The Arc of Justice Institute

March 21, 2019
The Arc Bends Onward

Four faculty members in the School of Arts & Sciences have won an internal grant within the Arc of Justice Institute for their project, "Carceral Institution Education Pilot," which seeks to expose students to the challenges that previously incarcerated people experience, from re-enfranchisement as citizens to poverty and mental well-being.  

 The Arc of Justice Institute expands the topical range of the previous institute while reducing the number of faculty to create a sustainable model. The aim of Arc of Justice is to support an ongoing intellectual community engaged with contemporary ethical and moral challenges.   

"We want to fund projects that propose big questions regarding the idea of justice," said Patrice Rankine, dean of the School of Arts & Sciences. "In their proposals, faculty were asked to address the interdisciplinary nature of their work, the breadth, and range of the challenge, and to center student learning. Each team was asked to include a student."

Previous projects included: 

  • The formulation of a class on the intellectual history of black women in the early twentieth century;
  • A project on environmental justice and the presence of lead-based paint in Richmond, public schools;
  • The use of dance as a tool for social change through "commemorative justice."

The faculty members who will form the Arc of Justice Institute for 2019-20 are: Monti Datta, political science; Lisa Jobe-Shields, psychology; Andy McGraw, music; and Andrea Y. Simpson, political science. Based in different disciplines, each faculty member will offer, through academic courses and extra-curricular programming, particular vantage points on the carceral system. 

"Our aim is for courses and programming regarding the effects of the prison industrial complex on citizen reentry to the community to become a permanent part of the academic experience at the University of Richmond," said Andrea Y. Simpson, associate professor of political science and women, gender and sexual studies. 

The Arc of Justice advances a number of goals under the School of Arts & Sciences' strategic plan, such as interdisciplinary creativity and deep conscience in approaches to contemporary problems.