Carnegie Mellon University Instructor: David Wolcott, Ph.D.
Fall 2000 Office: Baker Hall 240F
Credit: 9.0 Units Office phone: 412-268-6871
Meetings: MWF, 9:30 - 10:20 Office Hours: MW, 11:00 - 12:00
Location: Baker Hall 235A
Crime and punishment are among the
most important issues in contemporary America. This course offers an introduction
to the historical study of crime in the United States and highlights both
changes in criminal behavior and the different ways that Americans have
sought to deter, punish, and rehabilitate. Primary topics include historical
patterns of violence, the role and organization of the police, and the
evolution of punishment in theory and practice. This course also emphasizes
differences in crime and punishment by race, gender, and age.
As a result of taking this course, students should be able
ï Demonstrate knowledge of the historical development of crime and criminal justice.
ï Identify trends in the definition, cultural context, and social response to crime.
ï Place historical patterns of crime and criminal justice within the context of US history.
ï Analyze contemporary public issues
related to crime in historical context.
Expectations Top Home
The course will be taught by a combination
of discussion and lecture. This design requires active learning on your
part. The assignments have been designed to help you to engage with the
material and to evaluate your learning on that basis.
A. Participation and attendance
Class meets every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday between 9:30 and 10:20 AM in Baker Hall 235A (unless otherwise noted). You are expected to attend class regularly and on time, to read the material assigned before class, and to participate in discussion in a frequent and substantive manner. You should involve yourselves in class discussion by asking questions, participating in group activities, and contributing your thoughts, interpretations, and ideas.
Obviously, you need to attend class
in order to participate. Attendance will be recorded. You will be allowed
three absences; subsequent absences will result in the loss of one-third
of a letter grade from the "participation" grade for each day missed.
B. "Working Papers"
"Working papers" are intended to
help you assimilate what you have read. They should be a rough outline
of the key ideas and arguments in the reading for the day that papers are
due. Working papers should include the following: (1) descriptions of three
key ideas from the assigned reading; (2) a description of at least one
source of evidence; (3) and at least two questions about the reading are
worth discussing or statements of your response to the reading. These papers
should be absolutely be no longer than one page (with a normal font and
margins); it is more productive to explain a few ideas well than a lot
of ideas poorly. I will write a working paper based on an early reading
so that you will have an example to follow.
This course includes two papers, due on September 22 and November 20. You will be asked to answer a thematic question (on topics that will be assigned at least three class sessions before the paper is due) in between 4 and 5 pages. You are expected to base these papers on classroom lectures, discussions, and reading assignments; no extra research is necessary. This paper should make an historical argument, must have a clear thesis statement, and must use evidence to support that thesis. What is an historical argument? Historical arguments are well-defended, original interpretations of historical events based upon evidence. Itís not easy to make your own historical argument; this course will give you practice doing so.
Papers will be due in my mailbox in Baker 240 by 5:00 PM on the dates assigned. For late papers, one letter grade will be deducted for each weekday that they are late. Papers are to be typed, proofread, and double-spaced in a 12-point font.
Paper 1 Topic Paper 2 Topic
This course will have an in-class midterm exam on October 18 and a final exam on a date to be determined by the registrar. The exams will be in essay format.
Midterm Preview Final Exam Preview
I do all the grading for this course. Please feel free to come to office and discus any question concerning grading that you might have. I grade on a point system; even if I put a "letter" grade on your papers, I will indicate how many point out of the total for that assignment you have earned. At the end of the term, total point out of 100 will be translated into letter grades as follows: 90 to 100 = A; 80 to 89 = B; etc.
Grades will be distributed in the following way:
Attendance & participation
Working papers 10%
Paper 1 20%
Paper 2 20%
Midterm Exam 20%
Final Exam 25%
B. Classroom Behavior.
This course is designed to encourage
students to develop arguments and interpretations concerning history and
criminal justice. Therefore, it is important that all members of the class
feel that they can come to class and express their ideas in a free and
accepting environment. Any actions that might tend to limit that freedom
of expression is discouraged. Please be considerate of your fellow classmates.
C. Academic Integrity
I expect all students to uphold the
highest standards of academic integrity. Any violations of university policies
regarding cheating or plagiarism, as outlined in the Student Handbook,
will not be tolerated.
