HI6030 - Law and Order USA: Police, Prisons, and Protest in Modern America

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What will I learn on this module?

This module will explore the history of ‘law and order’ politics (broadly defined) in the United States since 1900. You will learn about the creation of the law enforcement and judicial state at the federal, state, and local level (including, for instance, the establishment of the FBI and the rise of the carceral state), and the social movements that resisted and challenged that state. The module will cover such diverse topics as Prohibition, the Stonewall riot and the early LGBTQ movement, the prison reform and prisoners’ rights movements, the War on Drugs, anti-death penalty activism, and Black Lives Matter. This module will deal with fundamental questions of order and justice, how they have been contested in American society, and how they have intersected with issues of race, class, and gender.

How will I learn on this module?

You will learn on this module by attending lectures and seminars. The lectures will introduce you to the module’s core themes and key historiographical debates related to the subject area. For the weekly two-hour seminars, you will be expected to undertake the required reading (available via the electronic reading list) and sample the recommended reading, and will build on your independent reading by contributing ideas and arguments to seminar discussions with your peers. Seminar discussions will incorporate both large and small group discussions, built around focused questions on relevant themes and topics. Seminars will also include significant engagement with carefully selected primary sources. You will receive formative feedback throughout the learning process and summative assessment will match your learning against the learning outcomes for the module.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Your academic development will be supported through your module tutor, engagement with your peers, and through the programme leader. The module tutor will be accessible within publicised Feedback and Consultation hours and via email. Your peers will provide you with a collaborative learning environment, and your programme leader will guide you through the requirements and expectations of your degree programme, of which this module is part. You will also be supported through individual engagement with the academic literature, lectures, and resources available on the eLP. Formative feedback will be on-going through seminar activities and assessment tasks.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1. Knowledge and understanding of the U.S. social movements and state development related to law and order issues.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
2. Demonstrate a range of transferable skills, including the ability to make independent critical judgements, to critically evaluate sources, to summarise the research of others, and to present arguments in a cogent and persuasive way.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
3. Awareness of and sensitivity towards different social groups engaged in struggle for social justice.
4. Engagement with ethical questions concerning order and justice, and how they can be translated from historical to contemporary contexts.

How will I be assessed?

2 x 1,500-word source commentaries (weighted 25% per source analysis)
For each of these assessment, you will prepare a critical commentary on a primary source, outlining its context, contemporary significance, and historiographical importance. For the first assessment, the module tutor will provide a list of approved primary sources from which you should choose one. For the second, you must independently locate and evaluate a source.


1 x 3,000-word essay (weighted 50%)
This essay will be written in response to one question chosen from a list provided by the module tutor.

Formative feedback for each assessment will be provided in seminars. Verbal and written feedback will be given on all summative assessed work. Feedback on initial summative assessments will enable you to improve on later ones.

Pre-requisite(s)

N/A

Co-requisite(s)

N/A

Module abstract

This module will explore the history of ‘law and order’ politics (broadly defined) in the United States since 1900. You will learn about the creation of the law enforcement and judicial state at the federal, state, and local level (including, for instance, the establishment of the FBI and the rise of the carceral state), and the social movements that resisted and challenged that state. The module will cover such diverse topics as Prohibition, the Stonewall riot and the early LGBTQ movement, the prison reform and prisoners’ rights movements, the War on Drugs, anti-death penalty activism, and Black Lives Matter. This module will deal with fundamental questions of order and justice, how they have been contested in American society, and how they have intersected with issues of race, class, and gender.

Course info

UCAS Code V100

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Humanities

Location Lipman Building, Newcastle City Campus

City Newcastle

Start September 2019

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