RCSSCI 250 - Topics in Social Theory and Practice
Fall 2023, Section 002 - Policing, Power, and Protest in the United States
Instruction Mode: Section 002 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: RC Social Sciences (RCSSCI)
Department: LSA Residential College
See additional student enrollment and course instructor information to guide you in your decision making.


Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
May be repeated for a maximum of 12 credit(s). May be elected more than once in the same term.
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.


For nearly a decade, activists and organizers have focused attention on the violent history of American policing, police targeting of communities of color, and the role of policing in maintaining structures of power. This course will put this ongoing social movement into context and consider the history and current state of policing, surveillance, and carceral control in the United States. It will encourage students to think historically about how American policing has changed over time and how categories of race, gender, sexuality, immigration status, age, and class have shaped the surveillance of American communities. We will consider the roots of modern American policing and state surveillance and the role of police departments in shaping urban geographies and defending the racial borders in American cities. We will examine the long history of state violence and police brutality, attempts to reform police departments, and more radical proposals for police and prison abolition. Finally, we will consider what the history of policing and surveillance can tell us about our own contemporary moment as protests against violent, racist policing continue to arise in communities across the United States. Course assignments will include academic scholarship, journalism, multimedia exhibits, oral histories, podcasts, and films. The final project will require students to create a public multimedia presentation about protests and social justice organizing concerning carceral control or another issue. Collectively, these presentations will chronicle a wide range of efforts to make our communities more just.


RCSSCI 250 - Topics in Social Theory and Practice
Schedule Listing
002 (SEM)
 In Person
MW 11:30AM - 1:00PM
8/28/23 - 12/6/23
003 (SEM)
 In Person
W 10:00AM - 1:00PM
8/28/23 - 12/6/23
Note: All classes will be taught at the UM Detroit Center

Textbooks/Other Materials

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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.

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