D. Alternative Arrangements
The Office of Equal Opportunity Services
provides support services for both physically disabled and learning disabled
students. For individualized academic adjustment based on a documented
disability, contact Equal Opportunity Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or
I. Required readings available for purchase at Carnegie Mellon Bookstore
David T. Courtwright. Violent Land: Single Men and Social Disorder from the Frontier to the Inner City. Cambridge, Ma.: Harvard University Press, 1996. ISBN 0674278712.
Samuel Walker. Popular Justice: A History of American Criminal Justice, 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998. ISBN 0195074513.
Timothy J. Gilfoyle. City of Eros: New York City, Prostitution, and the Commercialization of Sex, 1790-1920. NY: WW Norton, 1992. ISBN 0393311082.
Alexander W. Pisciotta. Benevolent Repression: Social Control and the American Reformatory-Prison Movement. NY: New York University Press, 1994. ISBN 0814766382.
Gilbert Geis and Leigh B. Bienen. Crimes of the Century: From Leopold and Loeb to O.J. Simpson. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1998. ISBN 1555534279.
II. Required readings available as photocopies on reserve at Hunt Library Circulation Desk [call numbers in brackets]
Jeffrey S. Adler, "íMy Mother-in-Law
Is to Blame, But Iíll Walk on Her Neck Yetí: Homicide in Late Nineteenth-Century
Chicago." Journal of Social History 31 (Winter 1997): 253-276.
[PH Wolcott - 60]
Hendrik Hartog, "Lawyering, Husbands'
Rights, and ëthe Unwritten Lawí in Nineteenth-Century America," Journal
of American History 84 (June 1997): 67-96.
[PH Wolcott - 33]
L. Mara Dodge, "ëOne Female Prisoner
is of More Trouble than Twenty Malesí: Women Convicts in Illinois Prisons,
1835-1896," Journal of Social History 32 (Summer 1999): 907-930.
[PH Wolcott - 47]
Ben B. Lindsey, "The Boy and the
Court: The Colorado Law and Its Administration," Charities 13 (7
January 1905): 350-357.
[PH Wolcott - 45]
Steven Schlossman & Susan Turner,
"Status Offenders, Criminal Offenders, and Children ëAt Riskí in Early
Twentieth-Century Juvenile Court," in Roberta Wollons, ed., Children
at Risk in America: History, Concepts, and Public Policy (Albany: State
University of New York Press, 1993), 32-57.
[PH Wolcott - 41]
Eric Schlosser, "The Prison-Industrial
Complex," The Atlantic Monthly 282 (December 1998), 51-78.
[PH Wolcott - 44]
Leete, Hon. John B. "Treatment and
Rehabilitation or Hard Time: Is the Focus of Juvenile Justice Changing?"
Law Review 29 (Spring 1996): 491-508.
[PH Wolcott - 48]
Part I - The Origins of American Justice
Monday, August 28 - Introduction
Wednesday, August 30 - What Questions
Do We Ask in the History of Crime?
