AAS 495 - Senior Seminar
Fall 2020, Section 006 - Mass Movements and Mass Incarcerations
Instruction Mode: Section 006 is   Hybrid (see other Sections below)
Subject: Afroamerican & African Studies (AAS)
Department: LSA Afroamerican and African Studies
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Waitlist Capacity:
Advisory Prerequisites:
Upperclass standing.
Other Course Info:
(Cross-Area Courses).
May be repeated for a maximum of 8 credit(s).
Primary Instructor:


What is the relationship in the United States between organizing efforts that often lead to political protest in the streets, and the use of policing and imprisonment? From the agricultural strikes and walk-outs of the early- to mid-1930s, continuing through the civil rights, pro-worker, and anti-war efforts of the 1950s-1960s, to the widespread protest and organizing efforts and activities of the 2000s, mass movements of many kinds have manifested throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. The “disorder” generated by these mass movements has been largely suffocated by a policing regime that re-establishes and enforces order through violent tactics and carceral confinement. Today, more than 7.5 million people are confined under some form of carceral control in the United States (and fewer than 5% stood trial). This course looks at mass movements and mass incarceration in tandem, exploring their many contestations, confrontations, and connections. Rather than framing mass movements strictly as responses to the U.S. police State, we will consider how groups that were deemed “ungovernable” from the perspective of the State became widely criminalized through pro-white patriarchal tropes produced and perpetuated by people with economic and political power. From this perspective, widespread imprisonment appears to be the engine, and not simply the response, of U.S. Empire. Readings, Listenings, and Viewings are organized such that, over the course of the semester, we will read theories, histories, ethnographies, and journalistic endeavors alongside music, television shows, and documentaries with an aim toward crafting practical tools for understanding formations of collective life, power, punishment, and liberation in U.S. society today. Keywords: race/racism, prisons/incarceration, police/policing, surveillance, abolition, liberation, resistance, labor, U.S. State

Course Requirements:

All of the required readings for this course are posted, by week, on Blackboard. You do not need to purchase any books for this course. Additionally, at least one copy of each course book will be available on reserve at the library or for purchase at the bookstore.


AAS 495 - Senior Seminar
Schedule Listing
006 (SEM)
TuTh 11:30AM - 1:00PM
016 (SEM)
TuTh 11:30AM - 1:00PM

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