Law Schedule of Classes

NOTE: Course offerings change. Classes offered this semester may not be offered in future semesters.

234.2 sec. 001 - Criminal Justice Theory (Fall 2023)

Instructor: Jonathan Steven Simon  (view instructor's teaching evaluations - degree students only | profile)
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Grading Designation: Graded
Mode of Instruction: In-Person


Tu 10:00 AM - 12:40 PM
Location: 2240 Piedmont 102
From August 21, 2023
To December 06, 2023

Course Start: August 21, 2023
Course End: December 06, 2023
Class Number: 32060

Enrollment info:
Enrolled: 24
Waitlisted: 0
Enroll Limit: 25
As of: 02/07 02:03 PM

Today it is common to describe the form of legal punishment in the United States since the late 20th century as “mass incarceration”; but how did we get there and are the very visible social harms of that regime exceptions to a history of progressive reform or evidence of fundamental flaws in the role punishment plays in modern society? While mass incarceration involved an unprecedented application of punitive power to society, and extraordinary concentration of that power on Black and Brown communities, it brought to bare a thousand years of punitive state building. This course explores the relationship between punishment, law and society, as well as efforts to abolish punishment, over the long arc of western legal history and the major technologies of power that have shaped it including sovereignty, discipline, eugenics, and racial profiling. The course will introduce students to theoretical work that can help untangle the historically and geographically diverse interrelationship between social change, legal reform, and penal practices including: the sociology of law, critical race theory, gender and sexuality theory, and political economy. The course is also designed to help students complete a major piece of research and writing (30 plus pages) for academic (journal article) or professional (strategic memo) purposes. Participants will choose a topic in discussion with Professor Simon related to change in penal laws, practices or abolitions thereof, going on today (or an historical example with contemporary resonance) and explain its significance (and policy implications) drawing on the histories or theories covered in the course or related materials. All students will receive comments on a graded rough draft (date and portion of grade to be determined) and be expected to participate in weekly discussions and present a preliminary report on their research during the semester.

Criminal Law

Requirements Satisfaction:

This class may fulfill Option 2 of the J.D. writing requirement for all students in the course. All students must write 30 pages and complete a draft.

Units from this class may count toward the J.D. Race and Law Requirement.

This class may count towards either the writing requirement or the race and law requirement but not both.

The Race and Law Requirement applies to the class of 2026 and beyond.

Student Services is available to answer questions.

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Exam Notes: (P) Final paper  
Course Category: Jurisprudence and Social Policy (JSP)
This course is listed in the following sub-categories:
Race and Law
Social Justice and Public Interest

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Required Books are in blue

  • Abolition Geography: Essays Towards Liberation
    Ruth Wilson Gilmore
    Edition: 2023
    Publisher: Verso Books
    ISBN: 9781839761713
    e-Book Available: Yes
    e-Book procurement note: 9781839761737
    Price: $24.95
    Price Source: Follett
  • The Punitive Society: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1972-1973
    Michel Foucault
    Publisher: Picador
    ISBN: 9781250183934
    e-Book Available: unknown
    Copyright Date: To Be Determined
    Price: To Be Determined

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