Reading: Walker, Popular Justice, 1-10
Friday, September 1 - Colonial Crime
Reading: Walker, Popular Justice, 13-37
Monday, September 4 - No Class;
Wednesday, September 6 - The Humanitarian
Movement in Early-Republic America
Reading: Walker, Popular Justice, 37-46
Friday, September 8 - The Birth of
Reading: Walker, Popular Justice, 47-79
Part II - Crime in America
Monday, September 11 - Vice in the
Early-19th Century City
Reading: Gilfoyle, City of Eros, 17-75
Working Paper 1 due
Wednesday, September 13 - The "Sporting
Reading: Gilfoyle, City of Eros, 76-116
Friday, September 15 - The Nineteenth-Century
Law and Masculinity
Reading: Reading: Hartog, "Lawyering, Husbandsí Rights, & Unwritten Law" (RESERVE)
Optional reading: Gilfoyle, City of Eros, 117-178
Monday, September 18 - Moral Reform
& the Victorian Underworld
Reading: Gilfoyle, City of Eros, 181-250
Wednesday, September 20 - Decline
of Brothel Prostitution
Reading: Gilfoyle, City of Eros, 251-315
Friday, September 22 - Lecture: Firearms
in the 18th and 19th Centuries
Paper 1 due
Monday, September 25 - The History
of Violence: Theoretical Considerations
Reading: Courtwright, Violent Land, 1-46
Wednesday, September 27 - Gender
and Violence on the Frontier
Reading: Courtwright, Violent Land, 47-86
Friday, September 29 - Cowboys and
Reading: Courtwright, Violent Land, 87-151
Monday, October 2 - Violence and
Migration in Late Nineteenth Century
Reading: Courtwright, Violent Land, 152-197
Wednesday, October 4 - A More Orderly
Reading: Adler, "My Mother-in-Law Is to Blame Ö" (RESERVE)
Working Paper 2 due
Friday, October 6 - The Twentieth-Century
Decline of Violent Crime
Reading: Courtwright, Violent Land, 198-224
Monday, October 9 - "Everything Went
to Hell in the 1960s"
Reading: Courtwright, Violent Land, 225-246
Wednesday, October 11 - Contemporary
Reading: Courtwright, Violent Land, 247-280
Friday, October 13 - Murders
in Pittsburgh, 1998
Reading: HANDOUT-- "Allegheny County Homicides, 1998," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Monday, October 16 - Has Violent
Reading: HANDOUT -- selected recent articles
Wednesday, October 18 - Midterm
Friday, October 20, and Monday, October
23 - No class; mid-semester break
Part III - Criminal Justice and Popular Responses to Crime
Wednesday, October 25 - The Birth
of the Prison
Reading: Walker, Popular Justice, 80-111
Friday, October 27 - The Prison as
Reading: Pisciotta, Benevolent Repression, 1-59
Monday, October 30 - The Experience
of Prisoners & the Spread of Scientific Penology
Reading: Pisciotta, Benevolent Repression, 60-103
Wednesday, November 1 - Analysis
Exercise: New Historical Approach to Prisons
Reading: Dodge, "ëOne Female Prisoner Ö" (RESERVE)
Working Paper 2 due
Friday, November 3 - Progressive
Reading: Walker, Popular Justice, 112-144
Monday, November 6 - Eugenics in
Reading: Pisciotta, Benevolent Repression, 104-156
Wednesday, November 8 - Juvenile
Court in Theory & Practice
Reading: Lindsey, "The Boy and the Court" (RESERVE)
Schlossman & Turner, "Status Offenders, Criminal Offenders Ö" (RESERVE)
Working Paper 3 due
Friday, November 10 - The First "War
on Crime": 1920s and 1930s
Reading: Walker, Popular Justice, 145-167
Monday, November 13 - The Leopold
& Loeb Case and Theories of Crime
Reading: Geis & Bienen, Crimes of the Century, 13-48
Wednesday, November 15 - The Lindbergh
Reading: Geis & Bienen, Crimes of the Century, 89-126
Friday, November 17 - The Scottsboro
"Boys" and Racial Injustice
Reading: Geis & Bienen, Crimes of the Century, 49-88
Monday, November 20 - Lecture:
The Post-World War II "Delinquency Scare"
Paper 2 due
Wednesday, November 22, and Friday,
November 24 - No class; Thanksgiving
Monday, November 27 - Professionalization
& Reform of Criminal Justice
Reading: Walker, Popular Justice, 167-179, 193-210
Wednesday, November 29 - Judicial
Revolution & Institutional Reform
Reading: Walker, Popular Justice, 180-193, 232-239
Friday, December 1 - Getting Tough
Reading: Walker, Popular Justice, 211-231, 239-243
Monday, December 4 - The Prison-Industrial
Reading: Schlosser, "The Prison-Industrial Complex," 51-78 (RESERVE)
Working Paper 4 due
Wednesday, December 6 - Modern Juvenile
Reading: Leete, "Treatment and Rehabilitation or Hard Time." (RESERVE)
Friday, December 8 - O.J.
Simpson: Race, Money, & Criminal Justice
Reading: Geis & Bienen, Crimes of the Century, 169-204
Monday, December 11 - The Death Penalty
in Modern America
Reading: Walker, Popular Justice, 189-191, 225-227
HANDOUT -- selected recent articles
Date to be announced by Registrar
Final Exam Top Home