incomprehensible and incoherent forms of life that emerge in unwarranted sufferings and contradictions. These complexities of living lead to an inclination to attempt to extract at least semblances of meaning that account for human existential resolve and intention. These basic, yet often failures in explanation that fracture reason’s capacity to adequately redress are exacerbated by the overarching reach and impact of racism in the form of anti-Blackness. This course will analyze the basic structures of the absurd as it intervenes in and disrupts Black living and functioning in the U.S. and the diaspora. The killings and sufferings perpetrated against Black folks by quotidian interactions as well as by unregulated state sanctioned abridgements of Black existence warrant practical strategies in the presence of absurdity. We must bring some clarity to human existence in the form of viable responses. We will endeavor to discern what are attendant dispositional outcomes of the absurd, such as tragedy and angst. The fundamental aspiration is to imagine practical approaches to absurd existence through answering the most consequential queries, e.g., “How should we live in the presence of human absurdities?” We must be makers of meaning and philosophical reflection may assist in this regard. JMester courses are free elective courses. It is advised that students engage Advisors prior to enrolling to determine if credit from these courses can be applied to their specific major or can fulfill general education requirements.
  • Latin American Cinema and the Search for Social Justice: Through film, this course will examine the manner in which filmmakers have recorded and supported the Latin-American search for social justice during the XX and XXI centuries, not only in their countries but in the Latin American region and other developing areas in the world. This course examines a select corpus from the New Latin American Cinema movement, their manifestos, and their current status in national, regional, and global contexts. JMester courses are free elective courses. It is advised that students engage Advisors prior to enrolling to determine if credit from these courses can be applied to their specific major or can fulfill general education requirements.
  • Minority Entrepreneurship: Law Resources & Cryptocurrency will provide an overview of law and business development resources for minority entrepreneurs and the use of cryptocurrency in business start-ups. The course will provide a basic overview of: • Legal forms of business organization for start-ups (corporations, partnerships, LLCs, etc.). • Legal requirements for a nonprofit corporation. • Contract law, leases, employment and consumer protection law. • Government programs that promote the utilization of minority business at the federal, state and local level. • Intellectual property law as it relates to developing an app and/or being in the entertainment industry. • Business development and financing assistance. • Initial Coin Offerings (ICO), Crypto Currency and Crowd Funding At the end of the course students will have produced their own incorporation documents, contracts, minority business certification, nondisclosure agreement, loan package, ICO outline, and if necessary, intellectual property research. They will know how to find resources to help with their entrepreneurial endeavors. The course should help pre-law students as well as students trying to understand the necessary documents for business start-ups and creation of nonprofit corporations. This is not a business law course. Instead the course exposes students to basic concepts, definitions, and documents. Note that JMester courses are free elective courses. It is advised that students engage Advisors prior to enrolling to determine if credit from these courses can be applied to their specific major or can fulfill general education requirements.
  • Exploring Today's Music Industry- Race, Culture and Technology will examine the influence that race, culture and technology have had on creating the present day music business; the social impact and responsibility of the companies, creatives, and consumers; and the social justice response of the industry. Note that JMester courses are free elective courses. It is advised that students engage Advisors prior to enrolling to determine if credit from these courses can be applied to their specific major or can fulfill general education requirements.
  • Sport, Culture and Power will analyze the implicit and explicit position of sport in relationship to American culture and power through personal and professional fabrics, spheres of influence, and societal impact. By utilizing the four frameworks of Identity (Sports & Age, Gender, and Race), Representation (Sports & Media), Systemic Change (Sports & Politics, Activism, and Justice), and Disruption (Sports & Business, Money, and Pop Culture), students will be exposed to a variety of processes and experiences that expand their world view and assist in defining or redefining their own identity. Note that JMester courses are free elective courses. It is advised that students engage Advisors prior to enrolling to determine if credit from these courses can be applied to their specific major or can fulfill general education requirements.
