Criminology Goes to the Movies

Winter 2021
Class Size: 25
Credits per quarter

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Taught by

Toska Olson
sociology, gender studies

How can popular culture help us understand criminal behavior and societal responses to it? In this course, students will examine several theories of criminal behavior and apply the concepts and perspectives to feature films, real-world cases, and their own lives. Upon completion of this course, students will be able to: 1) explain biological, psychological, and sociological theories of crime and criminal behavior, 2) apply cinematic sociological techniques and criminological theory to analyses of feature films, and 3) explain how internal and external social controls affect their personal experiences and communities.

This course will be completed 100% remotely . Class activities may include asynchronous lectures, films, fieldwork, and writing, and synchronous workshops, seminars, and collaborative projects. All fieldwork will be completed using proper safety and physical distancing protocols. Please note that lectures, films, and other program material may present information about and representations of identities, structures of inequalities, and events – including images of violence and use of language – that some may consider disturbing based on their prior lived experiences.

To successfully participate in this program, students will need access to a computer (preferred) or smart phone, the internet, required texts, writing and note-taking supplies, and a source to borrow or rent specific feature films. A printer may be helpful. Students can expect our remote teaching to be a 70%/30% blend of asynchronous (self-paced) and synchronous (real-time) work using Canvas and Zoom.  


This course will be repeated in spring 2021. Students should not take both winter and spring. 

This offering will prepare you for careers and advanced study in:

sociology, criminology, criminal justice


Credits per quarter

Fields of study: 
Online learning:
  • Complete Online Learning - This offering delivers all of its instruction online.
Class Standing: Freshman–Senior
Class Size: 25

Scheduled for: Day

Final schedule and room assignments:

First meeting:

Wednesday, January 6, 2021 - 9:30 am

Located in: Olympia

May be offered again in:

Spring 2021