Race, Gender, and Crime Seminar
I. Bennett Capers
This seminar will explore issues relating to race, gender, sexuality, and crime. How does the historical context of race and gender relations in this country impact what we criminalize, or how we enforce the law? Can thinking about race and crime help us think about gender and crime, and sexuality and crime? Are these even appropriate considerations in a "post-racial" and "sex-equal" society? To answer these and other questions, this seminar will examine various criminal law and criminal procedure issues - from racial profiling to prosecutorial discretion, from domestic violence to rape, from hate crimes to gay and trans "panic" defenses, from mass incarceration to capital punishment as well as race-based and gender-based critiques of these issues. The goal of the seminar is two-fold. One, to provide students a deeper understanding of criminal law and criminal procedure issues, putting such issues in historical context. Two, to provide students an opportunity to challenge - critically and collegially - ingrained and sometimes invalid assumptions about race, gender, sexuality, and crime.
Grading and Method of Evaluation:
Letter grade with pass/fail option. Students will be graded on class participation, presentations, and response papers. Students seeking to fulfill the Upperclass Writing Requirement may also write a paper.