HC301H: American Prisons

Professor: Tim Williams

4.00 credits

  • CRN 21082: Tuesday & Thursday, 1000-1120 @ MCK 348
  • CRN 21083: Tuesday & Thursday, 1400-1520 @ MCK 349

In this required research course, we will focus on one specific area of inquiry: the history of prisons and prisoners in the United States. Within this framework, students will have an opportunity to research and write about various topics: race, gender, bodies, sex, emotions, popular culture, public health, policy, law, politics, popular culture, prisoners of war, and more! We will read recent scholarship (several articles and one monograph) that model the various questions historians ask of this broad topic and the different methods they use to answer them.

In the process, students will learn and develop basic research skills as they write an original research paper in the discipline of history. The course is structured in a way that leads students along the typical research trail while simultaneously discussing approaches to research related to the course theme. After identifying a research topic and problem in the first two weeks of the term, students will produce a series of preliminary assignments, including both a basic and annotated bibliography, literature review, and analyses of primary sources. Students will learn how to write according to the Chicago Manual of Style. Before completing the paper, they will receive feedback from classmates following brief, “lightning presentations.”