American Studies | Colloquium in American Studies / Topic: Cross-Cultural Studies
G620 | 15155 | Stephanie Kane

Wednesday, 5:45 - 8:15 p.m.
4 credit hours
Instructor: Stephanie Kane
Class meets with CJUS-P670

In this course, we will read across continents and disciplines,
participating in the invention and development of cultural
criminology, an exciting, still relatively young subfield of
critical criminology. As we immerse ourselves in different social
worlds and modes of representation, crime and justice emerge as
multifaceted concepts, as diverse in their interpretation and
relevance as they are universal in their appearance. Struggles over
their meaning are the quintessential cultural enterprise, one that
digs deeply into the material forces that shape survival,
celebration, and moral and legal judgment.

In Part I, we begin with two ethnographies that analyze the
conundrums of understanding the local and personal in regional and
global frameworks of action. Relying on methods of participant
observation and fieldwork logistics, these ethnographies create
shifts of cultural perspective and epistemologies of difference and
surprise. In Part II, we follow our authors into the city, the
geographical heart of most criminological research. Here we study
how language shapes social reality in everyday life and through a
mass-mediated social drama revolving around a notorious crime. In
Part III, we study our authors' dilemmas of representing crime and
justice in a variety of genres (parody and the museum exhibit,
graffiti, photographs) and analyze the motivation and implications
of the popular lust for brutal images.

Our cultural crossings will take us to North and South America,
Europe, Australia, and Africa. Independent student projects will
contribute knowledge about a variety of other culture areas and
campus disciplinary arenas.