The Cultural Life of Capital Punishment (Spr) (L4091B)

30 credits, Level 6

Spring teaching

This module will incorporate sociological, criminological, socio-legal and cultural approaches in order to study capital punishment. Primarily, it will involve you engaging with a 'cultures of punishment' perspective on the death penalty, drawing on capital punishment scholars such as David Garland (2010), Austin Sarat (2001) and Franklin Zimring (2003). This perspective emphasises the need to understand the symbolic meanings generated by punishment and how these relate to social change. The module will involve studying capital punishment in its historical and contemporary contexts. After establishing this theoretical framework the module will take a broadly chronological approach from the 19th century to the present and will address the following topics: spectacle and public execution; the campaign to end public executions; mid 20th century abolitionism; public views on capital punishment in England; American reinstatement of the death penalty; cultural portrayals of capital punishment; women and the death penalty; 'new abolitionism' and the innocence movement in the United States; European cosmopolitan identity and the campaign for worldwide abolition; current use of the death penalty worldwide with a particular focus on Singapore, Japan and China. The focus will largely be on European countries and the United States, although the final topic will introduce a wider international dimension.

Teaching

33%: Lecture
67%: Seminar

Assessment

100%: Coursework (Essay)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 300 hours of work. This breaks down into about 33 hours of contact time and about 267 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2022/23. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to COVID-19, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.

Courses

This module is offered on the following courses: