|This course emphasizes the entrenchment of both the prison and a permanent prison class in the social, cultural, and economic fibers of the United States. It examines a variety of media, including memoir, sociology, literary criticism, philosophy, criminology, and history. This course has a seminar format, relying primarily on student-centered discussion with minimal use of lecture by the professor.
This course considers themes that include racial discrimination in the criminal justice system, the historical use of prisons as a mechanism of large-scale social control, the development of cultural responses to incarceration among communities of color and the centrality of gender and sexuality to the expansion of incarceration and to individual and community responses to it. It does so through explorations of the legacies of slavery for African Americans and colonialism for Chicanos, Latinos, and Native Americans, as well as the impact of post-WWII civil rights movements and government responses to them. It also looks at the growing presence of policing and criminal responses to social and economic issues from the 1980s onward. A significant focus of this course is the experience of prisoners in the United States in the late twentieth century and the efforts among prisons and communities of color to find humane alternatives to mass incarceration and to lessen the impact of prejudice, intolerance, and discrimination in the administration of criminal justice. It is not a course on crime, criminology, or social deviance, although it could serve as a useful supplement to such courses.
This course helps students gain scholarly insight into the construction of African American, Chicana/o, Latina/o and Native American identities, the emergence of representative voices from varying racial, ethnic, gender, and socio-economic standpoints, and the effects of prejudice, intolerance and discrimination as they relate to interactions between racism, class discrimination, colonialism, and incarceration. In addition to cultural standpoints based on race and ethnicity, the course also considers social class, gender, disability, and sexuality as important factors in shaping identities and informing the emergence of voices in response to prejudice, intolerance, and discrimination. This course’s study of race and incarceration in the United States will analyze some of the general principles underlying lack of tolerance as it relates to criminal justice and social control.
This course is open to majors and nonmajors, and it satisfies an upper-division ES elective requirement for Ethnic Studies majors and minors. This course has ES 101 as a prerequisite. In addition, it is recommended that the undergraduates take one of the following courses before taking this course: ES 250, 252, 254, or 256.