HIS 554: Law, Crime and the State (Spring 09)

This seminar takes legal systems and the criminalization of social groups as lenses on modern states’ techniques for disciplining populations, reproducing structures of privilege, and articulating nationalist ideologies. In addition to looking from the perspective of states, we consider the ways subjects and citizens manipulate, modify and evade legal regimes. Moving from the early modern period through the contemporary, the course takes on themes ranging from legal pluralism, social banditry, law and cultural difference under colonial regimes, prisons and rehabilitation, ethnic profiling and criminalization, and the place of outlaws in nationalist rhetoric. The course will be interdisciplinary, incorporating comparative and monographic historical and anthropological studies, theoretical works and literary texts; and transregional, with units examining particular themes in South Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, the US, and other other locations. Readings may include books or articles by scholars Lauren Benton, Michel Foucault, Carlo Ginzburg, Ranajit Guha, Eric Hobsbawm, Eric Tagliacozzo, Richard L. Roberts, Nicolas Shumway, Radhika Singha, and some selections from literary or historical primary sources.