Courses of Study 2017-2018 
    Sep 30, 2020  
Courses of Study 2017-2018 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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SHUM 4624 - The Politics of Imprisonment

(crosslisted) HIST 4724 

Spring. 4 credits. Student option grading.

Enrollment limited to: 15 students. Intended for advanced undergraduates and graduate students.

R. Weil.

Different polities incarcerate in different ways. This seminar puts prisons into their wider political contexts, considering them as sites for wider debates about rights, tyranny, corruption and slavery, race and empire. Why did the birth of the modern prison coincide so closely with the birth of the American (and French) republics? How did changing forms of imprisonment intersect with imperial ambitions? What do the new generation of activists and scholars mean by “the carceral state?” Why and when do politicians talk about prisons, how do prisons serve as models or anti-models for political society? In what sense can we call prisons political institutions, or speak of a “carceral state?” Readings cover Europe and the US from the 17th century to the present.

For longer description and instructor bio please visit

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