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Crimcast is a virtual resource devoted to critical conversations about criminology and criminal justice issues. Our blogposts, twitter feeds, podcasts and other content provide an overview of trends, research, commentary and events of interest to criminal justice practitioners, academics and the general public. CrimCast is sponsored by The Center for Crime and Popular Culture, St. Francis College, Brooklyn, NY.

Filtering by Category: Academic Resources

Investigating Internet Crimes: An Interview with Cybercrime Expert Art Bowker

Nickie Phillips

geralt @ pixabay

Crimcast welcomes cybercrime specialist Art Bowker to discuss his new book, co-authored with Todd G. Shipley, titled Investigating Internet Crimes: An Introduction to Solving Crimes in Cyberspace. Bowker has nearly 30 years experience in law enforcement and corrections and has written extensively on cybercrime, law enforcement, and corrections. His last book, The Cybercrime Handbook for Community Corrections, (2012) was geared toward managing offenders, including offenders’ Internet use and participation in social media. The book was the first of its kind that focused on cybercrime, pretrial, probation, parole and community corrections.

In 2013,  Bowker was recognized by the American Probation and Parole Association (APPA) and the Federal Probation and Pretrial Officers Association (FPPOA), receiving the APPA's Sam Houston State University Award and the FPPOA's Richard F. Doyle Award,  National Line Officer of the Year and the Thomas E. Gahl, Line Officer of the Year Award (Great Lakes Region Award) the latter of which is named in honor of the only U.S. Probation Officer killed in the line of duty. These awards all centered on his contributions and efforts in managing cybercrime risk and promoting awareness and knowledge of cybercrime in the field of community corrections. Bowker continues to also write the top rated corrections blog, The Three C's (Computers, Crime and Corrections).

You have a background in law enforcement and corrections. How did you become interested in the study of cybercrime?

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First, let me thank you for providing me this opportunity to talk about cybercrime and our new book. My interest in cybercrime dates back to the late 1980’s.  I came to the realization that such crimes can have a greater negative societal impact (loss or harm) than many traditional offenses.  At that time cybercrime was really the purview of the technically sophisticated or those with access to the victim’s computer system.  However, that all changed with the development of “user friendly” technologies. Today, anyone can use the computer to commit crime.  Computers and more specifically, the Internet have really changed criminal behavior and how we deal with it.  Kids today, with a computer, can commit crimes that previously required one either being an adult and/or access to very expensive equipment.  We also have “traditional” offenders adapting computers and the Internet to commit both old and new crimes. The Internet also means that the criminal and their victims can be located anywhere and they don’t even have to have met in the “real” world. The ability to be anyone online and seemingly obtaining complete anonymity also makes these crimes even more challenging for investigators.   The increasing use of technology by sex offenders is also very troubling.

Additionally, these criminal behaviors are not static but continue to evolve as the technology changes.  Take social networking sites for instance. With their development we have really seen an increase in such crimes as Internet harassment offenses (cyberbullying and cyberstalking) and their negative effect on victims. The development of online gaming has also seen offenders going into virtual worlds to commit crimes.  The question is, are we seeing truly new crime or are old ones just evolving? How do we  (society and the criminal justice system) address these changes?  It is really fascinating and at times scary. 

There are numerous cybercrime and/or computer forensic books and texts out there.  How is thisbook different?

Let me start by saying that this book developed out of my association with my co-author Todd Shipley.  Todd has been at the forefront of Internet investigations and is an International expert in locating, collecting, preserving and documenting online evidence.  He also holds the U.S. patent, US 8417776 B2, for Online Evidence Collection. We initially meet when we were both International officers of the High Technology Crime Investigation Association (HTCIA).

During a weekend telephone conversation we both discussed and recognized a need for a resource specific to Internet investigations. Todd happened to have started a draft outline, which we built into our text.  From the start we wanted to provide to the investigative community a reference book that would help guide them in dealing with the growing issues of Internet related crime.  We heard the frustration with the lack of published material specific to Internet investigations, as opposed to the numerous computer forensic texts. This book was  intended to fill the void and provide  a focused approach to investigating, documenting and locating Internet criminals. We believe we hit the mark based upon the positive feedback from numerous law enforcement professionals, who believe our text should be required for all new investigators as well as their supervisors and managers.  We were recently pleased to hear from one law enforcement professional who read our book and reported that he had recently used the book’s material to successful work several criminal cases.  This is exactly what Todd and I wanted for our book!

The target audience of this book is Internet investigators. Do most police departments have investigators focused specifically on Internet crimes, or are these tools and skills something that all investigators should become familiar with?

