HISTORY 345 - History and Theory of Punishment
Fall 2023, Section 001
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: History (HISTORY)
Department: LSA History
See additional student enrollment and course instructor information to guide you in your decision making.


Waitlist Capacity:
May not be repeated for credit.
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.


Ever been curious about the history of crime, punishment and prisons in the United States? What is crime? How is it counted? Why does it fluctuate? Are there important distinctions between crimes? Which is more effective, punishment or rehabilitation? How far should either go? Who should administer either? How has the administration of law and order, corrections, sentencing, parole, etc. changed over time? Does region matter? Does race, gender and/or class matter? And how is this system actually experienced by those on the inside?

Through primary and secondary source readings, as well as documentary film, this course will look closely at the history and theory of punishment, and at how prisons and detention have been used to address social ills over time in American history. It will pay close attention to the importance of historical context and political moment when considering how the judicial system as well as prison system operates, and it will assess the ways in which race, gender, class, and sexuality shape both prison politics and populations. The course will explore the importance of regional difference vis-à-vis the administration of punishment, and will also grapple with some of the questions that Americans find most troubling today with regard to crime and punishment. These include: debates over the death penalty, the law regarding youth offenders, the ethics of drug laws, prisoner civil liberties vs. victims’ rights, mandatory sentencing guidelines, and how the criminal justice system deals with the mentally ill. Finally, students will address the question of how the United States might best remedy the criminal justice problems it now faces—both in theory and in practice.


HISTORY 345 - History and Theory of Punishment
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 In Person
M 2:00PM - 5:00PM
8/28/23 - 12/6/23

Textbooks/Other Materials

The partner U-M / Barnes & Noble Education textbook website is the official way for U-M students to view their upcoming textbook or course material needs, whether they choose to buy from Barnes & Noble Education or not. Students also can view a customized list of their specific textbook needs by clicking a "View/Buy Textbooks" link in their course schedule in Wolverine Access.

Click the button below to view and buy textbooks for HISTORY 345.001

View/Buy Textbooks


Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

Click the button below to view historical syllabi for HISTORY 345 (UM login required)

View Historical Syllabi

CourseProfile (Atlas)

The Atlas system, developed by the Center for Academic Innovation, provides additional information about: course enrollments; academic terms and instructors; student academic profiles (school/college, majors), and previous, concurrent, and subsequent course enrollments.

CourseProfile (Atlas)