The Politics of Criminal Justice in the U.S.

Eugene Lang College Lib Arts: Political Science

Liberal Arts

Undergraduate Course

Degree Students

Politics of Criminal Justice

Fall 2020

Taught By: Dion Nania

Section: A

CRN: 9079

Credits: 4

The central objective of this seminar is to introduce students to the processes by which politics have shaped the practice of criminal justice in America. Rather than taking ‘crime’ as the central category, we will explore processes of criminalization and their outcomes. This seminar will explore these processes across three main, overlapping dimensions: race, political economy and electoral politics. The impacts of policing and mass incarceration are disproportionately borne by communities of color. Taking political contest around racial hierarchies as a starting point, we will explore how programs of criminalization, primarily during Reconstruction, in the aftermath of the Civil Rights Movement, and the War on Drugs have functioned to reinscribe inequality, despite the emancipatory progress which has often proceeded them. In terms of political economy, we will explore the extent to which practices of criminal justice can be understood as state management or intervention in the labor market, and the extent to which criminal justice structures working lives outside the prison walls. Other economic matters bound up in criminal justice, such as prison work, privatization, and the reliance on revenue streams generated by policing will also demand attention. Finally, alongside these two interrelated factors we will explore how and why electoral politics have driven processes of criminalization, and handicapped attempts to redress the injustices that have resulted. None of these three strands can be understood in isolation: this seminar will challenge students to understand criminal justice in relation to a synthesis of all three, in the process raising important normative questions about racial and economic justice, criminal justice reform, and political participation. We will read selections from the following authors: Vesla Weaver, Bruce Western, W.E.B. DuBois, Michel Foucault, Stanley Cohen, Michael Dawson, Michelle Alexander, Marie Gottschalk, Piven & Cloward, Heather Thompson, Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Noah Zatz, David Garland and others.

College: Eugene Lang College Lib Arts (LC)

Department: Political Science (LPOL)

Campus: New York City (GV)

Course Format: Seminar (R)

Max Enrollment: 18

Add/Drop Deadline: September 14, 2020 (Monday)

Online Withdrawal Deadline: November 22, 2020 (Sunday)

Seats Available: Yes

Status: Waitlist*

*Status information is updated every five minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 11:46am 7/2/2020 EDT

Meeting Info:

Days: Tuesday, Thursday

Times: 4:00pm - 5:40pm

Building: TBD

Room: TBD

Date Range: 9/1/2020 - 12/17/2020