Center on Global Justice

The Center on Global Justice (CGJ) is an Organized Research Unit (ORU) at UC San Diego, launched in 2012 to advance interdisciplinary research on poverty and global development, with an emphasis on collective action at community scale. The CGJ is home to initiatives focused on global ethics and cooperation (the conventional terrain of global justice), but the majority of our initiatives localize the global, focusing on real-word intervention at local scale, in partnership with non-profits, government agencies and civic stakeholders—top-down and bottom-up.

Community partnership and public commitment lie at the heart of everything we do.

The CGJ is presently committed to three research clusters

Spatial Justice

The CGJ is dedicated to advancing research on equitable, green urban development, with a particular focus on the San Diego–Tijuana border region, and cross-sector strategies to increase community capacity in marginalized communities divided by a wall.

Climate Justice

The CGJ is committed to research and action on social and environmental justice, and particularly the urgent, disproportionate impact of climate disruption on the world’s most vulnerable people.

Global Ethics + Cooperation

The CGJ participates in global conversations about poverty, human rights, collective responsibilities and coordinated strategies to protect those who are most vulnerable. We are committed to rethinking academic and policy narratives that are too often abstracted from real-world experiences.

The CGJ is also home to the UCSD Community Stations, and the Blum Summer Field Internship. We are grateful to UC Regent Richard C. Blum, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, ArtPlace America and many others for their generous support of our work.

We are committed to the public mission of the University of California. We pursue high-impact public projects that empower and improve the health and well-being of underserved populations. We are also committed to increasing public knowledge through academic, consultative, civic and cultural channels, working in partnership with governments, civic organizations, non-profits, cultural institutions and K-12 schools. We host high-profile public events on campus and across the border region, summon community-based leaders and youth to our campus as “public scholars”, circulate dozens of researchers and students into our regional community each year through internship and mentorship programming, and exhibit our work in important cultural venues across the world.

Social Science Research in Action

Our tagline “social science research in action” embodies six central commitments. Our work is:

  1. Problem-Centered. A central aim of the CGJ is to preserve real-world, collaborative “problem solving” in the social sciences, and to resist disciplinary urges to relegate such work to the “applied” disciplines.
  2. Cross-disciplinary. The world’s biggest and most urgent challenges don’t confine themselves to disciplines. Nor can our solutions be. We need to integrate diverse ways of knowing and doing to improve human life on our planet.  We are committed to teaching our students how to think, communicate and act at the “interdiscipline.”
  3. Cross-sector. As researchers, we are committed to working with partners across sectors, including communities, non-profits, government agencies, K-12 schools and cultural institutions. Our model is very different from “applied social science.” We develop solidaristic relationships with our partners, to co-produce new knowledge, new solutions, new advocacy strategies and meaningful interventions.
  4. Committed to Diversity. The CGJ was founded on a commitment to advancing diversity and social equity on our campus, in our community, and across the globe. Everything we do is pursued with this commitment to diversity and social equity at its core.
  5. Responsive-Dynamic. We respond to rigorous, inclusive strategies of evaluation and assessment, and are eager to tinker. We embrace the iterative commitments of Deweyan action-research.
  6. Public. All of our work aspires to have genuine public impact, improving quality of life and increasing public knowledge.

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