Focused, comparative examination of legal institutions.
This course consists of loosely connected three separate parts. In the first part, we will critically examine the literature on prison violence as a gateway to study the prison society. We will simply ask: Why is there violence in prisons? In the second part of the course, we will focus on major approaches to the links between prison society and the broader society outside the prison walls. We will deal with questions such as: What are the meanings of imprisonment for the society? Why do we incarcerate? In the last part of the course, we will read prison studies from different parts of the world, including South Africa, United States, Great Britain, and Turkey.
One of our goals in this course will be to recognize the prison as a society (which consists of prisoners, correctional officers and administrators) with its inner dynamics and conflicts. However, we will also want to focus on how this enclosed prison society not only interacts with the society outside, but also is an inalienable part of it. We will particularly pay attention to the issue whether the very frameworks that ignore these intricate details of prison societies might be responsible for the increased numbers and problems in prisons worldwide.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
We will follow the format of a graduate seminar. Students will be expected to be fully prepared to discuss the assigned material for the day. There will be minimal lecturing if any at all. The course material will consist of assigned articles, books, movies, and novels.
Fran Lisa Buntman, Robben Island and Prisoner Resistance to Apartheid (Cambridge University Press: 2003. Ted Conover, Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing (Vintage Books: 2001. Michel Foucault, Discipline & Punish: The Birth of the Prison (Vintage Books: 1995. Lorna Rhodes, Total Confinement: Madness and Reason in the Maximum Security Prison (University of California Press: 2004. *Additional Readings available on E-reserve
Class assignments and grading
There will not be any written examinations in this class. The students will be expected to e-mail questions/comments to the class list for each day's readings. In addition, groups of two students will be required to submit two drafts and a final version of a major research paper on a country's prison system, and make a 20-25 minute audio-visual presentation on their work towards the end of the quarter.