This course is a thematic study of the history of crime and its policing and prosecution in the United States from the 1870s to the 1920s. We will use newspapers in the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America collection to explore the incidence, definition, and policing of offenses such as murder, assault, rape, sodomy, arson, theft, counterfeiting, and gambling. To make sense of that evidence, we will analyse the history of how newspapers reported crime and how the criminal justice system developed. The major assignment is a digital project that examines a specific crime as it was reported in a particular time or place.
George Mason University, Spring 2021
PDF copy of syllabus