Before I answer that, I think we have to consider the term  “Internet crimes” .  Most folks hear the term Internet crime, cybercrime, or computer crime, and think of computer intrusions, hacking, etc. However, criminal acts on the Internet are as varied as there are crimes to commit. Texts have been devoted to the investigation and prevention of computer intrusions and hacking. Our book's primary focus is to provide law enforcement with the basic skills to understand how to investigate traditional crimes committed on the Internet.

Many police departments have computer crime units, which focus on hacking,  intrusions, etc. and they may even include  a computer forensic examiner or two.  However, even in these department they can quickly become overwhelmed if every crime involving the Internet was handled exclusively by their unit.  Most small departments have little ability to respond to Internet based crime.

Many times these cases get sent to federal agencies for their attention, which may or may not follow up based upon the loss or harm involved.  The point is all crimes committed or facilitated through the Internet are too numerous to be solely addressed by specialized units and/or the federal agencies.

There is also an erroneously held belief by some in law enforcement that Internet crimes are not their problem, noting  “The Internet is not my Jurisdiction.”  This belief fails to recognize that victims and/or offenders may in fact be in their  jurisdiction. No police department should be ignoring Internet crimes effecting their community or criminals operating in their area, abet online.

Todd has a saying, which I fully support, “Make the Internet your regular beat.” We believe that all officers, from the patrolmen up to the chief, have to understand Internet crime and its investigative process.  We also believe that agencies must have an online presence to not only investigate these cases but show that they patrol and prevent them when possible.  In short, all law enforcement in the 21st Century needs to be able to address crimes with an Internet component.

I would also add that we believe civil investigators need to have the skills and knowledge our book covers as civil matters are increasing having an Internet component as well.

The book does a great job of breaking down complex concepts and technical jargon into a readable narrative. What advice would you give to investigators (or students) that are hesitant to invest time into learning about cybercrime because it seems “too technical?”

First, I think you have to dispense with the idea that anyone involved in law enforcement in the 21st Century, can just let crime involving computers and/or the Internet be left to someone else.  More and more evidence involves data found on computers or the Internet.  Even crimes that had nothing to do with the Internet leave online traces to witnesses and even evidence. Take the example of the Boston Marathon Bombings.   The bombing had nothing to do with the Internet. However, witnesses, photographs, etc. were obtained from Twitter traffic from individuals on the scene after the attack. These leads were eventually capitalized to correctly identify the suspects. Another example is the sex crime case that occurred in Steubenville Ohio. The crime itself had nothing to do with the Internet. However,  the social media traffic by witnesses and suspects no doubt  played a big rule in the investigative process of the crime. So you see it really is not a choice of whether they should invest time in developing these skill and knowledge. It will be a necessity if it isn’t already.

Okay, now for my advice for how one goes about gaining cybercrime knowledge.  It is really the same answer to the question of how one goes about eating an elephant.  You must do it one bite at a time and in more than one siting. The same applies to learning about cybercrime.  You take small steps; digest the information and then move on to the next topic.  I think our book is the first step in that process.  To be a modern investigator one doesn’t have to become a computer forensic examiner.  However, you do have to know where online evidence can be found, document it, collect it and preserve it.  Our book lays out that foundation as it pertains to Internet evidence.

What would you say is the single biggest challenge that investigators face when investigating cybercrimes?

Probably the biggest challenge is when criminals really understand how to be anonymous online and rigorously use the processes and techniques to conceal their identity. This is a challenge but as we have seen in the recent arrests involving Silk Road and other sites on Tor, even the so called “smartest” criminals make mistakes. Investigators have to be prepared to capitalize on those mistakes whenever and where ever they occur.

In the book, you devote sections to topics such as tracing IP addresses and gaining anonymity online. The information you provide is technically “public” knowledge but it is certainly not common knowledge. While writing the book, did you ever feel the danger of giving away too much information? That is, reporting information that may be exploited by cyber-criminals?

This is a very good question. You are right this information is readily available online. It really is no secret.  More and more criminals are aware of these techniques. If not, they do online research to find out how to do something.  The problem is that there are probably more bad guys than good guys that are aware of these techniques.  We hope our book tips the scales in favor of the giving the good guys the informational edge. However, there were a few times where we did leave out details concerning a sensitive high tech law enforcement technique that was not widely known.

You mention that police may use the Internet in a reactive (responding to crimes after they have occurred) as well as a proactive (efforts to prevent crime) manner. What are the most pressing legal/ethical issues with regard to proactive Internet investigations?

Agencies and their investigators have to do their job in a manner that enforces the law but does not violate their citizenry’s rights.   Some of the issues concern entrapment, privacy, and in the United States the Bill of Rights, such as freedom of speech, association.

