HIST 396-30-03H, Fall 1999, 238 Dumbach
Timothy J. Gilfoyle, Associate Professor of American History
Office hours: Monday, 8 a.m. - Noon
"There are few subjects that interest us more generally than the adventures of robbers andbanditi." Charles Macfarlane, 1833
"Violence is American as apple pie." H. Rap Brown
Crime and violence fascinate. Yet, despite widespread occurrence and attention, serioushistorical study of criminal and "deviant" behavior is comparatively recent. This honorscolloquium introduces students to the major historical questions concerning the cultures ofcrime in the Anglo-American world. Specific themes include the changing definitions of"deviancy" from the eighteenth century to the present, evolving perceptions of violentbehavior and criminal activity, and social policies to counteract antisocial and deviantbehavior. In the broadest sense, the class will explore historical meaning of good and evil.
The course requirements include one 15-20 page typewritten essay (50%), weekly one-page,typewritten reactions to the assigned reading (25%), and class participation (25%). Essayguidelines can be found at the end of this syllabus. The primary responsibility of studentsis to complete the weekly reading before the date of the scheduled class andcontribute their thoughtful, reflective opinions in class discussion. The readingscan be interpreted in a variety of ways and students should formulate some initial positionsand questions to offer in the class discussion. For every article or book, students should beprepared to answer all of the questions found in the "Critical Reading" sectionof the syllabus below. All required readings may be purchased at Beck's Bookstore in theGranada Center on Sheridan Road. Students are not obligated to purchase any of thebooks since each one has been placed on reserve at Cudahy Library.
Students who aredisabled or impaired should meet with the professor within the first two weeks of thesemester to discuss the need for any special arrangements.
Lawrence M. Friedman, Crime and Punishment in American History (New York:Basic Books, 1993).
16 Sept.: MIDNIGHT BIKE RIDE - American History and Crime in Chicago (Rain Date:23 Sept.)
Preliminary bibliography due.
Marcus Rediker, "'Under the Banner of King Death": The Social World of AmericanPirates, 1716-726," William and Mary Quarterly, 3:38 (1981), 203-37.
Alex Lichtenstein, "'That Disposition To Theft, With Which They Have Been Branded':Moral Economy, Slave Management, and the Law," Journal of Social History, 21(1988), 413-40.
David T. Courtwright, Violent Land: Single Men and Social Disorder From the Frontierto the Inner City (Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1996).
Richard White, "Outlaw Gangs of the Middle Border: American Social Bandits,"Western Historical Quarterly, 12 (1981), 387-408.
Elliott J. Gorn, "'Gouge and Bite, Pull Hair and Scratch': The Social Significance of Fightingin the Southern Backcountry," The American Historical Review, 90 (1985), 18-43.
Linda Gordon, "Family Violence, Feminism and Social Control," Feminist Studies,12 (1986), 452-78.
Timothy J. Gilfoyle, City of Eros: New York City, Prostitution, and theCommercialization of Sex, 1790-1920 (New York: W.W. Norton, 1992).
David Rothman, "Perfecting the Prison: United States, 1789-1865."
Edgardo Rotman, "The Failure of Reform: United States, 1865-1965."
Norval Morris, "The Contemporary Prison, 1965-Present."
Sean McConville, "Local Justice: The Jail." All in The Oxford History of thePrison, eds. Norval Morris and David Rothman (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1995).
Larry Goldsmith, "History from the Inside Out: Prison Life in Nineteenth-CenturyMassachusetts," Journal of Social History, 31 (1997), 109-25.
"The Autobiography of George Appo" (1916).
First Draft of Paper Due
Robert J. Schoenberg, Mr. Capone (New York: William Morrow, 1992)Œ
Laurence Bergreen, Capone: The Man and the Era (New York: Simon andSchuster, 1994).
Jack Katz, Seductions of Crime (New York: Basic Books, 1988)
Gertrude Himmelfarb, The New History and the Old: Critical Essays andReappraisals (Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1987), 13-46.
Final Papers Due
Discussion and class participation is a very important part of your grade (25 percent). Incisive, imaginative and thoughtful comments that generate and facilitate discussion areweighed heavily in final grades. Asking questions, responding to student questions andcontributing to an ongoing discussion are a necessary part of the learning experience. Failure to speak in class will only lower a student's final grade. Discussions are scheduledfor 10 class periods, each worth 3 "points." Students will receive 1 point for attendance, 2points for minimal participation, and 3 points for active participation. Students who raisequestions that generate discussion in other classes will earn extra points.
