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CRM 592/ WMST 592 Race, Gender & Crime

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The correct title should be Class, Race, Gender & Crime, but that's too many characters for the class schedule


DESCRIPTION: The seminar will examine class, race, and gender ( and their intersections) to understand problems of crime, punishment and liberty in the US. Readings will provide an interdisciplinary context about class, race and gender, to prepare students for studying how these factors affect law making, the development of criminological theory and the administration of justice (including victimization patterns, policing, judicial processing, punishment, and media images).  Some required readings and assignments will be from the internet, so students should have internet access or be prepared to use EMU's computer labs.  

This class is being developed through a Diversifying the Curriculum Fellowship offered by Eastern Michigan University's Academic Affairs Committee on Curriculum Diversity

Thanks are also due to the Instructional Technology Across the Curriculum workshops (2000 & 2001), which the university has sadly discontinued. For the first ITAC workshop, I created a teaching page for my Domestic Violence class that is the model for this seminar. 


Scott Christianson, With Liberty for Some: 500 Years of Imprisonment in America Northeastern University Press 1998 1555534686

Gregg Barak, Jeanne Flavin & Paul Leighton, Class, Race, Gender & Crime: Social Realities of Justice in America. Roxbury 2001. 1891487345.   [Introduction to the chapter on class, race & gender]

Margaret Anderson and Patricia Hill Collins, Race, Class, and Gender: An Anthology (4th ed) Wadsworth 2001. 0534568890.

Additional required materials will come from internet readings. Although these are free, they are an important part of the course content and are not optional (except where noted). 


Matt Wray & Annalee Newitz (Eds), White Trash : Race and Class in America. Routledge 1997. 0415916925.

Richard Quinney, Bearing Witness to Crime and Social Justice. SUNY Press 2000. 079144760X.

Barbara Ehrenreich, Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America. Metropolitan Books 2001. 0805063889.

Jody Miller. One of the Guys: Girls, Gangs, and Gender. Oxford University Press, 2001.  0-19-513078-2

Joe R. Feagin & Hernan Vera, Liberation Sociology. Westview 2001. 0813333237.


This class will be making use of WEB CAUCUS, which is a bulletin-board type discussion forum. CAUCUS will be used to follow up on class discussions, including topics that students want to explore at greater length than we could do in class. It is also helpful for controversial topics, because everyone has the chance to think more about what they want to say and how exactly to phrase it before posting a comment. Use of CAUCUS is not required but will help with your class participation grade. 

Please note - students are still required to attend classes and participate; CAUCUS is not an option for participating instead of coming to class, but is an option IN ADDITION to regular 'real time' class participation. The main WEB CAUCUS page has instructions for registering. After registering, search for CRM592 (no spaces)

Jan 8

Introduction & greeting. The video was called A Class Divided, which is also a book entitled A Class Divided

Jan 15
  • Christianson: ch 1-3
  • A & HC: 1-7, 13-21 & ch  3 Jordan
Jan 22
  • Christianson: 4-5
  • B, F & L: ch 1
  • A & HC: 40 Garvey; 67 Miner; 6 Takaki
Jan 29
  • Christianson: 6-8
  • A & HC: ch 2 Moraga OR 5 Frye
  • A& HC: 36 Moore


"Forbes tells us the world now has 358 billionaires. Their combined net worth exceeds the combined net worth of the world's poorest 2 billion people." -David Korten, When Corporations Rule the World

Feb 5
  • B, F & L: Ch 2 p 25-47
  • A & HC: ch 29 Newman
  • A & HC ch 16 Ehrenreich or 37 Mantisios 
REQUIRED: Go to the Paywatch database - look up both the total salary and total compensation for the CEOs of GM and Ford. In a 1-2 page paper, discuss what system or typology you would use to describe the class system in the US (See B,F & L ch 2 for some ideas). Also, describe your own place in this system. Be sure to distinguish or define white trash, poor, working poor, working class and middle class.  
Feb 12 OPTIONAL: Check out the political cartoons about Enron 
Feb 19 Read 2 excerpts from David Korten's When Corporations Rule the World. Click on the words "When Corporations Rule the World" or the bookcover & the excerpts will be at the bottom of the page.  
Feb 26 

