Deviance, Crime, and Punishment in the Past and Present

Fall 2016, Winter 2017, and Spring 2017 quarters

Taught by

How have deviance and crime been viewed differently in societies over time, and how have punishments for deviance and criminal behavior varied by society and historical period?

This program will engage in historical and sociological studies of deviance, crime, and punishment. Our studies will primarily entail a comparison of contemporary American and Western European societies with their historical roots from the 16th century to the present. We will examine themes of power, social control, surveillance, and resistance as they relate to the evolving social definitions of deviance, crime, and punishment. Within these overarching themes, we will consider topics such as crime waves, hysteria, identities, bodies, prostitution, witchcraft, genetic determinism, and the media sensationalization of crime.

This program involves extensive student-initiated studies, and students will learn how to conduct historical and sociological research on a topic of their choice. During the 10-week period spanning the second half of winter quarter and the first half of spring quarter, students will have the option of pursuing their independent research interests or participating in an internship for up to 40 hours a week, the equivalent of 16 credits. During this time, students will communicate electronically with faculty and peers to discuss their learning, and students working locally may meet with faculty and peers every other week for seminar discussions.

Students will return to the classroom in the middle of spring quarter to reflect on, critically examine, and integrate their fall quarter theoretical and methodological learning with their winter and spring quarter research or practical experience. The major project this quarter for interns will be a synthesis paper that details this integration. Research students will produce a research paper that represents a culmination of their best writing and thinking abilities.

Our studies will be grounded in sociology and history, but will turn to other fields, including anthropology, biology, law, and media studies, to enrich our understandings of deviance, crime, and punishment. Throughout the year students will engage in seminars, films, workshops, fieldwork exercises, writing, and research projects designed to deepen their knowledge and apply theory to real-world situations.

Research Opportunities

Students will do a major independent research project or internship for the 10 weeks between the middle of winter quarter and the middle of spring quarter. 

Internship Opportunities

Students will do a major independent research project or internship for the 10 weeks between the middle of winter quarter and the middle of spring quarter.  Students must complete an in-program Internship Learning Contract in consultation with the faculty and Academic Advising. Please go to Individual Study for more information.

Program Details

Fields of Study

gender and women's studies history law and government policy media studies sociology

Preparatory For

history, sociology, criminology, law, gender studies, humanities, and social sciences.


Fall Open Winter Conditional Spring Closed

Location and Schedule

Campus Location


Time Offered


Advertised Schedule

First winter class meeting: Monday, January 9th at 10am (Lib 1412)

Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning Hybrid Online Learning < 25% Delivered Online


$50 in fall for theatre tickets.