Courses: Social and Cultural Theory: Crime & Punishment in the Age of Globalization (PEACH350B01)

Spring 2011

The late 20th and early 21st C have seen a global turn towards penalization as the answer to a growing array of perceived social ills, from drug use to undocumented immigration. while often justified by claims about increases in crime, the penal turn has often preceded such increases, and so cannot be explained by crime rates alone. Placing the penal turn in cross-cultural contexts, this course will examine a range of texts from history, philosophy, anthropology, political science, and sociology to allow us to understand the conditions of possibility that motivate this turn and its accompanying practices: criminalization, incarceration, etc. As part of this, we will consider how "criminalization" is both a material process with profound structural outcomes that perpetuate future criminalization, such as the development of for-profit prison systems, and also an interpretive process that creates hierarchies of personhood, in which some types of people are seen as inherently criminal: a process with historical antecedents that far pre-date our current politics of crime and punishment. This discussion will bring us to consider criminality as a culturally and historically specific construct that often intersects with the construction of race, class, and gender.

Prerequisites: Two courses in Anthropology or consent. Hist & Theory of Anth recommended

Fulfills: SO I


Haverford, Stokes 207

Meeting Times

Th 1:30-4:00