Introduction to Criminology
All students in this course are required to write a 5 to 6 page paper (worth for a maximum total of 100 points or roughly 18 percent of your grade) in which they will choose from one of the two following options:
I. Analyze a movie:
Choose a movie that directly deals with the issue of crime/criminal behavior. Some good movies include: Menace to Society, The Accused, North Country, Murder in the First, Boys N the Hood, Shawshank Redemption, Scarface, Slumdog Millionaire, and Maria Full of Grace. However, I'm open to the hundreds of other possibilities that exist.
II. Analyze a news story on crime:
Locate a newspaper article on a criminal event from one the following sources: The Miami Herald, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Times, The Washington Post, or the Chicago Tribune. The article should not be older than two years of the due date. Make certain the article is about a criminal event and not the summary of previous criminal events. You will have to attach a copy of your article to your assignment when you turn it in.
Goal of the assignment
The central goal of this assignment (for either of the options noted above) is to draw from all pertinent course materials (criminological/sociological theories, concepts, and data) to analyze your chosen movie or crime news story. These should be essays-written in clear, coherent sentences (not outlines).
After addressing a brief summary of the plot of your movie or gist of your news article, your paper should address each of the following key questions/issues (not necessarily in this order):
(Please turn over)
1. Did the movie or news article take an individualist or structural/sociological approach in the way the crime/criminal was described/depicted?
2. What were the characteristics of the group or individual that perpetrated the crime/s (age, socio-economic status, racial/ethnic characteristics, gender, geographical location, etc)? Based on everything we've discussed in class, how/why might this be relevant to the story/plot? If you're analyzing a movie in which there are several crimes taking place, choose one to analyze.
3. What were the characteristics of the group or individual that were victimized (age, socio-economic status, racial/ethnic characteristics, gender, geographical location, etc). Based on everything we've discussed in class, how/why might this be relevant to the story/plot? If you're analyzing a movie where there are several cases of victimization, choose one to analyze.
4. What specific criminological/sociological theories were reflected or challenged by the movie/article you chose? You should address a minimum of two theories.