CRIM 433. Punishment and Justice in Cross-National Perspective

Comparative examination of punishment and justice. Critical Prison Studies from a transnational feminist framework. Focus is on structural forces and impacted communities. [Prereq: junior standing or greater.]

This course introduces students to the field of critical prison studies, to prison activist social movements and to the relationship between the two. We will set critical prison studies within the wider scholarly literature on forms of punishment more generally and think about the connections between prison activism and other movements around feminism, immigrant rights, poverty, and militarism. Fundamentally, this is an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary course because critical prison studies conversations are happening across, between and beyond the disciplines of American Studies, Geography, Gender Studies, History, Sociology and Criminology. We will explore the centrality of reform to prison legitimation and expansion, the rise of mass incarceration and its relationship to enslavement, colonialism and globalization, domestic prisons as well as military prisons and immigration detention centers. Finally, we will end the semester by focusing on social change in this context. We will consider the work that feminists of color are engaged in around transformative justice and movements aimed at building a world where we address violence without relying on policing, prisons and state violence more generally. We will ask: how might we respond to harm differently? What other modes of living are possible beyond what we already have. The culminating experience for this course is a student designed creative project which applies the course content to a significant condition of confinement in U.S. prisons.


Bosworth, Mary and Jeanne Flavin. Race, Gender and Punishment: From Colonialism to the War on Terror.

CRlO Publications Collective. Abolition Now! Ten Years of Strategy and Struggle Against the Prison Industrial Complex.