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Cleveland State University Course Info

Cleveland, Ohio


Course Info

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HIS 425

Race and the US Carceral State in the Long 20th Century

This course is an advanced reading seminar that uses a historical perspective to theorize the way racism has intersected with policing, criminality, prisons and the growth of 20th century mass incarceration. It considers how the carceral state emerged from America's transition from a slave society to a "free" society, starting from the loophole in the 13th Amendment that allowed slavery to continue "as punishment of a crime." Topics will include the rise of convict lease systems, how race and ideas of criminality underlay definitions of American modernity, how they influenced public policy especially with regards to the "wars" on poverty and drugs, and we will explore such additional topics as the culture of prisons, juvenile (in)justice, detention centers, prisoner resistance and political prisoners.

Units: 3.0