To help make sure agencies are on right side of the legal and ethical issues, before doing proactive Internet investigations the following should occur: 1) have a policy governing the investigation of Internet crimes; 2) have a defined plan of the investigation before going online; 3) use a computer that if compromised will not allow for further compromise of the agency or company network; 4) obtain training for the investigation of Internet related crimes; and last 5) understand the changing legal landscape regarding the use of information you find on the Internet.

This is not just for the law enforcement agencies either. Corporate and private investigators also need to follow these principles.

Can you tell us what you are currently working on? Can we expect another cybercrime book from you in the near future?

Well, now I am keeping pretty business discussing the book and trying to get it the hands of law enforcement and investigative communities. Even so, I have some ideas, such as a book to help the general public minimize their cyberrisk and stay safe online. We will see.

And, finally, what the hell are bitcoins??

Ha Ha, good question. Bitcoin is a digital currency created in 2009 by a pseudonymous developer Satoshi Nakamoto. They are created by individuals using computers which create this cyptocurrency by solving mathematical equations. These equations verify and record all bitcoin transactions payments. In exchange for using their computer resources to run these equations individuals received transaction fees in the form of bitcoins. This process is called "mining." No one regulates the creation of bitcoins. It is all through the solving of these equations, which all record all bitocin transactions.  A set amount of bitcoins is to be created,  21 million bitcoins I believe, which is estimated to be reached by 2140.  Most bitcoins are obtained not by mining but by exchanging regular currency for bitcoins. They can also be converted back to regular currency for a fee.  Current exchange rate on February 4, 2014, was  1 Bitcoin = $803.99. The exchange rate is still rather volatile.

Bitcoins allow individuals to buy and sell goods without a third party entity, such as a bank or credit card processing company. Bitcoin owners are identified not by their name but ownership of a cryptographic keys. These keys make up the bitcoin wallet. This gives individuals a sense of anonymity, which criminals want, when dealing with illegal transactions.

Bitcoins have been used to purchase legal as well was as illegal goods. The Silk Road arrests noted earlier involved individuals allegedly selling drugs for bitcoins. Individuals also like bitcoins because there is no government controlling its value, such as by determining how many are in circulation at anyone time.

Besides being used for illegal transactions, bitcoins also can be a target for theft or fraud. Whether Bitcoins become fully accepted by the market place is still up in the air. The interesting thing again is technology has created a new currency, which can be used for good or criminal purposes.

Click here for our podcast featuring Art discussing his earlier book The Cybercrime Handbook for Community Corrections.

New Journal Explores Intersection of Health and Justice

Nickie Phillips

Medicine-and-Law-300x168

The graying of America's prison population, drug treatment programs in correctional settings, and the lack of social support for inmates re-entering society... these topics and more are the focus of the new journal Health & Justice, aimed at capturing the interaction between criminal justice systems and health services.  Edited by Faye S. Taxman of George Mason University and Lior Gideon of John Jay College of Criminal Justice, the journal, which already released its first articles online this year, reaches broadly, including researchers across many disciplines as well as justice practitioners and medical professionals working with justice-involved individuals. "Criminal justice populations are highly prevalent in public health problems that are not being addressed.  We feel that not to address them is an injustice," Gideon explained.

The journal looks forward to reviewing and publishing a variety of perspectives drawn from a wide range of methodologies.  "We like theoretical pieces, protocol studies, reviews of innovations in the field, evaluations of treatment programs, meta analyses, all kinds of work related to health and justice," Gideon told Crimcast.

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Click here to download the first open access articles from Health & Justice.

Click here to learn how you can submit a manuscript for review.

Punishment before Prisons: Lessons from Medieval Europe for Modern New Jersey

Nickie Phillips

Celia Chazelle teaches inmates in a New Jersey correctional facility (Photo credit: PrincetonInfo)

In this podcast, Celia Chazelle, editor of Why the Middle Ages Matter, and professor at the College of New Jersey, explores how medieval studies can be a means through which to understand the punitiveness of the American prison system.  We may no longer be putting people on the rack, but violent punishments are not quintessentially medieval either.  Physical violence is intrinsic to the prison system and massive social and economic inequality plagued medieval Europe as it does in the U.S. today. In an exploration of the over-incarceration of Camden, New Jersey residents, and the effects this has on families and communities in the most impoverished and violence-prone city in America, Chazelle puts forth an important argument about respect, honor, and punishment in the medieval past and in today's New Jersey.

