Race, Crime and Citizenship in American Law


Spring 2018




We are in the midst of another moment of national soul-searching over race and the criminal justice system. It is not the first such crisis. What is the relationship between the deep history of our criminal justice system and the current controversies over racial disparities in the war on drugs and the policing of minority communities? The seminar begins with a sampling of perspectives on the rise of mass incarceration and the debates over the role of race, poverty, and procedure in criminal punishment. We then to a series of case studies on topics such as the death penalty, illegal immigration, and the Fourth Amendment. The course concludes with a look at the constitutional aspects of national security policing before and after 9/11.