Criminology Syllabus



I.Crime, Criminal Law, and Epidemiology


Introduction to the Course


The Nature of Crime and Criminal Law


Winfree and Abadinsky, Understanding Crime: Theory and Practice, chapter 1,pp. 16-21. See especially sections on Human Nature, Government, and Public Policy, and the section on The Nature of Laws and Crimes.


Criminal Justice Timeline on Wadsworth Criminal Justice Website


Siegel, Criminology, chapters 1 and 2.These chapters are not required, but serve as good references for the origins, types, definitions of crime and of the behavior that constitutes crime.


The Salem Witch Trials


The Epidemiology of Crime and Extent of Victimization by Crime


Researching Crime; The distribution of crime in time, space, and social structure

Bureau of Justice Statistics website (

Compare Uniform Crime Reports and National Crime Victimization Survey.Study crime trends on the BJS Website.

Take notes and write out and be prepared to discuss crime trends, and patterns of victimization and offending.



II. Theories of Crime


Winfree and Abadinsky, ch. 1, Theory and the Study of Crime


Deterrence and Opportunity Theories of Crime

Winfree and Abadinsky, ch. 2

Outline theories of crime





Biological and Psychological Theories of Crime



Biological theories

Winfree and Abadinsky,ch. 3, 64-66, 68-75, 91-97


Early Biological Theories. How do Social Darwinism, Lombrosoís genetic throwbacks, and Sheldonís somatotypes explain crime?

Chemicals and human behavior. In what ways do chemicals affect human actions?What are the possibilities and limitations of chemicals for understanding criminal behavior? How are drugs and alcohol related or not related to crime?



Psychological Functioning and Crime

Winfree and Abadinsky, ch. 4, pp. 98-104; 112-113


What is the difference between psychiatry and psychology?What are psychoses and neuroses?

Freudís psychoanalytic theory.What is the importance of the unconscious, stages of development, and unresolved conflicts at earlier stages; What are Freudís components of personality?What are the functions of the id, the ego, and the superego?How does the development and functioning of the superego help to explain crime and deviance?What are defense mechanisms?What do denial, displacement, repression, reaction formation, projection, and sublimation do to help the individual adapt to the blockage of psychic drives?

Ellisís arousal theory.How do Ellisís arousal theory and other arousal researchers account for crime?

Personality tests. What are the uses and limitations of personality tests?How are they used in criminal justice?



Psychological Learning and Developmental Theories

Winfree and Abadinsky, ch. 5, pp. 136-143;


Intelligence and Crime. What are the most likely explanations of the relationship between low intelligence, crime, and incarceration?

Behaviorism and Learning Theory.

What is operant conditioning? How does it explain crime and deviance?

Cognitive learning theory.

What does cognitive behavior theory add to learning theories of crime?

What is Rotterís expectancy theory, and how does it explain crime?

Psychological Modeling Theory. How does Banduraís observational learning/modeling theory account for aggression?

Behaviorism and Policy.What are the current uses and implications of behaviorism for public policy and for criminal justice practices?


Social Process Learning Theories of Crime



Sutherlandís Differential Association Theory. (M Oct. 6, W Oct.8)

Winfree and Abadinsky, ch. 7, pp. 191-195


In what historical/intellectual context did Sutherland first propose his theory of crime?

What are the key principles that he mapped out in his differential association theory?What is learned and how is it learned?How do definitions of the situation as favorable or unfavorable to crime come about? What are some examples of differential techniques, attitudes, and motives?What difference do frequency, duration, priority, and intensity make?


What is Glaserís main question about Sutherlandís differential association theory?What does Glaserís differential anticipation (differential identification/differential expectations) theory add to Sutherlandís differential association theory of crime?What are three sources of expectations for gratification or and expectations of unfavorable outcomes arise?


Akersís Social Learning Theory(W Oct. 8)

Winfree and Abadinsky, ch. 7, pp. 195-204


What does Akers add to Sutherlandís differential association theory?

What, according to Akers, is instrumental conditioning?

How does learning take place, or how does Akers explain the effects of (1) imitation/modeling and (2) differential reinforcement?

What is the learned, or what is the content or the content of learning, according to Akers?

How do an individualís personal definitions evolve and change?

What is the importance of feedback?


Film:Boyz N the Hood (F Oct. 10)

Which theories and ideas of the course best explain the situations and events in the film?What examples of theories and course materials are shown in the characters, story, neighborhood, lives, relationships, problems, and situations in the film?


Social Structure/Social Organization Theories of Crime


Ecological Theories (M Oct. 13)

Winfree and Abadinsky, pp. 154-159; 161 (Macro- Level Studies) to 164.


Shaw and McKayís Studies of Chicago. How did Shaw and McKay study delinquency in Chicago?What was their social disorganization theory of crime?How did they describe the neighborhoods and their effects on the lives of the people who lived there?What are recent ecological theories of neighborhoods?What did Williams Julius Wilson find?


Crime and Social Structure (W, F, M Oct. 15, 17, 20)