[audio http://crimcast.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/punishment-before-prisons-11_23_13-7-34-pm.m4a]

This podcast is a recording of the lecture Chazelle presented on November 13, 2013, at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

Sculpting Doughboys: Militarism, Manhood, and Memorials of WWI

Nickie Phillips

Jennifer Wingate

Crimcast sat down with Dr. Jennifer Wingate, an assistant professor in the International Cultural Studies, Foreign Languages, Fine Arts department at St. Francis College. Dr. Wingate recently published Sculpting Doughboys: Memory, Gender, and Taste in America’s World War I Memorials (2013), a book that explores memorials and sculptures, or "doughboys," in the United States in the aftermath of World War I.

In your work, you mention that World War I memorials and sculptures often celebrated militaristic ideals in ways that overshadowed the tragedy of war. Can you give a brief example of what you mean by this?

Especially in the immediate aftermath of the First World War, sculptural memorials were triumphant and heroic, often featuring actively fighting soldiers rather than mournful or dying soldiers. The emphasis was on belligerent themes rather than on loss and suffering. Many communities erected simple honor rolls (lists of names of the dead), but those who went through the trouble of raising money to erect sculptures needed to satisfy many different constituencies, including veterans and their families. Even though only a small percentage of US WWI soldiers actually saw combat (compared with Civil War soldiers for example), civilians and veterans alike equated male citizenship and service with rifles and bayonets. It was important for public memorials to reinforce that ideal of unwavering heroism. In my book, I also argue that the fighting soldier stood as a symbol of protection and vigilance during the postwar red scare. One memorial designer in particular, who sold over a hundred copies of his fighting soldier, advertised his memorial design as a sign of anti-radicalism.

In the aftermath of World War I, in what ways did the heroism of the memorials and sculptures relate to the broader visual culture of the era? 

Fighting soldiers and fit, healthy, and strong veterans were everywhere in the visual culture of the era, from movies and advertisements to sheet music covers. The year 1919 was a time of economic and social upheaval.  Returning soldiers who survived the war and the flu epidemic, faced unemployment and serious racial tensions. Memorials featuring stoic and virile soldiers served as reassuring beacons of stability and familiarity.

In your book, you mention that the doughboy sculptures reveal more than just "simple commemorations of the sacrifices of U.S. troops," and offer insight into the public's notion of manhood and strength. In what ways were these characteristics rendered in the sculptures and what are the racial implications of these representations?

Sculpting Doughboys

As with the previously dedicated Civil War memorials, these soldier sculptures were intended to represent universal notions of manhood, and in the 1920s in the United States, that still meant white manhood. It had been very important for African American enlisted men to fight rather than serve exclusively in labor battalions. However, only those regiments who fought with the French escaped the worst discrimination during their service. There were efforts to erect memorials to honor African American soldiers, but most were never realized. Chicago and Philadelphia dedicated two notable exceptions. The history of the Bronzeville memorial in Chicago is interesting because the memorial did not feature a fighting soldier at first, but three bronze reliefs depicting an African American warrior standing with shield and sword and personifications of Motherhood and Columbia. Later, the artist added a freestanding sculpture of a fighting soldier in response to community dissatisfaction with the original design, which was perceived as too “passive.”

Sculptors often subscribed to pseudoscientific beliefs that equated physical type with race, class, and national character. Examples abound of sculptors striving to achieve the postwar ideal of “100% Americanism” by portraying “American” type soldiers and of critics lauding memorial designs for capturing the authentic “American” man.

In what ways were sculptors, specifically those that were inclined to produce anti-war or pacifist art, constrained in their work?

Sculptors who did not want to celebrate war and militarism in their memorial designs had a bit more flexibility starting around 1921, but even then any pacifist sentiment that they expressed had to be open-ended and subtle. Public art is an art of consensus, and the politics of the interwar period were too complicated to allow for stridently pacifist commemorative statements. There are exceptions, but for the most part, sculptors who were unwilling to compromise their anti-war statements, did not succeed in realizing public memorials. Interestingly, some of the most striking exceptions were women sculptors, who were already working at a disadvantage in the field of public military sculpture. Anna Coleman Ladd, who had worked in France during the war making tin masks for disfigured veterans, dedicated an unusually gruesome memorial featuring a skeleton hanging from the barbed wire of no-man’s-land. The memorial was dedicated in a cemetery, and so did not have the visibility of a more public memorial located in a town square or park. The American Legion Post that commissioned it specifically requested a memorial that represented “the truth about war.”

The collaboration between the Governor of Maine, Percival Baxter, and the sculptor, Bashka Paeff, proved even more fortuitous. Like Ladd, Paeff felt very strongly that memorials should not glorify war. Baxter, who chose Paeff’s design for the state of Maine, agreed that memorials should teach the lessons of war’s violence. Paeff’s bronze relief features a female allegory of Civilization shielding her baby from the destruction of war.  Exceedingly rare for a U.S. war memorial, it also depicts the bodies of two dead soldiers. By the time the memorial was complete, the new governor (Baxter’s successor) objected to the relief’s pacifism, and according to one journalist, the pacifist ideas “current among women.” Notions of “patriotic motherhood” were promoted in the visual culture of the war, and women who did not willingly give their sons to the nation could be accused of radicalism.

