University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Sociology
Gender & Crime Syllabus
The largest demographic discrepancy for federal and state prisoners is across sex: 93 percent of all prisoners are men and 7 percent are women. In this course we will seek to understand the complexities of this sex discrepancy. At times this will seem like a course on women and crime (rather than gender and crime), as we will focus on crimes for which women are more likely to be offenders and victims. However, we will also be unpacking differences between men and women by examining crime through a gendered lens. In other words, how do cultural notions of masculinity and femininity shape victimization and offending, and vice versa? We will recognize the impossibility of examining gender as a single meaningful category. Individual experiences of offending and victimization are influenced by a matrix of gender, race, class, sexual orientation, nation, migration status, etc., and we will be cognizant of this intersectionality throughout the semester. This semester our topics include: historical and contemporary theories of female offending, the incarceration of young black men, gender and violence, gender and drugs, crime as work, sex work, differences in Uniform Crime Reports, violence against women, rape, neighborhoods, girls in gangs, and hate crimes. By the end of this course, we will not have a clear answer about why men offend more than women, but we will better understand the complexities of gender and crime.
What UMass students said about the course:
“Chris was one of the best instructors I have had. We had innovative assignments, received very in-depth feedback on our assignments, and could always reach her in person or via email.”
“I also learned a lot and felt comfortable in her classroom.”
“I learned more in this class than probably any other class and had fun doing it. Don’t change it!”