Link to What's New This Week Media, Crime and Criminal Justice: CRMJ 385, Spring 2007, UWP

Dear Habermas Logo and Link to Site Index A Justice Site

Media, Crime and Criminal Justice
Syllabus for CRMJ 385. Spring 2007

Mirror Sites:
CSUDH - Habermas - UWP - Archives

California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Soka University Japan - Transcend Art and Peace
Created: August 24, 2003
Latest update: April 26, 2007

E-Mail Icon

Index of Topics on Site Syllabus for Media, Crime and Criminal Justice

Susan Takata
Office: 362 MOLN
Office Hours: MWF 8:45-9:45am & by appointment
Phone: (262) 595-2116
FAX: (262) 595-2471
Class meets MWF 10-10:50 a.m.

Brief Description:

CRMJ 385 will examine the interrelationship between the mass media, crime and the criminal justice system. Some topics to be covered: the media construction of reality, crime and justice in the entertainment media, how real is reality television, th emedia and crime waves, media based anti-crime efforts, and so forth. In addition, we will explore the role and influence of the media throughout the criminal justice process -- from law enforcement to corrections.


  • Potter and Kappeler.(2006) Constructing Crime.
  • Rafter. (2006) Shots in the Mirror: Crime Films and Society.
  • Surette. (2007) Media, Crime and Criminal Justice .
  • Dear Habermas Website [refer to handout]
  • other materials to be assigned
  • read the newspaper and/or watch the news regularly


You must have:
  • a three-ring binder
  • an e-mail address (available through the university)
  • Internet access (access to PCs in microcomputing labs on campus)

Course Objectives

  • Answerability Objective: To master the concept of the aesthetic process of answerability and its role in creating an atmosphere of morality and ethics in our institutions and world systems, particularly the educational system. Outcomes: You will participate in class discussionsand on transform_dom, respecting the answerability of every member of that community, and the aesthetic process of collaborative creation. You are expected to demonstrate active and involved learning. Written expression is as important as dialog participation and other means of expression (such as art or photography). Silence will not be acceptable, though I am willing to consider a preference for interpassivity.

  • Technological Objective: To master the simple use of any computer that happens to be available. Our assignments and readings are on the Internet. Please be sure you know how to access them and to post ot the discussions. Outcomes: You will be expected to access class materials on the Dear Habermas website and to post on transform_dom, our discussion forum.

  • Theoretical Objective: To come away from this course with a deep understanding of the role that theory plays in our lives, particularly as it relates to the media, crime and the criminal justice in the United States. To use a vocabulary which permit discussion of theory: social constructionism, difference, the Other, structural violence, privileging subjectivity, unstated assumptions, relativism, tolerance of ambiguity, inequality, diversity and so forth. Outcomes: Measured by the inclusion of references in written and oral contributions to discourse. In your submissions to our discussion group and during class discussions, you will consider the framing of the facts you cite, the illocutionary discourse in which you must engage to hear one another in good faith, and the importance of such a forum to in depth consideration of issues in media.

  • Visual Objective: To review and evaluate materials on media, crime and criminal justice by creating a visual presentation of your learning in this course. Outcomes: You will present at least two major visual projects to the class, (one at midterm and the second toward the end of the semester).

  • Praxis Objective: To recognize differences between theory, factual knowledge, and the application and synthesis of that knowledge in praxis. Outcomes: You will apply theoretical discussions to examples within their own institutions and lifeworlds, as they relate to media, crime and criminal justice. Focus on conceptually linking criminological theory to current events and personal narratives shared in face-to-face and Internet discussions.

Grades and Grading

Grades can be important feedback when they are collaborative and used as feedback to guide further learning. They are harmful when they become a reified end in their own right. Because we are required by the institution to give grades, there must be a means of your letting us know what you hae learned. We expect each of you to communicate with us, so that we come to know you and your learning. Meaningful learning comes when we stretch the corners of each other's mind by looking at these concepts from multiple perspectives that come from our myriad unique experiences.