You primarily used the Smithsonian Institution Inventory of American Sculpture database and files and artists’ papers in the Archives of American Art. Can you tell us some of the challenges you faced in doing this kind of archival research? Do you have any recommendations for other researchers wishing to use these archives?

The Smithsonian Institution Research Information System (SIRIS) database is a good place to start, and it is continuously updated, but it’s important to try to go to local sources as well, like regional historical societies, and to artists’ papers, which typically include project files and correspondence with the memorial committee. The Smithsonian Inventory of American Sculpture also has files on public memorials throughout the country that were inventoried during a “Save Outdoor Sculpture!” survey in the 1990s. They contain photos, miscellaneous clippings, and related information. I was very lucky to have a fellowship at the Smithsonian, which gave me regular access to those files and photographs in DC. Also, many of the Smithsonian’s photographs are being digitized now, so it’s easier, teamed with online resources like Flickr, to actually see what these memorials look like. Even so, pretty much every source is incomplete. To put the story of a single memorial commission together, I usually needed to consult multiple sources. The Library of Congress has the papers of sculptor Daniel Chester French, for example, but the National Archives has the papers of the Fine Arts Commission, which was heavily involved with French’s projects and proposals for the capital as well as with those of sculptor Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney (whose papers are at the Archives of American Art).

Because many of the sculptors who made WWI memorials are lesser known than French and Whitney, I had to use a lot of papers that were never microfilmed (or digitized). In the case of the Boston-based artist Bashka Paeff, I tracked down her papers at the home of one of her nephews (with the help of a fellow art historian). The Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art recently acquired some of those papers, but when collections are broken up, challenges are raised for future researchers. Now Paeff’s papers presumably are well organized and more accessible, but some pertinent items are located at other repositories, like the Massachusetts College of Art and Design library in Boston. Projects like this require a lot of persistence and detective work. My advice would be, even in an era of increasing digitization, not to rely on databases, and to exhaust all possible sources. Even though regional newspapers can be searched in excellent databases at the Library of Congress, there’s still obviously a lot of value in browsing and reading papers on microfilm.  Another helpful source for me was the monument trade journal, The Monumental News. I used to read it at the Science, Industry, and Business branch of the New York Public Library, but now those volumes are located off-site and recently one volume that I was looking for was missing. Hopefully, before too many more go missing, they can be digitized for online access!

What projects are you currently working on? Can we expect more work from you on other war memorials? 

I think my work on memorials may be complete for the time being, though I remain committed to public art and to art that’s used, enjoyed, and viewed outside museums and galleries. Though I’m a museum junkie and I appreciate “art for art’s sake,” the “high/low” distinction has always been a thorn in my side. When I was l growing up, Norman Rockwell was my favorite artist, but the art establishment has only relatively recently accepted his work as embodying legitimate artistic concerns. I’ve been thinking a lot about “social practice” art for a class I’m teaching, Art of Social Change. What interests me about this art is that it raises so many questions about the definition of art and how one evaluates art that deals more with ethics than aesthetics. There’s something irritating about these conversations and that’s always the sign of a good new project.

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This is the third in a 5-part series appearing throughout 2013 focusing on the often game-changing discoveries that come out of archival work in the realm of criminology and criminal justice.

Graphic Justice Symposium 2013, London

Nickie Phillips

GraphicJustice clr

Graphic Justice: a one-day symposium on the intersection of comics and graphic fiction with the concerns of law and justice, to be held at St Mary’s University College, London on 11 September 2013.

With Anglophone comics, Francophone bandes dessinées, and Japanese manga, graphic fiction represents an expanding dimension of today’s global popular culture and is a richly innovative form of expression.

From the overt law and order focus of many mainstream superhero narratives and comics-inspired blockbuster movies, to the more nuanced examinations of the human condition in less mainstream graphic works; from copyright to the freedom of expression; from the blurring of text and image in the very medium itself to representations of law, justice, and legal systems on the surface of its pages: comics and graphic fiction are rife with themes relevant to law and justice.

Comics have been receiving an increased level of academic attention in recent years, with dedicated journals and conferences springing up around the world. Yet the significance of comics with respect to the concerns of law and justice has received little critical attention. As a development of existing disciplinary fields such as law and popular culture, law and literature, and legal aesthetics, graphic justice is a research alliance aimed at increasing engagement with this under-explored disciplinary crossover.

