Michael Welch, Ph.D.
Secretary's telephone: (732) 445-7215
Office: Lucy Stone Hall B-259, Livingston Campus
Office Hours: Tuesday & Thursday 4:15pm to 5:00pm
PURPOSE OF THE COURSE:
Especially in the wake of 9/11 and the ensuing war on terror, public and scholarly dialogue over interrogation and torture has firmly taken hold. Among the more pressing issues are concerns over the collection of intelligence needed to avert future terrorist strikes. Still, a proper survey of interrogation methods benefits from a historical review of American detective work and how it departed from the "third degree" toward a more psychologically sophisticated set of techniques. The first segment of the course is devoted to those developments while concentrating on the legal and ethical issues surrounding interrogation. In the second part, discussion shifts to more recent revelations in the war on terror, including abusive interrogation, maltreatment, and torture. While attending to evidence of human rights violations by those who carry out (and those who order) such tactics, focus is turned to a theoretical examination of the emergence of modern torture. Among the concepts to be addressed are those pertaining to the so-called "science" of torture that rests on what Professor Welch calls American "pain-ology." In broader terms, the course concludes with a critique of the allure of science and specialized knowledge alongside the illusions of truth seeking. (See also Learning Goals listed below).
Leo, Richard (2008) Police Interrogation and American Justice. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Welch, Michael (2009) Torture in Crimes of Power & States of Impunity: The U.S. Response to Terror. New Brunswick, New Jersey & London: Rutgers University Press.
Welch, Michael (2009) American Pain-ology in the War on Terror: A Critique of Scientific Torture. Theoretical Criminology, 13(4): 451-474.
Welch, Michael (forthcoming) Illusions in Truth Seeking: The Perils of Interrogation and Torture in the War of Terror.
Kafka, Franz (1917) In the Penal Colony.
Feitlowitz, Marguerite (1998) A Lexicon of Terror: Argentina and the Legacies of Torture. New York: Oxford University Press.
EVALUATION OF STUDENT PERFORMANCE:
Two Exams: 100 points each
Two Written Reports: 50 points each
Total Semester Points: 300
Exams consist of 50 multiple-guess items (2 points each), covering both lecture (50% of test) and reading assignments (50% of test).
Both written reports involve an analysis of concepts as conveyed in films.
In the first assignment, students are instructed to view two films on reserve at the private screening rooms at the Media Center at the Kilmer Library: (1) Thin Blue Line (2) Capturing the Friedmans. Prepare a three page single-spaced commentary in which you select at least two ideas (or concepts) from the lectures or the required reading (Police Interrogation and American Justice) and discuss them in the context of the films. Bring your papers to class (do NOT email them to me) by March 11 (Thursday).
In the second assignment, students are instructed to view two films on reserve at the private screening rooms at the Media Center at the Kilmer Library: (1) In the Name of the Father (2) The Ghosts of Abu Ghraib. Prepare a three page single-spaced commentary in which you select at least two ideas (or concepts) from the lectures or the required reading (Police Interrogation and other articles on torture) and discuss them in the context of the films. Bring your papers to class (do NOT email them to me) by April 22 (Thursday).
There are NO extra-credit assignments.
90 - 100% A
87 - 89% B+
80 - 86% B
77 - 79% C+
70 - 76% C
60 - 69% D
00 - 59% F
Nota Bene: Tape recording lectures are strictly prohibited, along with note taking for commercial purposes.
IS THIS COURSE RIGHT FOR ME?
Students often enroll in a class without the benefit of knowing much about the course, the professor, and what is expected of them. In deciding whether this course suits your personal needs, interests, and lifestyle, the following checklist may be of assistance. Should you have difficulty with any of these items, this course is probably not suited for you.
Program in Criminal Justice, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, March 2008
Learning Goals: A Statement of Principles
The Program Committee for the Program in Criminal Justice at Rutgers University in New Brunswick has adopted a series of learning goals for students who complete the major. These goals represent the consensus of the faculty regarding the concepts a student should grasp and the skills a student should acquire in the course of completing the major. These goals guide the choices faculty make about the structure of the curriculum and the requirements for our majors. Moreover, they guide faculty and instructors preparing course material and teaching courses.
The Program in Criminal Justice will provide students with a rich understanding of crime and criminal justice in the United States and abroad through an interdisciplinary approach that blends a strong liberal arts educational experience with pre-professional instruction in the field of criminal justice. Graduates of the program will be well-informed citizens on the topic of crime and justice, and qualified for graduate study or for employment as practitioners in a variety of legal, policymaking, and law enforcement fields.
Criminal justice majors graduating from a research university should be able to use critical thinking, factual inquiry, and the scientific approach to solve problems related to individual and group behavior. In addition, students should have an understanding of the legal, political and policymaking processes that affect criminal justice systems in the United States and elsewhere in the world. Finally, students should be familiar with the institutional structures and latest developments in the field in order to engage in meaningful debate about current public policy issues.
Learning Goals for Criminal Justice Majors
Theory. Students who complete the major in criminal justice should understand and be able to articulate, both orally and in writing, the core theoretical concepts that form the foundation of analysis and research in criminology and criminal justice today. Core concepts are derived from explanations of crime from a variety of perspectives, including biogenic, psychological, and sociological approaches. There are myriad theories of crime that are informed by these perspectives, including, classical, control, critical, ecology, labeling, learning, strain, and trait-based approaches. Theoretical literacy should extend to multicultural and international understanding.
Institutions. Students who complete the major in criminal justice should understand the special role of three types of institutions: Police, Corrections, and Courts. In addition, students should know how institutional forms vary across jurisdictions and how these institutions interact with and influence each other.
Research Methods. Students who complete the criminal justice major should be familiar with the tools, techniques, and data sources necessary for empirical analysis. Students should understand the various ways that empirical analysis is used in the scientific approach: for description, for developing, and for testing theories. They should be able to analyze data using computer applications and should be familiar with basic statistical techniques and regression analysis. They should be able to read and assess research from a wide range of sources, including general interest, academic, and government publications.
Critical Thinking: Upon completion of the major students should be able to apply their understanding of core concepts and quantitative tools to analyze and research real world problems, and evaluate alternative policy proposals on a range of criminal justice issues, from micro-level analyses relevant to particular cases to management concerns to macro-level analyses of legislative and other broad-scale policies. Accomplishment of this goal will require that students can apply their literacy and numeracy skills to different institutional structures, within the U.S. and across countries.
Scholarship: Qualified majors should have an opportunity through such avenues as advanced coursework, internships, and faculty interactions to conduct independent research on matters of central relevance to the field of criminal justice.