The best ways to prepare for and contribute to class discussion are: 1) complete the readingon time, and 2) critically analyze the reading. The primary goal of critical reading is to findthe author's interpretation and what evidence and influences led to that conclusion. Neverassume a "passive" position when reading a text. If students ask and attempt to answer thefollowing questions, they will more fully comprehend and understand any reading.
1. What is the thesis of the author?
2. Does the author have a particular stated or unstated point of view? How does theauthor construct their argument? Are the author's goals, viewpoints, or agendas revealedin the introduction or preface? Does the author provide evidence to support the argument? Is it the right evidence? In the final analysis, do you think the author proves the argumentor does the author rely on preconceived views or personal ideology? Why do you thinkthat?
3. Does the author have a moral or political posture? Is it made explicit or implicit in theway the story is told? What is the author's view of human nature? Does change come fromhuman agency and "free will" or broad socio-economic forces?
4. What assumptions does the author hold about society? Does the author see society ashierarchical, pluralistic, democratic or elitist? Does the author present convincing evidenceto support this view?
5. How is the narrative constructed or organized? Does the author present the story from the viewpoint of a certain character or group? Why does the author begin and end atcertain points? Is the story one of progress or decline? Why does the author write thisway?
6. What issues and events does the author ignore? Why? Can you think of alternativeinterpretations or stories that might present a different interpretation? Why does the authorignore certain events or facts?
The essay requirement class serves several purposes. First, good, thoughtful writingdisciplines and educates the mind. To write well, one must think well. If one's writingimproves, so does their thinking and intelligence. Second, students personally experienceon a first-hand basis some form of historical writing. A research paper relying on primarysources exposes students to the challenges, difficulties and even contradictions of analyzinghistorical events. Ideally, students will think more "historically" as a result of the exercise. Third, the essay can later function as a writing sample for students applying for futureemployment positions as well as to graduate or professional school.
Two types of long essays are acceptable for this course: research and historiographical. Research essays analyze a specific topic using primary or original sources. Examples ofprimary sources include (but are not limited to) newspapers, diaries, letters, oral interviews,books published during the period under study, manuscript collections, and old maps. Aresearch essay relies on source material produced by the subject or by institutions andindividuals associated in some capacity with the subject. The use and immersion of thewriter/researcher in such primary and original sources is often labelled "doing history." Most of the articles and books assigned for class discussion represent this type of historicalwriting.
Historiographical essays are based upon at least TEN different secondary sources, or whathistorians have written about a subject. Such a paper examines how historians'interpretations have differed and evolved over time regarding a specific topic or theme. Themajor focus of a historiographical essay are the ideas of historians, how they compare witheach other and how they have changed over time. Examples and models for such essays canbe found in the following collections:
Louis Masur, ed., The Challenge of American History (Baltimore: Johns HopkinsUniv. Press, 1999); originally Reviews in American History, vol. 26, no. 1 (March1998).
Eric Foner, ed., The New American History (Philadelphia: Temple Univ. Press,1990), especially essays in part II.
Both types of assignments should be the length of a standard scholarly article (approximately15-20 typewritten pages of text, plus notes). Students should select a topic as soon aspossible, in consultation with the instructor. A preliminary bibliography which includesbooks, articles, oral interviews, or other possible sources should be completed and handedin by 1:30 p.m., Wednesday, 220 Sept. 1999.
All essays should be typed. Students who complete the essay early have the option to rewrite the paper upon its evaluation and return (remember - the only good writing is goodrewriting). For students who wish to have the option of rewriting the essay, TWO copiesof the first draft of the essay should be in the professor's possession by 1:30 p.m.,Wednesday, 1 November 1999. All other and rewritten essays are due at the last class on6 December 1999. On both dates, students should submit TWO copies of the essay. Students who rewrite the essay should also include the corrected first draft.
All final papers should be free of typographical errors, misspellings and grammaticalmiscues. For every eight such mistakes, the essay's grade will be reduced by a fraction (Ato A-, A- to B+, etc.). Essays are to be written for this class ONLY. No essay used to fulfillthe requirements of a past or current course may be submitted. Failure to follow this rulewill result in an automatic grade of F for the assignment. Extensions are grantedautomatically. However, grades on essays handed in 48 hours (or more late) will be reducedby a fraction (A to A-, A- to B+, etc.). Every three days thereafter another fraction will bedropped from the paper's final grade.
