Course Description: Advanced study and critical appraisal of various theories of crime causation, including an examination of biological, psychological, economic and sociological perspectives on the etiology of crime. The emphasis, however, will be on sociological explanations of crime.
Akers, Ronald L., Christine S. Sellers and Wesley G. Jennings, (2017) Criminological Theories: Introduction, Evaluation and Application. 7th edition. Oxford University Press.
Exams: Three exams will be given each worth 300 points. The exams will be comprised of a mixture of short answer and multiple choice questions. Exams dates are listed below.
Make-up Exams: You should make every effort to be present for each exam. In situations where you have an approved and verifiable excuse, individual make up exams will be scheduled through the TA’s. The make-up exams will be in essay format.
Two Short (5 Pages) Essay Papers:
Essay 1 – Please select any two theories from the ones which are assigned in the first half(through October 18th). Compare and contrast the three theories on three criteria: 1} the scope of the theory; 2} the research support it has received; and 3} your own intuitive opinion about which theory makes the most sense. Based on these criteria which theory would you choose if you were asked to choose one. The essay will be evaluated in terms of 1) you being able to demonstrate knowledge about the content of each theory and the supportive research (60%), 2) your ability to compare and contrast the two theories ((25%), and 3) your essay being well organized and free of editorial issues such as spelling and grammar (15%). The essay is worth 50 points. It is due on October 23.
Essay 2 – You are to write an essay on whether labeling theory or deterrence theory better account for the consequences of the intervention of the juvenile or criminal justice system. Based on your assessment, provide a detailed recommendation of what strategies you would suggest for the Juvenile and Criminal Justice systems to reduce the amount of criminal behavior. The essay will be evaluated in terms of 1) your knowledge of theories and the research on them(60%), your ability to apply the tenets of the theories to the policies you recommend (25%), and your essay being well organized and free of editorial issues such as spelling and grammar (15%). The essay is worth 50 points. It is due on November 29th.
Plagiarism: I will not tolerate plagiarism. Please consult the following website to learn what constitutes plagiarism: http://www.unc.edu/depts/wcweb/handouts/plagiarism.html (from The Writing Center at the University of North Carolina)
Grading: A total of 1000 points can be earned in the class (not counting extra credit points). Each exam is worth 300 points and the two short essay papers are worth a total of 100 points, totaling 1000 points. I will compute the percentage of points that you earned (points earned divided by 10) and then use the following grading scale to assign your grade:
Below 60 E
Extra Credit: There is one opportunity for extra credit in this class:
Unannounced quizzes that will be given periodically during the semester. Each quiz is worth one extra credit point. There will be 5-7 quizzes given over the course of the semester.
Course Outline, Reading Assignments and Tentative Dates:
Aug 23 Introduction and Review of Syllabus None
Aug 28 Brief History of the Discipline G&B: Origins of Criminology
ASJ: Pp 14-15, 44-49
Aug 30 & Sept 4 The Nature of Theory ASJ: Ch 1
Sept 6 Research Methods ASJ: Ch 1
Sept 11 Social Disorganization Theory ASJ: Ch 8; G&B: Social Disorganization