Criminal Justice-COAS | History of Social Control in the US
P381 | 2796 | Kraus

In his 2002 documentary Bowling for Columbine, Michael Moore
explored what he called “the violent soul of America.” Why do some
consider America a violent nation? How has violence been used as a
form of social control in American history? When have Americans
resorted to violence and why?

This course will consider the impact of violence on nineteenth and
twentieth century U.S. history. It will not only examine the changes
that efforts to fight violence, unrest, and disorder brought to the
criminal justice system (like the development of prisons and police,
forensics, and crime-fighting organizations), but will also explore
how extralegal and legal forms of violence (like lynching and the
death penalty) have been used as methods of social control. Also,
students will be asked to consider the impact of violence on
American culture, from the memory of the Civil War to the Oklahoma
City bombing and September 11th.

This course fulfills the College of Arts and Sciences intensive
writing requirement. Students will therefore be asked to write one
longer paper (10-12 pages) and a few shorter papers.

Readings include:

Truman Capote, "In Cold Blood" (New York: Vintage), 1993.

Alex Kotlowitz, "There Are No Children Here" (New York: Anchor),

David Oshinsky, “Worse than Slavery” (New York: Free Press), 1996.

Class meeting: TR, 2:30-3:45

Instructor: Debbie Kraus, criminal justice department