Advocacy & Social JusticeLaw

HIST 340 – Policing and Power

This course examines the history of policing in the United States by considering the contexts and conflicts that birthed and shaped the modern carceral state, focused primarily on the late nineteenth century through the 1980s. Moving through five modules, it considers the origins of policing and imprisonment in Europe and the United States, policing as social control or social order, the role of police in constructing state power, policing in a transnational context, and the modern era of mass incarceration. These modules ask what police power is, what histories have shaped the limits or excesses of that power, and how law enforcement shaped American society, culture, and politics. We will pay considerable attention to how these histories can help us navigate contemporary debates around law enforcement and crime.

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