History | Crime and Punishment
A200 | 14890 | Muhammad


Above class open to undergraduates only

Over the past thirty years, the United States has become a world
leader in the use of incarceration.  At no point in this nationís
history has incarceration affected more people, their families, and
communities, as is the case today.  States across the country
continue to increase spending on crime control while cutting back on
health and education costs.  As the criminal justice system
continues to grow in the 21st century, tough questions have been
raised about the use of punishment to control crime and to address
social problems, such as economic and racial inequality.  These,
however, are not new questions.

This course will explore and analyze the religious, political,
philosophical, economic, gendered, and racial/ethnic/immigrant
dimensions of crime and punishment in over two centuries of American
history.  Frequently at the intersection of deeply-rooted social and
political anxieties in the past, legal definitions of what is
criminal, what behavior is worthy of punishment, and what groups of
people are most deserving of punishment (from retribution to
rehabilitation) has constantly shifted over time.  Class time will
involve lectures, discussions, images, and video.  Students will be
expected to participate in discussions, critically analyzing primary
evidence and arguments presented in the readings.  Students will be
required to complete two exams, short in-class assignments, and a
take home essay.