Sep 24, 2022  
2018 - 2019 Saint Joseph’s College Online Catalog 
2018 - 2019 Saint Joseph’s College Online Catalog [Archived Catalog]

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SO 321 - Special Topics: Films of Crime and Punishment

This course examines and analyzes film portrayals of both crime and punishment. Specifically, the course has students consider how our understanding of crime, criminals and criminal behavior may be shaped by film. The course seeks to examine the portrayals of the criminal justice system itself; how it functions, the actors within the system and the culture that surrounds the system. Furthermore, it is designed to analyze how films create societal response narratives by way of punishment portrayals. Students consider how film comes to shape the political and social debate surrounding how justice is best administered by a society.

The online format allows students to interact with the professor and other students in asynchronous discussion boards. Online course materials will help clarify points made by the author(s). Discussions will help other students think critically about issues surrounding particular issues related to crime and the media. It is crucial that students actively engage in the discussion boards as they are the focal point in the online environment. The week long on campus component of the course is designed to have a more in-depth discussion about the key themes identified and to develop a more critical mindset when assessing popular culture depictions of crime, criminality and justice.

Prerequisites & Notes
This course is being offered during the 2017 summer session with an on campus component.


Course Learning Objectives

  • Describe the key elements of the various theories of crime, punishment and criminality; 
  • Examine how film (as a popular culture medium) comes to shape and construct crime, crime control, victims of crime and the agents of crime control;  
  • Discuss and explore the portrayals of race, class and gender as related to crime/criminality in various films;
  • Analyze the biosocial, psychological and sociological perspectives of criminality within film;
  • Evaluate the impact that various cinematic portrayals and crime and criminality may have on the public’s perception. 

Credits: 3 Offered: Online: Summer Session 2017, Week 2

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