The six Cs - communication, courtesy, cooperation, consistency, competency, and creativity continue to represent our standards for evaluation. Refer to Evidence of Learning on the Dear Habermas website. Your coursework must show scholarly discipline in conceptually linking your learning to theory, policy, practice through the course readings and discussions.

Ideally, four progress checks throughout the semester are recommended (meeting with the professor every four weeks). A minimum of two progress checks with the professor is required (at midterm and at the end of the semester). The first eight-weeks of class is worth one-third of your course grade, while the second eight-weeks will be two-thirds of your course grade.

The minimum requirements for a course grade of "C" are: 1) the completion of all the weekly discussion questions, 2) participatory class attendance (not only attending but participating in class discussions), and 3) at least a "C" average in pop quiz grades (to note "do not count" on a majority of pop quizzes is below average).

Statement on Plagiarism

DON'T DO IT!! Give credit to those whose ideas and words you use. Cooperation and sharing in this class will earn you a better grade. Adversarialism is not a part of our teaching. We believe that learning flowers in an environment that permits mutuality to flourish.

Other Important Notes

Students with Disabilities - Students with disabilities are encouraged meet with me as soon as possible to discuss accommodations. Accommodations should be authorized through the Disability Services Office in WYLL D175, (contact Dr. Renee Sartin-Kirby, Coordinator at 595-2610).

Deadlines/Due Dates - All due dates, meeting times, and deadlines are firm. Late assignments will not be accepted. A "no show" will result in an "F" for that particular task. The absolute final deadline for ALL course work is Friday, April 27th at 10 a.m. central time, (i.e., all creative measures/visual presentations must be completed!).

Communicating - It is your responsibility to communicate an emergency and other situations in a timely manner to the professor. Communicating your whereabouts is important. Don't be a field mouse.

Groupwork: You may work in groups on any or all exercises or assignments. Cooperative learning groups are strongly encouraged. You can work with more than one group, and with different groups. All names of active group members should be recorded as indicated on the exercise material. (Refer to Cooperative Learning on the Dear Habermas site ).



WeekTopic and Class PreparationTextual Readings
Week 1
The Teaching/Learning Model R, Intro + ch. 1, S, ch. 1
Week 2
Media, Crime & Criminal Justice: An Overview
** W, Jan. 24th 12 noon to 1 p.m.-- Optional Dear Habermas Workshop in the library microcomputing classroom
R, ch. 2, S, ch. 2
Week 3
Making News P&K, preface, introduction, ch. 1-5
Week 4
Constructing Crime Problems P&K, ch. 6-13
Week 5
Crime and CriminalityR, ch. 3, S, ch. 3
Week 6
Effects of Constructing Crime P&K, ch. 14-18
Week 7
The Media and the Police R, ch. 4, S, ch. 4
Week 8
Visual Presentations I & Midterm Assessment
** Monday, March 5th - First Visual Presentations due
**Friday, March 9th - Last Day to Drop Course
Week 9
Spring Break
** No Class - Mon 3/12, W 3/14 & F 3/16
Week 10
The Media and the Courts R, ch. 5 & S, ch. 5
Week 11
The Media and Corrections R, ch. 6 & S, ch. 6
Week 12
The Media and Juvenile Delinquency materials to be distributed
Week 13
The Media and Crime Control
R, ch. 7 & S, ch. 7
Week 14
The Media and Criminal Justice Policy S, ch. 8
Week 15
The Media, Crime and Criminal Justice in the 21st Century
** Friday, April 27th at 10 a.m. central time - Final Absolute Deadline
P&K, epilogue, R, ch. 8, S, ch 9
Week 16
Visual Presentations II/Teaching/Learning Revisited
** Friday, May 4th - Last Day of Class

Site Copyright: Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata and Individual Authors, August 2003.
"Fair use" encouraged.