Go here

for more information.

British Society of Criminology Book Prize 2013

Nickie Phillips

British Society of Criminology Book Prize 2013

books

Congrats to the winners of the 2013 British Society of Criminology "Criminology Book Prize"!

The prize was awarded jointly to Deborah Drake for her book titled Prisons, Punishment and the Pursuit of Security and Coretta Phillips for her book titled The Multicultural Prison: Ethnicity, Masculinity, and Social Relations among Prisoners.

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We also would like to acknowledge that frequent Crimcast contributor, Demetra Pappas, was nominated and short-listed for the award this year for her book titled The Euthanasia/Assisted-Suicide Debate.

More information on the awards can be found here.

News of the Week: “Lingo”Race/The Oscars, Telecommuting, and Same-Sex Marriage

Nickie Phillips

This is our latest installment of Dr. Demetra M. Pappas' "News of the Week" in which she uses short topics as a teaching tool to stimulate conversation in her sociology, anthropology, criminology and legal studies course.

  1. DRAMATURGICY/NON-MATERIAL CULTURE/SOCIAL INTERPRETATIONS AND EVOLUTION OF LANGUAGE OR “LINGO”RACE/THE OSCARS:  In a follow up to the class viewing of Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, Christoph Waltz (who played the non-racist mentor and friend of Django, King Schultz) won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar. There was also discussion of the controversy about the Tarantino’s use of the N word.  What did you think of the use of the N word in the movie? Was it historically appropriate use of language as being in the antebellum South and a freed man? Should it have not been used (keep in mind, there was strong language throughout the film, and one student counted how many times she thought Sam Jackson, who has made a certain phrase his personal catch phrase, and she came up with 7 for a very short role in a time that that phrase was not used – indeed, Tarantino supposedly simply allowed Jackson to ad lib it in). Should the N word not have been used at all, because of contemporary social politics of the word? (PS AS YOU ALL KNOW, I BAN THIS WORD IN CLASS AS BEING A MAJOR PROFANITY AND RACIAL EPITHET, UNDER THE THEORY THAT WHOPPI GOLDBERG’S USE OF THE N WORD RESULTS IN A BLEEP AND A CLOUD, WHICH SHE IS VERY POLITICAL ABOUT, AS ARE MANY AFRICAN AMERICANS, IN BEING ALLOWED TO USE; THIS IS AS COMPARED TO THE B WORD WHICH IS NOT BANNED AS IT IS ALLOWED IN DAYTIME TV, AND ALSO DISCUSSED AT LENGTH BY THE VIEW PANEL ON A REGULAR BASIS, we can continue to discuss the politics of the shifting views of language toward not being allowed to use the first and becoming acceptable to use the second.
  2. TECHNOLOGY AND TELECOMMUTING/SOCIOLOGY OF WORK AND ORGANIZATIONS/SOCIAL INSTITUTIONS/GENDER (A/K/A IS THERE AN ISSUE ABOUT SEX OR NOT?)/FAMILIES:  The Yahoo CEO, a 37-year-old female mother (who PS went back to work last year two weeks after her child was born), Marissa Mayer has decreed no more telecommuting.  An irony of this, of course, is that yahoo and computer firms made telecommuting possible and a real opportunity for many workers.  The theory behind this return to brick and mortar is that a socially interactive work environment, with its hallway conversations and watercooler meetings, may be more generative of insight and creative productivity. Yahoo employees must either return to full-time brick or mortar working environment on the Yahoo campus or resign, as of June. A question raised is whether the ban (and it is a ban) or work from home is a direct hit to mothers raising families (I urge you to consider, what about fathers raising families?????). NOTE:  Mayer has had a nursery built next door to her office in the “Yahoo campus” – does this raise different issues of social inequality for you? On this morning’s NBC Today show (which I had on in the background while writing this very exercise from home!) Matt Lauer put a poll into the online field as to regarding viewers’ views (so to speak) about this.  What are YOUR views and why?
  3. FAMILIES/AMERICAN SOCIETY/GENDER AND SEXUALITY:  In a follow up to the class attendance of The Laramie Project II (10 year update after the murder of gay college student Matthew Sheppard in Wyoming, which prompted the hate crimes laws).  There is a US Supreme Court case coming up in March 2013.  From www.nyt.com today, “Brief Supporting Same-Sex Marriage Gets More Republican Support,” by Sheryl Gay Stolberg.:  She writes that, “more than two dozen Republicans — including a top adviser to Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee — have added their names to a legal brief urging the Supreme Court to declare that gay couples have a constitutional right to wed.” Read this again – they added their names to ALLOW for same sex marriage. Given the Boy Scouts week 1 discussion and the theater, how would you say the sociological imagination (especially in view of the three questions in the C. Wright Mills piece) has changed? What is the “personal trouble” of same sex couples who cannot get married? What is the “public issue”?

For more information on Dr. Pappas' pedagogical approach, see her article, "Creating an Antidote to Student Apathy: The News of the Week," in Teacher Scholar:  The Journal of the State Comprehensive University, Volume 3, Number 1 pp. 45-51.

News of the Week: Cultural Thinness, Race, and Django Unchained

Nickie Phillips

This is our latest installment of Dr. Demetra M. Pappas' "News of the Week" in which she uses short topics as a teaching tool to stimulate conversation in her sociology, anthropology, criminology and legal studies course.

  1. GENDER/FAT B****HES (AS OPPOSED TO OSCAR-WINNING ACTRESSES PHAT B****HES)/DEVIANCE/SOCIOLOGY OF MEDICINE/MEDIA/NON-MATERIAL CULTURE AND THE CULTURE OF THINNESS;  New York Observer film critic Rex Reed, reviewing the movie Identity Thief, called actress Melissa McCarthy “a female hippo” and “tractor sized” in an excoriating review of her work,  This has set off a storm in the Twittersphere and I note that McCarthy, who is Emmy nominated for her work in Mike and Molly a comedy about a fat couple) and Oscar nominated for her work in Bridesmaids is laughing all the way to the bank.  Question – would Reed have said these comments about a fat male actor (such as, say, John Goodman, of Roseanne fame, and this year’s Oscar nominated Argo)?  Note that the Hollywood community, ordinarily known for a culture of thinness, had attacked Rex and defended McCarthy.
  2. RACE/SOCIAL ORGANIZATIONS/RELIGION:  Unless you have been in a cave and not at SFC AND not watching news or surfing the net or reading papers, you know that Pope Benedict is retiring (the first such retiree in approximately 700 years).  Among the candidates for the next Pope is Ghana native, Peter Cardinal Turkson, who is black.  On yesterday’s “Hot Topics” segment of The View, Whoppi Goldberg (who is African American, just in case you don’t know that already), asked “What about a black Pope? We have a black President…”  (www.abc.com). PS In today’s issue of The Daily News, Christine Roberts and Corky Siemasko note that the Cardinal was nearly arrested for being in the upstate seminary after hours (where he was working and cleaning, not to suggest racial profiling…).
  3. RACE/DRAMATURGY/MEDIA:  Why did Frank Rich, writing for New York Magazine, February 11, 2013, say (indeed, in the cover story), “How Django Unchained Renewed My Faith in America (and Other Notes on the Oscar Race)?

For more information on Dr. Pappas' pedagogical approach, see her article, "Creating an Antidote to Student Apathy: The News of the Week," in Teacher Scholar:  The Journal of the State Comprehensive University, Volume 3, Number 1 pp. 45-51.

News of the Week: Superbowl, Security Training, and Kings and the Culture of Celebrity

Nickie Phillips

This is our latest installment of Dr. Demetra M. Pappas' "News of the Week" in which she uses short topics as a teaching tool to stimulate conversation in her sociology, anthropology, criminology and legal studies course. News of the Week - February 6, 2013 -

Choose 1 of the following topics to discuss.  You do not have to agree as to what you think about the topic (but do have to agree which topic to discuss). Assume that you have 10 minutes to talk to each other (at the front of the room).  I will moderate (in academese, this is called “chairing”).  The student body members will treat you with absolute courtesy and respect (or else get respect penalties, if they “diss” you).

  1. FOOTBALL AS SOCIALIZATION/MEDIA:   Usually, I have a discussion of teams, or, as with last year, MIA’s “flipping off” the audience during Madonna’s half-time presentation.  Here, everyone agrees Beyonce/Jennifer Hudson and the Sandy Hook school kids rocked the house.  What people don’t agree about is what the social impact (on the players, on the audience, etc.) of the “34 minute blackout” is. Check out the National Geographic piece online, Brad Scriber, for National Geographic News, published February 4, 2013. Why is this blackout (of one-half or one-side of the Superdome) so newsworthy?  PS There is a Hurricane Sandy tie-in.
  2. HOMELAND SECURITY TRAINING/SOCIOLOGICAL IMAGINATION/EDUCATION/GUNS:  This morning, on the 7AM half-hour of NBC’s Today show, was a presentation of a training exercise/video for “what to do in a school shooting” conducted in Modesto, California (I tried to google it, but it is not yet online). The exercise used teeanage actors as students.  NOTE:  The exercise was altered as a result of the Sandy Hook/Newtown massacre in December. (let us find out how…. perhaps to further the discussion when the unit comes up later in the semester).  Following the presentation, there was also discussion of a Homeland Security “active violence/workplace shooter” protocol (downloadable) pertaining to workplace shootings.  Matt Lauer (the moderator/anchor) noted that there have been over 180 gun massacres since the 1999 Columbine school shooting.  Why are gun crimes of such magnitude a “new normal”? What social factors may have come into play?
  3. SOCIOLOGY OF DEATH/KINGS AND THE CULTURE OF CELEBRITY:  ED KOCH AND KING RICHARDABILITY AND DISABILITY .  Former 3-term New York Mayor Ed Koch died this past week, and his funeral was broadcast Monday (pre-empting all other television, which would have pleased him almost as much as – according to one of the eulogies – his death took place around the same time as the release of a documentary about him).  In other news, this past week, the remains of Richard III, who died in 1485 (and about whom Shakespeare wrote a play) were allegedly discovered to be authentic after they were unearthed from under a parking lot in Leicester, England (ruined friary) .  Which is more newsworthy?