Winter recess 2/25- 3/3


The numbers in Akron, Columbus and Dayton are similar: blacks are about twice as likely to get tickets as those who are not black. When adjusted to reflect 21% of all black households do not own vehicles, these numbers increase. All of the assumptions built into this statistical analysis are conservative; they are structured to give the law enforcement the benefit of the doubt. Statistics from New Jersey and Maryland are similar. Sophisticated analyses of stops and driving populations in both states showed racial disparities in traffic stops that were "literally off the charts." THE STORIES, THE STATISTICS, AND THE LAW: WHY "DRIVING WHILE BLACK" MATTERS
As the nation watched the firefighters -- who lost 343 comrades in the attack -- struggle to raise the flag over
the smoldering disaster site, did it matter at that moment that they were three white men? Apparently it does. In the week since the fire department revealed it would memorialize the flag-raising with a bronze statue depicting one black, one white and one Latino firefighter raising that flag together, the fire department has been inundated with the outcry of its angry and predominantly white force. The debate has been over race and remembering, over historical accuracy and symbolic rendering. Firefighters Memorial Sparks a Diverse Debate 
March 5
  • B, F & L: Ch 3, 73-95
  • A & HC: ch 7 Yamato, 8, McIntosh,12 West, 9 Williams
  • A & HC: ch 11 Ferber or 49 Waters
REQUIRED: Go to WHY "DRIVING WHILE BLACK" MATTERS and read one section. Summarize it in your paper and be prepared to present it to the class. 

OR: Read A & HC 17 Dyson and 61 Anderson

RECOMMENDED: When Is Racial Profiling OK? 

March 12
  • B, F & L: Ch 3 95-128
  • A & HC: 52 Asfahani
  • Bell, Chronicle of the Space Traders (to be handed out in class)
REQUIRED: Read KOREMATSU v. UNITED STATES and in a page summarize the argument for and against putting Japanese Americans in camps during WWII. We then discuss Bell's Slave Traders essays (where the US give up all the blacks in exchange for gold and a clean environment). Finally we'll discuss Arab fears about what the US would do to them Post Sept 11. Be sure to read the article on Arab's receiving letters from the government to report for questioning
March 19
  • A & HC: ch 4 Gunn Allen, 42 Snipp & 50 Churchill
  • A & HC: ch 57 Takagi or ch 28 Moore
REQUIRED: Go to Indian Trust. Write a 3-4 page paper on what the issue and why the Secretary of the interior has been held in contempt of court. 

RECOMMENDED: Tribal Clearing House


Rapists are not born, they are made. And the culture which makes 'them' also makes 'us'. The question of why (some) men rape is thus connected to the question of why sexual violence is tolerated. This connection exists at a double intersection: between attitudes and actions, between violence and notions of masculinity. We are all connected to these intersections because this is where we have grown up as men. -from Men's Responsibility for Rape 
March 26
  • B, F & L: Ch 4, p 129-140
  • A & HC: ch 19 Baca Zinn, 20 Lourde, 22 Le Espiritu, 23 Atkin & Rich, 41 Steinem & 56 Wolf
RECOMMENDED: Jean Kilbourne (Still Killing US Softly) and Can't Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel
April 2
  • B, F & L: Ch 4, p 140-185
  • A & HC: ch 58 Schultz
  • A & HC: Read all 4 of the following, OR read 2 and do the exercise: 21 Blood, 24 Thompson, 39 Messner, 60 Kokopeli has a collection of resources on men working to end violence against women. Visit 2 of the sites listed there and review them in your weekly paper in place of two readings listed in the last bulleted point
April 9
  • A & HC: ch 26 Amott, 38 Ortiz Coffer, 53 Schwartz, 59 Davis, 63 Zia
Female managers are not only making less money than men in many industries, but the wage gap has also deepened during the economic boom years of 1995 to 2000, a congressional study to be released today reports. 

Full-time female managers earned on average less than their male counterparts in the 10 industries that employ 71 percent of all female workers, and in seven of the 10 fields, the pay difference widened.

Male-Female Salary Gap Growing, Study Says 

April 16
  • B, F & L: Ch 5
  • A & HC: 25 Baca Zinn & Eitzen, 51 Chan



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