Fall 2015 - Graduate Course Descriptions

Ring, Natalie
Discipline and Number
HIST 6390 Section 001
M Time 4:00 PM - 6:45 PM
Course Title
History of Prisons & Punishment

Description of Course:

Scholars and the public have long been fascinated with the history of crime, punishment, and prisons. Yet in recent years, interest in the subject has exploded. Partly this is due to the fact that the prison population in the United States has increased by 500% in the past thirty years; we also have the largest prison population in the world. This course will focus on some of the key themes in the literature such as the history of the penitentiary, racial disparities in policing, sentencing, and imprisonment, the prison reform movement, efforts to organize for civil rights within prisons, theoretical frameworks for understanding the rise of the “carceral state,” and extralegal responses to perceived criminal behavior.

Required Texts:

1. Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
ISBN # 978-1595586438

2. Dan Berger, Captive Nation: Black Prison Organizing in the Civil Rights Era
ISBN # 978-1469618241

3. Ethan Blue, Doing Time in the Depression: Everyday Life in Texas and California Prisons (New York: NYU Press, 2014)
ISBN # 978-1479821358

4. Dennis Childs, Slaves of the State: Black Incarceration from the Chain Gang to the Penitentiary
ISBN #978-0816692415

5. Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison
ISBN# 978-0679752554

6. Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California
ISBN # 978-0520242012

7. Marie Gottschalk, The Prison and the Gallows: The Politics of Mass Incarceration
ISBN # 978-0521682916

8. Rebecca McLennan, The Crisis of Imprisonment: Politics and the Making of the American Penal State, 1776-1941
ISBN # 978-0521537834

9. Khalil Muhammed, The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern America
ISBN # 978-0674062115

10. Robert Perkinson, Texas Tough: The Rise of America's Prison Empire
ISBN # 978-0312680473

11. Michael Willrich, City of Courts: Socializing Justice in Progressive Era Chicago
ISBN # 978-0521794039

12. Amy Wood, Lynching and Spectacle: Witnessing Racial Violence in America, 1890-1940
ISBN # 978-0807871973

Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:

You will be graded on course participation, facilitation of a class, 3 précis, and 1 long paper (3,500-4,000 words) based on the books we read in class.

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