Below, please find syllabi for our November 12th discussion and lecture. Typically these resources are posted 2 weeks in advance.
Theory, Criticism, and Society: 10/2018 – 3/2019
During this semester, we’ll explore ideas from theory and criticism focusing on art, literature, music, and culture, with the further intention of applying such ideas to the creation and organization of society. Our goal is to deepen our understanding of theory and criticism, and to broaden our perspective of the world we live in—and the possibilities open to us.
In the past twenty years, articles decrying the militarization of police have become increasingly commonplace. The status, efficacy, ethics, and power of the police remains a contentious sociopolitical problem with mortal consequences. In this lecture, we will explore the problem of police militarization through a series of theories from an overall historical perspective.
First, we will establish the problem and its contentious nature. We will define militarization, look at some anecdotal and statistical evidence of what that looks like in day to day life, especially the ways it has affected individual Americans as well as ethnic and social groups. We will then move briefly through the turbulent history of the United States police force as an institution.
Second, working from this framework of understanding, we will explore some of the theories of how we got here. A variety of explanations for the problem have been offered, ranging from economic, social, anthropological, and multi-disciplinary in their origins. We will explore the most compelling, from racially motivated theories to ones rooted in economic terms to those based on legal and social developments.
Finally, we will attempt to deconstruct the perspective of police officers and the criminal justice community; in particular the culture of officers, the psychology of the job, the training, and other sources of understanding.