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COURSE NAME: "The Literature of Crime and Punishment"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2017

INSTRUCTOR: Lewis Samuel Klausner
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: MW 11:30-12:45 PM
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite: EN 110 with a grade of C or above
OFFICE HOURS: By appointment

This course explores the themes of crime and punishment in modern literature, with particular emphasis on the treatment of guilt (and the attendant concepts of legal and moral responsibility) as it is experienced by the individual consciousness of the perpetrator, of the accused, and in the relation between jailer and prisoner. Students in the course will see how literature, through its unique methods and concerns, is able to alert the reader to different understandings of the social, moral, ethical, and philosophical implications of what is only apparently a simple dichotomy between innocence and guilt, right and wrong, or good and evil. Each text or group of texts will be accompanied by an introductory definitional or theoretical reading from thinkers like Foucault, Benjamin, Arendt, and Nietzsche, that will serve not as an explicatory key, but as a guiding light in an exploration of the texts.
This course explores the themes of crime and punishment in modern literature, with particular emphasis on the treatment of guilt as it is experienced by the individual consciousness of the perpetrator Crime and Punishment, Perfume), of the accused (The Trial), and in the relation between jailer and prisoner (The Man in My Basement). Some of the questions we will address are: How does each text define what constitutes a crime? Is there any wiggle-room or are definitions clear-cut (i.e., is crime understood and defined in absolute or in relative terms)? Do any of the texts speak to how responsibility for criminal acts is (or should be) apportioned (divided) between the individual, society, and institutions? What specific form does punishment take in each novel, and how is the form of the punishment related to the structure of the text? Where does the authority to punish come from, in each case? Does it come from Force? Power? Law? Do the texts offer an explanation or a critique of the prevalent system determining crime and punishment? These and other questions will help us analyze the assigned authors and texts and understand their biases and motivations in dealing with problems of crime and punishment in the modern world.
Through a comparative analysis of the four assigned texts students will have developed further their ability to find correlations, contrasts and contradictions between different sources to help them form an autonomous and critical understanding of a particular topic, issue, or problem.

First Paper  20
Second Paper  20
Midterm  25
Final Exam  25
Class Participation  10

AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the course
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.

You cannot make-up a major exam (midterm or final) without the permission of the Dean’s Office. The Dean’s Office will grant such permission only when the absence was caused by a serious impediment, such as a documented illness, hospitalization or death in the immediate family (in which you must attend the funeral) or other situations of similar gravity. Absences due to other meaningful conflicts, such as job interviews, family celebrations, travel difficulties, student misunderstandings or personal convenience, will not be excused. Students who will be absent from a major exam must notify the Dean’s Office prior to that exam. Absences from class due to the observance of a religious holiday will normally be excused. Individual students who will have to miss class to observe a religious holiday should notify the instructor by the end of the Add/Drop period to make prior arrangements for making up any work that will be missed. The final exam period runs until ____________
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.


Week 1 Course Introduction

Week 1 "Punishment." Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (MyJCU)


Week 2 Crime and Punishment, 1-63 (Part One, Ch. 1-5)

Week 2 Crime and Punishment, 63-131 (Part One, Ch. 4 - Part Two, Ch. 3).


Week 3 Crime and Punishment, 131-193 (Part Two, Ch. 3 -  Part Two, Ch. 7)

Week 3 Crime and Punishment, 193-278 (Part Three).


Week 4 Crime and Punishment, 350-422 (Part Four, Ch. 6 - Part Five, Ch. 4)

Week 4 Crime and Punishment, 422-498 (Part Five, Ch. 5 - Part Six, Ch. 3).


Week 5 Crime and Punishment, 498-551 (Part Six, Ch. 7 - Epilogue)

Week 5 In-class: Dostoevsky elaboration. Email outline one hour before class.


Week 6 Perparatory readings: Justice.

Week 6 The Trial, 1-79 (Arrest; Conversation; Initial Inquiry; In the Empty Courtroom)


Week 7 The Trial, 80-110 (The Flogger; The Uncle - Leni)

Week 7 The Trial, 111-198 (Lawyer, Manufacturer; Block, The Merchant)


Week 8 The Trial, 199-231 (In the Cathedral; The End)

Week 8 In-class: Kafka elaboration. Email outline one hour before class.


Week 9 Perparatory readings:

Week 9 Perfume, 1-67 (Ch. 1-13)


Week 10              Perfume, 67-111 (Ch. 14-22)

Week 10              Perfume, 111-193 (Ch. 23-39)


Week 11              Perfume, 194-255 (Ch. 40-End)

Week 11              In-class: Suskind elaboration. Email outline one hour before class.


Week 12              Preparatory readings:

Week 12              The Man in My Basement, 1-88 (Ch. 1-10)


Week 13              The Man in My Basement, 88-137 (Ch. 11-15)

Week 13              The Man in My Basement, 138-208 (Ch. 16-24)


Week 14              The Man in My Basement, 208-249 (Ch. 24-End)

Week 14              Wrap-Up


Final Exam           Final Paper Due