Courses to help you support social justice

18 Jan 2021 | 5 MINS

Are you a social justice warrior in the making? Do you want to carve out a career in which you can make the world a better place?

UWA students tackle global, regional and local issues that make an important impact on economy, society and the environment. We can teach you how to help improve our world.

Here’s just a taster of the many courses on offer that give you the tools and experience you need to get out there and make a difference.

Get involved in holding tech giants to account

If your interests lie in digital technologies and the law, or how to identify solutions to the growing issues of technological change, and what it is you can do to make powerful tech giants more accountable, then the unit Technology Law and Governance could be for you.

Run by Associate Professor Julia Powles, known for her work in data protection law and citizens’ rights to correction and explanation, this unit is offered to Juris Doctor postgraduate students and covers laws related to privacy, intellectual property, internet governance, competition, consumer protection, and the law and politics of data, automation and artificial intelligence. 

The unit allows you to critically engage with the political, social and legal challenges of technological change, and work towards exploring and identifying solutions.

Julia also runs UWA Law School’s new Minderoo Tech & Policy Lab, which aims to interrogate and correct the ways digital technology has evaded law, governance and associated responsibilities designed to protect individuals and communities from harm. As she explains, "The Lab aims to dramatically change this status quo, with a relentless focus on defending rights and protecting against harms to people and the environment."

Help protect workers in gig economies

Next time you order Uber Eats, consider who’s delivering your burger and whether their rights, conditions and wages are being protected.

Dr Caleb Goods, an expert in the future of work, the ‘gig’ economy and ‘greening’ workplaces, teaches Business students how the ‘gigification’ of work – defined as work organised via platforms or apps like Uber, Airtasker or Deliveroo – means that the people who are doing these tasks are often classed as independent contractors and therefore aren’t permitted the normal worker’s rights and protections:

Caleb explains: “First, the ‘gigification’ of work is turning workers into ‘partners’, bosses into computer algorithms and the lines between exploitation and entrepreneurship are blurring. Second, transitioning the world of work from a high carbon economy to a low carbon world is urgent and has huge ramifications for workers, communities and industry.”

“At the heart of both of these issues sits social justice. Students are therefore encouraged to think about how to embed justice into these ecological and technological disruptions to safeguard our common future.”

You can study these issues as a Bachelor of Business student by majoring in Enterprise and Innovation.

Help create change on a global scale

Are you interested in protecting the people who can’t protect themselves? Are you interested in human rights, conflict resolution, or refugee policies across the world? If your answer is yes, then after finishing your Bachelor of Arts, make a beeline for postgrad International Law.

You can either choose to pursue a Graduate Diploma in International Law, or go the whole way with a Master of International Law. Either way, you’ll learn about what it takes to create a better future on a global level. 

You need look no further to be inspired than award-winning International Law teacher Dr Melanie O’Brien. She is one of a diverse team of international law experts with extensive backgrounds in practice and research in international law who bring a practical, real-world perspective to international law. 

As advocates of social justice and equality, Melanie and her team bring this outlook to the content of their teaching: 

“Studying postgraduate international law at the UWA Law School sets up students to support social justice and equality. This is done through the content that students learn in the course, from which they understand how treaties are made, what human rights are and how they are protected, how the laws of war protect civilians and aid workers, and shoring up human security through protecting the environment.”

“Students learn to critically analyse international law and it application at international and national levels, to question media reporting of international law events, and to evaluate the international legal system rather than taking it at face value.”

Course coordinator Dr Jade Lindley researches extensively across several areas of international law with expertise in transnational crimes such as human trafficking, maritime piracy, corruption and fraud, and international environmental crimes, such as illegal fishing. Among the team of accomplished academic experts who teach units offered in International Law, core units are also taught by Dr Fiona McGaughey, who has worked across Europe and Australia in not-for-profit research and policy roles in the areas of disability and racial equality.

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