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Drawing Blood: Crime and Justice in United State Literature & Film

ENGL 286.920
instructor(s):
TR 4:30-7:40

Citizens in the United States are entitled to due process in the eyes of the law, a process that is supposed to be fair and impartial. This class examines the basic assumptions behind citizenship, demonstrating that the basis from which justice is administered has been reinvented throughout the country's history. Beginning with the 'Declaration of Independence,' we will examine who has counted as a citizen in court and who has been prosecuted for crimes in our society. By considering literature and film together, the course encourages participants to analyze both how the law has been represented by fictional methods and what historical conditions have motivated certain depictions of the judicial process. Films may include Touch of Evil, Lone Star, Amistad, Blackboard Jungle, 187. Literary texts may include Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography, Frederick Douglass's Narrative of a Life of An American Slave, Toni Morrison's Beloved, Mark Twain's Pudd'nhead Wilson, and Jonathan Kozol's Savage Inequalities.