  • Introduction to Empathetic Leadership provides emerging leaders with a range of experiences and career goals with practical strategies and tools to build their leadership portfolio. Each student will compile a virtual “toolkit” of the strategies that suit his style and aspirations, based on our study, that can then be applied his own vision for leadership. This course is a blend of personal reflection to develop a vision for leadership, study of the theories behind the strategies we will explore together, and practice in the strategies during synchronous virtual sessions. Note that JMester courses are free elective courses. It is advised that students engage Advisors prior to enrolling to determine if credit from these courses can be applied to their specific major or can fulfill general education requirements.
  • Ethics, Justice and Social Justice introduces students to the logical and philosophical skills used to evaluate arguments concerning matters of ethics, justice and social justice: what should we believe, and what should we do, about these sorts of issues? When there is a complex and controversial question of ethics or justice, how do decide which position(s) are more likely to be correct? Our initial concerns are abstract: first, how do we define our area of concern, so what makes something an ethical issue, an issue of justice, or an issue of social justice? Next, what are some of the better ways to determine whether an action or policy is ethical or not, whether some practice is just or an injustice, and when is something done a social injustice, and what are we seeking when we are seeking (social) justice? In general, how do we think critically about answers to ethical and justice related questions? Our focus, however, will involve applying general insights from theories and principles of ethics and justice, and critical thinking, to contemporary issues of social justice, such as the criminalization of drug use, punishment and the death penalty, reparations for historical injustice, police violence, gun violence, abortion, immigration, racism, discrimination against people who are not heterosexual or cis-gendered, health inequality, wealth inequality, many forms of racial discrimination and prejudice, climate change and more. Topics will be chosen, in part by students’ interests. Guest (online) speakers from some local organizations that address some of these ethical challenges will come to class to share how and why they seek justice through their efforts. Note that J-Mester courses are free elective courses. It is advised that students engage Advisors prior to enrolling to determine if credit from these courses can be applied to their specific major or can fulfill general education requirements.
  • Taiwan-Treasure Island: History of Fighting for Social Justice offers an introduction to Chinese/Taiwanese culture and society through the lenses of social and political changes in Taiwan. This course, which includes a fully funded two-week field trip to Taiwan, examines the history and society of Taiwan, with a focus on its unwavering fight for social justice and democracy. Taiwan has had a long political and economic partnership with the US. The current political and economic tensions between China and the US have placed Taiwan in the forefront of US national security concerns as well as peace efforts in the world. With the support of TECRO (Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States) and the American Institute in Taiwan, the Department of States of the US, Morehouse students will have the opportunity to participate in a field trip to Taiwan in the summer of 2021. Students will experience Taiwan’s modern, traditional, urban, suburban and rural life while discovering how Chinese /Taiwanese traditional culture coexists with Taiwan’s modern and democratic culture. Note that JMester courses are free elective courses. It is advised that students engage Advisors prior to enrolling to determine if credit from these courses can be applied to their specific major or can fulfill general education requirements.
  • Race, Society and Educational Inequalities will introduce students to three different dimensions of educational inequality: standardized testing, family influences, and school structures and practices. Emphasis will be placed on how institutional practices and the structure of schooling perpetuates educational inequality. Students will have the opportunity to engage their own educational experiences with the literature to better understand the interaction between structure and individual outcomes. Note that JMester courses are free elective courses. It is advised that students engage Advisors prior to enrolling to determine if credit from these courses can be applied to their specific major or can fulfill general education requirements.
  • Poverty in the Hebrew Bible and Its Significance for the African American and Jewish American Partnership’s Fight against Social Injustice - Poverty in the Hebrew Bible and Its Significance for the African American and Jewish American Partnership’s Fight against Social Injustice explores how the Hebrew Bible prophets and other subgroups in ancient Israel accounted for poverty and sought to respond to the social, economic, and political tensions this issue evoked on both the private and corporate levels in ancient Israelite society. The hope is this class can provide foundational information and ideas for strengthening coalitions between Blacks and Jews, which work to effect the humanistic vision implied by Beloved Community in the moral philosophizing of Martin King Jr and other social ethicists. J-Mester courses are free elective courses. It is advised that students engage Advisors prior to enrolling to determine if credit from these courses can be applied to their specific major or can fulfill general education requirements.