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Race, Crime and Law
Syllabus for CRMJ/SOCA 365-002 (TR). Fall 2006

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Created: August 24, 2003
Latest update: December 6, 2006

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Index of Topics on Site Syllabus for Race, Crime and Law (TR)

Susan Takata
Office: 362 MOLN
Office Hours: MTWRF 9:30-10:30am & by appointment
Phone: (262) 595-2116
FAX: (262) 595-2471
Class meets TR 11a.m.- 12:15 p.m.

Brief Description:

CRMJ/SOCA 365 will examine race, crime and law in terms of theory, policy and practice. In other words, we will focus on history, present-day issues and future directions. We will explore "race, crime, law" from the multiple perspectives of those involved in the criminal justice process, (i.e., law enforcement, courts, corrections, juvenile justice). Whatever position you take on this subject, the readings in this course should challenge you to think about the theory and assumptions that underlie your position, and the many alternatives that have been and will continue to be presented in the new millennium.


  • Fellman, Gordon.(1998) Rambo and the Dalai Lama.
  • Kennedy, Randall.(1997) Race, Crime, and the Law.
  • Walker, Samuel et al. (2007) The Color of Justice .
  • Dear Habermas Website [refer to handout]
  • (optional) Habermas, Jurgen. (1996) Between Facts and Norms.
  • (optional) Minow, Martha. (1990) Making All the Difference.


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 particiapate in class discussion and 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 race, crime and the law in the United States. To use a vocabulary which permit discussion of theory: race, ethnicity, 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 criminal justice/social justice.

  • Visual Objective: To review and evaluate materials on race, crime and the law by creating a visual presentation of your learning in this course. Outcomes: Toward the end of the semester, you will present your visual project to the class.

  • 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 race and ethnicity. 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 Thursday, November 30th at 11 a.m. central time, (i.e., all creative measures 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
Introduction F, frwrd&acknwlgmt,
K, foreword & ch. 1
W, ch. 1
Week 2
Teaching and Learning
Adversarialism and Mutuality
** W, Sept. 13th 12 noon to 1 p.m.-- Optional Dear Habermas Workshop in the library microcomputing classroom
F, parts 1, 2, & 3
Week 3
Adversarialism and MutualityF, parts 4 & 5
W, ch. 1
Week 4
Myths and Realities about Race and Crime K, ch. 2
W, ch. 2
Week 5
Race, Ethnicity, Social Structure & Crime W, ch. 3
K, ch. 3
Week 6
Justice on the Streets? W, ch. 4
K, ch. 4
Week 7
The Courts W, ch. 5
K, ch. 5
Week 8
Justice on the Bench?
**Friday, 10/27 - Last Day to Drop Course
W, ch. 6
K, ch. 6
Week 9
Race and the Composition of Juries K, ch. 7-8
Week 10
Race and Sentencing W, ch. 7, K, ch. 10
Week 11
The Color of Death W, ch. 8
K, ch. 9
Week 12
Race and Corrections
** Thursday, November 23rd - Thanksgiving Day - No Class
W, ch. 9
K, ch. 10
Week 13
Minority Youth and Crime
** Thursday, November 30th at 11 a.m. central time - Final Absolute Deadline
W, ch. 10
K, afterword
Week 14
The Color of JusticeW, ch. 11
Week 15
Relating Race, Crime, Law to Theory, Policy, Practice
** Thursday, December 14th - Last Day of Class

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