Students in search of a paper topic can begin their investigation with a cursory reading ofany published overview on the history of crime, deviancy, and violence. Examples include:
Eric H. Monkkonen, ed. Crime and Justice in American History: Historical Articles onthe Origins and Evolution of American Criminal Justice (Westport, Conn.: Meckler,1991), 11 vols.
Eric A. Johnson and Eric H. Monkkonen, eds. The Civilization of Crime: Violence inTown and Country Since the Middle Ages (Urbana: Univ. of Illinois Press, 1996).
Clive Emsley and Louis A. Knafla, eds., Crime History and Histories of Crime(Westport, Conn., 1996).
Hugh Davis Graham and Ted Robert Gurr (eds.), The History of Violence inAmerica (New York: Praeger, 1969), 2 vols.
Edward Muir and Guido Ruggiero, eds., History From Crime: Selections from QuaderniStorici (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1994) [European history].
The following journals are also useful: Criminal Justice History, Newsletterof the International Association of the Association for Criminal Justice History,Journal of Social History.
The history of piracy and pirates
Convict labor in colonial America
How historians have treated famous criminals: Jesse James, Billy the Kid, Butch Cassidy,Al Capone, John Dillinger, Bonnie and Clyde, Charles Manson
Slave revolts in North and South America before 1860
The history of prostitution
The history of serial killers
The creation and evolution of the police in American cities
The lynch mob and lynching in American history
The riot or the "crowd" in certain period of American history
Changing interpretation of dueling in American history
The creation and evolution of the detective in the U.S.
The history of the prison and the jail (they are different)
The FBI and J. Edgar Hoover
The history of some aspect of organized crime
Historians and the Lizzie Borden case.
Historians, journalists and the Leopold and Loeb trial.
The changing treatment of domestic violence (i.e. wife-beating and child abuse).
The history of pornography or obscenity.
The role of public executions and capital punishment.
Changing interpretations on the meaning of juvenile delinquency.
Literary critics and the detective or crime novel (Arthur Conan Doyle, Elmore Leonard,Raymond Chandler).
Literary critics and comic book superheroes/crime fighters (Batman, Superman, Supergirl,Wonder Woman, Captain America).
Historians and witchcraft in colonial America.
Changing interpretations regarding the history of "organized crime" and the mafia.
Compare published autobiographies of prostitutes and madams.
For a case study, choose a specific criminal trial and examine the media coverage over acertain period of time. For example, compare the coverage of the trials of John Gotti inthe 1980s and 1990s with that of Lucky Luciana in the 1930s.
Compare media coverage of sex crimes in peak years 1937-39, 1949-51, and 1957-59, usingNew York Times Index and Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature.
Compare the various warnings and fears about crime and the underworld found in variousurban guidebooks, such as the "mysteries and miseries of the city" series from the 19thcentury.
Changing conceptions and definitions of sexual psychopaths (rapists, homosexuals,child molesters), using a single or several medical journals (i.e. Journal of CriminalPsychopathology began in 1940, Psychoanalytic Review began in 1913,American Journal of Orthopsychiatry began in 1930, Mental Hygienebegan in 1916, Journal of Social Hygiene began in 1914).
Describe and analyze the changing conceptions and meanings of eugenics and definitionsof "the unfit" in the Journal of Psycho-Asthenics and the American Journalof Sociology from 1895 to 1940.
Changing definitions of mental illness regarding sex offenders - rapists, child molesters, homosexuals, etc.
History of some aspect of homosexual life in Chicago using gay publications like Windy City Times.
History of some aspect of 19th or 20th century abortion in Illinois using the Abortionists File and/or the Abortifacient File in Historical Health Fraud Collection at the American Medical Association Library in Chicago.
Compare the writings of Anthony Comstock (1870s and 1880s) and theMeese Commission Report [U.S. Department of Justice, AttorneyGeneral's Commission on Pornography, Final Report(Washington, D.C., 1986), 2 vols.].
Changes in the debate on the social impact of pornography from 1950 to 1990.
Compare the various ideas on incarceration and prison by different19th- and 20th-century wardens and criminologists: Enoch C. Wines,Zebulon Brockway, Richard Dugdale, Frederick H. Wines, Lewis Lawes. Identify and compare over time a series of police memoirs.
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