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Syllabus - MURDER Sociology 275 T&Th 1:30-3:20 130 Kane I...

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MURDER Sociology 275 T&Th 1:30-3:20 Joseph G. Weis 130 Kane Spring 2009 I. COURSE CONTENT The course will introduce students to murder --the intentional, malicious killing of one human being by another. It is a contemporary topic, which generates public concern and fear, and about which there seems to be an intrinsic, perhaps even morbid, curiosity. Many, but certainly not all, of the characteristics and complexities of this very difficult-to-comprehend form of human behavior and its control will be examined in the course. The topics which will be addressed include: The history and laws of murder; information and data sources on murder; personal, social, and demographic attributes of victims and of their killers; salient features of murder incidents; important correlates of murder; the ecology or spatial distribution of various components of a murder incident; different types of murder, including domestic, serial, mass, sexual, juvenile, stranger, and felony-related murders; many of the theories of the causes of murder, particularly social psychological, social structural, cultural, social control, conflict, and routine activities perspectives; the investigation of homicides; profiling potential killers; deterrence and capital punishment; and the relationship between the murder rate and gun control. Those and related topics will be covered in readings, lectures, class projects, films, and/or by guest speakers. In addition to the lectures by the instructor on a variety of topics, there may be guest lectures by experts on different aspects of murder: They may include, for example, a representative of the Medical Examiner’s office, who will discuss the role of forensic pathology in identifying victims and the cause of death, and crime analysts from the Washington State Attorney General’s Office. The dates of guest lectures will be announced in class.
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