AAS 558 - Seminar in Black World Studies
Fall 2023, Section 001 - American Carceral State: Origins and Implications
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: Afroamerican & African Studies (AAS)
Department: LSA Afroamerican and African Studies
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With permission of instructor.
Advisory Prerequisites:
Graduate standing or permission of instructor.
May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credit(s).
Primary Instructor:
Start/End Date:
Full Term 8/28/23 - 12/6/23 (see other Sections below)
NOTE: Drop/Add deadlines are dependent on the class meeting dates and will differ for full term versus partial term offerings.
For information on drop/add deadlines, see the Office of the Registrar and search Registration Deadlines.


Drawing from the latest and most cutting-edge historical scholarship on America’s carceral state –new studies on the history of incarceration, prisoner rights, the war on drugs, prison labor, sentencing, policing, immigration detention, etc.--this course will ask students to look very closely at historical context and political moment when considering the origins of logics of the criminal justice system of this country, and how it evolved over time.

In addition to studying the history of American carceral state, this course also helps students to rethink current scholarly understandings of numerous other major developments in American history—everything from the origins of urban crisis, to the rise of the New Right, to the collapse of the Welfare state, to the impact of deindustrialization, to the role of privatization in America, to the rise and fall of the nation’s public education system, and so many more. In short, whether a student is inherently interested in the history of crime, punishment, and prisons or not, this course will get them thinking about the historical problems they are interested in, in new ways.


This course asks you to read approximately a book, and several articles, a week. For 6 of the week’s readings you will be asked to turn in “write ups.” We will talk more about these when we meet but, in short, these one-pagers will help you to zero in on the main arguments in the readings and will greatly facilitate the group discussion. You will write also write two 5 page book reviews—one positive and one negative--of one already assigned and one extra book. All students will also write a final state of the field essay.


Reading write ups—6 @ 5% each = 30%

Review Essays—40%

State of the Field Essay—30%


AAS 558 - Seminar in Black World Studies
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
 In Person
8/28/23 - 12/6/23

Textbooks/Other Materials

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