For more information on Dr. Pappas' pedagogical approach, see her article, "Creating an Antidote to Student Apathy: The News of the Week," in Teacher Scholar:  The Journal of the State Comprehensive University, Volume 3, Number 1 pp. 45-51.

Criminal Justice in the Arts Podcast featuring Michael Bush

Nickie Phillips

Michael Bush

In this episode Michael Bush, assistant professor of criminal justice at Northern Kentucky University, joins us to discuss incorporating art and popular culture as pedagogical tools into the criminal justice curriculum.

References

Bush, M. D. (2012). “Criminal justice in the arts: An exploration into creative criminal justice pedagogy.” Presented at the International Crime, Media, and Popular Culture Studies Conference at Indiana State University.

Burke, A. S. and Bush, M. D. (2012). “Service learning and criminal justice: An exploratory study of student perceptions.” Educational Review.

Dodson, K. D., Bush, M. D. & Braswell, M. (2012). “Teaching peacemaking in criminal justice: Experiential applications.” The Journal of Criminal Justice Education.

Kappeler, V. & Potter, G. (2004). Mythology of Crime and Criminal Justice. Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press.

Messner, S. & Rosenfeld, R. (2006). Crime and the American Dream. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Random Superhero Generator

Further Listening:

Johnny Cash

Tracey Chapman

Clinton Clegg & the Backstabbing Good People

 

 

Teaching The Wire

Nickie Phillips

The September 2012 issue of Journal of Criminal Justice Education features an article by Ralph Taylor and Jillian Eidson on integrating The Wire into criminology courses. The article includes sample writing assignments and student reactions to the material. 

The abstract:

“A challenge in any undergraduate communities and crime course is helping students understand how macro-level context affects the lives of individuals. This article describes one approach based on three characters in Season 2 (“The Port”) of “The Wire.” A multi-layered framework is outlined which prominently features William Julius Wilson's unemployment thesis. Data sources for illustrating how different parts of the model apply to the surrounding region and neighborhoods close to the port are noted. The narrative arcs for three central characters in Season 2 are described and each is connected to Wilson's thesis. Even though in-class screening time was limited, students' written work and questionnaire responses suggested that the material clarified key concepts. The approach described here is just one approach of the many which are feasible for a macro-level communities and crime course, or for integrating “The Wire” into criminal justice or criminology courses.”

For more about teaching The Wire, check out our podcast, “All the Pieces Matter: Teaching The Wire to Criminology Students” featuring Vik Gumbhir here.

Taylor and Eidson's article, “The Wire,” William Julius Wilson, and the Three Sobotkas: Conceptually Integrating ‘Season 2: The Port’ into a Macro-Level Undergraduate Communities and Crime Course.” can be found here.

"All the Pieces Matter:" Teaching The Wire to Criminology Students

Nickie Phillips

Vikas Gumbhir, Associate Professor at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, speaks to us about using the David Simon-created HBO hit TV series The Wire as a criminological teaching tool.

Alvarez, R. (2004). The Wire: Truth be told. New York, NY: Pocket Books.

Anderson, E. (1994). The code of the street. The Atlantic Monthly. http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1994/05/the-code-of-the-streets/6601/

Moskos, P. (2008). Cop in the hood: My year policing Baltimore's Eastern District. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Reiman, J. & P. Leighton (2009).  The rich get richer and the poor get prison [9th ed.].  Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Simon, D. (1992). Homicide: A year on the killing streets.  New York, NY: MacMillan.

Venkatesh, S.A. (2002). American project: The rise and fall of the modern ghetto.  Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Wilson, W.J. (1997).  When work disappears: The world of the new urban poor.  New York, NY: Vintage Books.