Criminological Theory ccj4014

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Criminological Theory


Instructor: Marv Krohn

Office: 3340 Turlington Hall


Office Hrs: T & Th 1-3

Teaching Assistant: Erin Castro

Office: 3349 Turlington

Office Hours:

Email address:

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.

Required Books:

Akers, Ronald L., Christine S. Sellers and Wesley G. Jennings, (2017) Criminological Theories: Introduction, Evaluation and Application. 7th edition. Oxford University Press.

Gehring and Batista: CrimComics: Origins of Criminology, Oxford University Press

Gehring and Batista: CrimComics: Biology and Criminality, Oxford University Press

Gehring and Batista: Classical and Neoclassical Criminology, Oxford University Press

Gehring and Batista: Social Disorganization Theory, Oxford University Press

Gehring and Batista: Anomie and Strain Theories, Oxford University Press

Course Requirements:

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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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: (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:

92-100 A

90-91 A-

88-89 B+

82-87 B

80-81 B-

78-79 C+

72-77 C

70-71 C-

68-69 D+

62-67 D

60-61 D-

Below 60 E

Extra Credit: There is one opportunity for extra credit in this class:

  1. 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

Sept 13 Alternate assignment

Sept 18 & 20 Social Control Theories ASJ: Ch 6

Sept 25 Deterrence and Rational Choice ASJ: Pp 14-31

G&B: Classical and Neoclassical


Sept 27 Review for 1st Exam

October 2 First Exam

Oct 4 Routine Activities ASJ: Pp 32-43

Oct 9 & 11 Strain Theories ASJ: Ch 9:: G&B: Anomie and Stain Theories

Oct 16 & 18 Social Learning Theories ASJ: Ch 5

Essay 1 due on Oct 18

Oct 23 & 25 Labeling Theory ASJ: Ch 7

Oct 30 Conflict Theory ASJ: Ch 10, 11,&12

Nov 1 Review for 2nd exam

Nov 6 2nd Exam

Nov 8 Feminist theories ASJ: Ch 13

Nov 13 Biosocial Theories ASJ: Ch 3;

G&B – Biology and Criminality

Nov 15 Psychological Approaches ASJ: Ch 4

November 20 Integrated Theory ASJ: Ch 15

Nov 22 & 27 Developmental Theories ASJ: Ch 14

Essay 2 due on Nov 29

Nov 29 Review for Third Exam

Dec 4 Third Exam

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