HIS logo HIS 390
Historical Controversy on the Web

Fall 2009 Semester Summary

What's New?


12/10: posted this page

Date Topics
Aug. 31 Introduction and syllabus.
Sept. 2 The Henry Louis Gates arrest. Types and quality of sources on crime.
Sept. 4 Definition of "justice" and "justice system."
Sept. 9 The constitutional basis for the justice system: Article 3 and amendments 4, 5, 6, 8, 14
Sept. 11 Using statistics to talk about race and justice: Perry's article on naval justice (G. Davis)
Sept. 14 More on using statistics: Thornberry's article on juvenile justice in Philaelphia
Sept. 16 More on using statistics: crime at West Chester University
Sept. 18 Justice and socio-economic class
Sept. 21 eview and summary of what we learned about statistics
Sept. 23 Review for first exam
Sept. 25 First exam
Sept. 28 The O.J. Simpson criminal trial
Sept. 30 Cole's analysis of the O.J. Simpson case; introduction of the concept of a two- tiered justice system based on race and/or socio-economic class.
Oct. 2 How does wealth affect one's experience with the justice system?
Oct. 5 Search and seizure. Definition of the "reasonable person standard"; Florida v. Bostick; the significance for individuals using public transport.
Oct. 7 More on search and seizure. Can individuals assert their right to refuse consent; pretext searches; quality of life policing; drug courier profiles.
Oct. 9 Challenges to the Fourth Amendment
Oct. 14 Powell v. Alabama (Scottsboro Boys)
Oct. 16 Right to an attorney and quality of legal representation; 6th amendment; Gideon v. Wainright
Oct. 19 Report on Miranda v. Arizona; 5th Amendment; protection against self-incrimination
Oct. 21 Report on the context behind Gideon v. Wainight.
Oct. 23 Background on Clarence E. Gideon; why test cases usually involve unsavory parties.
Oct. 26 Jury selection; definitions of jury roll, jury pool, grand jury and petit jury; Norris v. Alabama (1935); can the justice system address racism?
Oct. 28 Report on Strauder v. West Virginia; i.e. "race matters."
Oct. 30 West Chester & Philadelphia Railroad Co. v. Miles (1867); beginning of "separate but equal."
Nov. 2 Plessy v. Ferguson (1896).
Nov. 4 Report on Sacco & Vanzetti; public opinion and justice.
Nov. 6 Report on Emmett Till; public opinion and justice.
Nov. 9 Race and death sentence; Baldus study; McCletsky v. Kemp (1987); politicians "tough on crime"; "three strikes"; drug laws and whites.
Nov. 11 Zachariah Walker and the last lynching in Chester County; local justice versus outside interference.
Nov. 13 Race relations after World War II; desegregating the military, interstate transportation and baseball; Brown v. Board of Education (1954); Southern "massive resistance"; 1960s Civil Rights movement (NAACP v MLK v Black Panthers); effect of Vietname War.
Nov. 16 "U.S. Supreme Court rulings on the death penalty"; Furman v. Georgia (1972); Gregg v. Georgia.
Nov. 18 Report on U.S. Sentencing Commission; what is a crime "worth"?.
Nov. 20 Report on "3 strikes and you're out"; politics and justice.
Nov. 23 Rosa Ingram case; local resistance to outsiders; strategies for public pressure.
Nov. 30 Challenges to the system.
Dec. 2 Report on the Dept. of Justice investigation in Philadelphia.
Dec. 4 Evaluating the Supreme Court.
Dec. 7 The social costs of two-tiered justice system.
Dec. 9 Merit, patronage, race and socio-economic status.
Dec. 11 This summary.
Dec. 14 Review for exam.
Dec. 16 Last exam at 10:30am


Return to the HIS390 Syllabus or Jim Jones' web site list.