This page houses old and new posts which were previously published on the home-page.

Teaching Theory Analogically: Using Music to Explain Criminological Theory

A former CSP student, Matt Hinds-Aldrich, recently shared his views on how to teach criminological theory via music (2012). For those of you who were there, he presented his ideas about such an approach during the Hamburg CS, Spring 2009! I thought it might be useful to have a look at his article, as the coming CS is dealing with this exact issue of epistemology and methodology, criminology and critical analysis.

The abstract:

“There have been a number of articles recently advocating the use of nontraditional mediums to teach criminological theory. Many of these articles have advocated using music and/or music lyrics to illustrate and enliven the various theories taught in introductory theory courses. Despite the growing attention paid to teaching criminological theory, few, if any, discuss how to help students understand the more fundamental ontological question—what is “theory.” This article proposes an alternative pedagogical approach that draws upon students’ understanding of musical genres analogically to explain: (1) the historical development of the various theoretical approaches, (2) the historical, cultural and theoretical antecedents of the various approaches, and (3) how to identify the theoretical orientation(s) and influences in an unfamiliar text. Ultimately, this approach is intended to counter the overly compartmentalized and linear understanding of theory unintentionally brought on by the dynamics of teaching schedules, generic “theory” textbooks, computerized presentation software and testing methods”.

Full article link: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10511253.2012.665934

Forgetting the demented

The New York Times published recently an article on dementia care in prison in the US.  The get tough on everything policies and three-strikes sentences in states such as California, produced a steadily growing number of elderly prisoners whose medical costs skyrocket and whose medical needs are complicated by the fact that they are in a retributive prison system.  In reaction, they started a programme where some inmates are trained to care for other prisoners who are suffering from Dementia/Alzheimer’s and often can’t feed or bathe or otherwise take care of themselves: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/26/health/dealing-with-dementia-among-aging-criminals.html?_r=1

The Wire

The complete first season of HBO’s critically acclaimed show The Wire has been linked to in the video pageThe Wire chronicles the complex and gritty reality of crime in Baltimore, Maryland, USA.  Although obviously fictional The Wire has been heralded for its ability to dispatch with the artificial binaries [good and evil] preferred in most filmic representations of crime while capturing the raw humanity that blurs all boundaries…  Enjoy.

Dutch criminology prize for liftetime achievement awarded posthumously to Louk Hulsman

Louk Hulsman, a founding member of the Common Study Programme, was recently posthumously awarded the Willem Adriaan Bongerprijs award for lifetime achivement by the Dutch Society for Criminology during the annual NVK congress June 19th, at the University of Leiden, Holland. The prize consists of a re-publication of a selection of his work, that will appear on the memorial of his death in January 2010.  For more information about the award or Louk’s penal abolition activism please visit his website www.loukhulsman.org which is regularly updated and maintained by his daughter Jehanne Hulsman

The Imprisonment of Rev. Louis Barrios, PhD

For those who are not already aware of the case of the ‘SOA-6’, ‘School of the Americas-6’,  Rev. Louis Barrios, PhD Chair of the John Jay Latina/o Studies Program was sentenced to two months in federal prison along with five fellow protesters for ‘trespassing on Fort Benning military base in Georgia.  A short article by his colleague, co-author and close friend David Brotherton in the Guardian today helped to raise the profile of the case.

When my colleague Luis Barrios was sent to federal prison five weeks ago, after being convicted of trespassing – a “class B” misdemeanor typically warranting a fine, community service or short-term imprisonment in a county jail – during a protest at the infamous School of the Americas, I said to him: “At least you’ll be in Manhattan, at least you’ll be near family and friends.” “Yes,” he said, “but you never know what will happen. You can go in there for a month and come out in a year.”

For more information on Rev. Dr. Barrios and his fellow protesters please see the School of the Americas Watch page dedicated to their cases.  Included in their profiles are addresses where letters can be sent for them.