University of Wisconsin- Madison

SOC 441 – Criminology (syllabus)

This course is intended to be a broad introductory overview to the study of crime and to the field of criminology. The course is divided into three major sections. The first part of the class focuses on basic definitions and the empirical understanding of crime and crime trends. The second and largest section details theories and research on the causes of criminal behavior. The final section focuses on three contemporary controversies at the fore of criminological inquiry: the death penalty, gun control and immigration control.

SOC / CHICLA / LEGAL ST 440 – Ethnicity, Race, and Justice (syllabus)

This course utilizes a variety of theoretical and empirical tools from social and legal research to examine four interconnected domains surrounding the intersection of ethnicity, race, and justice: 1) racial and ethnic relations in society 2) racial and ethnic differences in crime and violence, 3) racial and ethnic disparities in the criminal justice system, and 4) race and ethnicity under the law. A variety of specific topics will be addressed, including sociological theories of racial/ethnic differences in violence, disparities in punishment (including the death penalty), and the consequences of mass incarceration for racial/ethnic inequality. Given the voluminous amount of legal research specific to racial differences, a major focus of this course will be to move beyond the black/white dichotomy, with a specific emphasis on US Latinos – the largest minority group in the United States.   

SOC / CHICLA / LEGAL ST 443 – Immigration, Crime, and Enforcement (syllabus)

Few topics in contemporary society have more sociological significance and public policy salience than the study of immigration, crime, and border enforcement. Drawing from research in law and the social sciences, this course engages both historical and present-day debates surrounding immigration and crime, with specific emphasis on (1) theories of migration and criminal behavior that inform these debates; (2) the motivation for, and effectiveness of, immigration enforcement; (3) the increasing use of criminal justice tools (e.g. the police and the prison) in border enforcement, and; (4) the experiences of living undocumented in the United States. Given that Hispanics comprise the largest group of foreign-born residents in the United States and the majority of undocumented immigrants in the US are from Mexico, a significant focus of this course will be on Latino immigration and the U.S.-Mexico border.

Purdue University

SOC 609 – Crime, Law, and Punishment (syllabus)

This graduate seminar provides a foundation of theory and new empirical research in criminology and the sociology of punishment. We will critically analyze the dominant theoretical traditions in criminology with an emphasis on theories currently shaping work in the discipline. The course is also designed to provide students with an understanding of punishment as a social institution, highlighting the causes and consequences of mass incarceration in the United States and connecting key themes in criminology and punishment to your own research agenda and current projects.

SOC 419 – Sociology of Law (syllabus)

This course explores the sociological study of law and legal institutions. At its most elementary level, the sociology of law is dedicated to studying the legal behavior of human groups. It investigates how factors outside the law – such as politics, the economy, organizations, intergroup relations, gender, or race – influence the nature and functioning of law. In this course, we will address questions such as: Why do societies have law? What is the relationship between law and social norms and values? Is everyone equal under the law or does the law provide more resources to some social groups than to others? Why do people obey the law, and why do we punish law breakers? Is law created for the common good, or a vehicle for conflict and oppression?

The course is divided into three major sections. The first part of the class focuses on a brief introduction to legal sociology as well as the classical sociological approaches to law and legal change. Part II examines the interactions between individuals and the legal system, with a particular emphasis on courtroom actors (judges, attorneys, witnesses, jurors) and how they are influenced by their social relationships and other ‘extra-legal’ factors. The final section explores how law is mobilized and the impact of law on social change, with specific emphasis on the civil rights movement.