Criminal Justice-coas | Lethality: Homicide & Self Destruction
P461 | 1537 | Parnell
Lethality focuses on various social and cultural conditions under which
humans tend to kill other humans. This area of study is characterized by a
wide range of analytic approaches, one approach often ignoring the existence
of others. A major purpose of this course is to familiarize you with
several different approaches to the study of human killings, to encourage
you to consider these approaches critically, and then to judge for yourself
which analyses most adequately explain the types of killings they address.
There is an emphasis on social relationships, such as relations among kin
and among groups, that tend to generate homicide. However, readings
consider a wide range of factors that both generate and inhibit homicide,
from biological factors that analysts claim we all share to psychological
dispositions that others construct as the basis of mass killings. This
course also considers forces that give direction to human violence --
whether it is directed outwardly towards others or inwardly toward the self.
Here the readings compare homicide and suicide and present classic theories
about the relationship between suicide, homicide, and society.
Throughout the course we consider the roles of killing in the United States
as a nation that interlinks various forms of society and culture. These
questions take us beyond the causes and prevention of violence into violence
as a shared and common event through which people in the United States
examine and discuss the state and nature of families, communities, the law,
the government, individuals, shared symbols, and other components of local
and national life.
A goal of this course is development of your understanding of various
approaches to the study of homicide and suicide. Understanding does not
necessarily involve acceptance. Another goal is development of your own
questions about homicide and suicide.
Requirements: The grade will be based on in-class participation (15%), a
final fifteen-page paper (65%), and in-class presentation of the
Readings: To be announced.
Class Meeting: One 150-minute session (R 2:30-5:00P SY 200)
Instructor: Professor Phil Parnell, Criminal Justice Department