2020-2021 Catalog

AIP 312 Great Trials of the Century (UP)

This course will integrate material from psychology, history, political science and sociology to examine major shifts in psychological jurisprudence in the U.S. during the last century.  Through examining a series of high-profile trials, students will explore the role that psychological assessment and testimony has played in the operation of the American judicial system.  Important trials that will be examined include: Leopold and Loeb, Patricia Hearst, the Rosenbergs, The Central Park Five, the Unabomber and OJ Simpson. Students will examine not just the beliefs and opinions held by the psychological professionals charged with assessing the various people or assisting attorneys involved in these cases, but also the views of mental illness and criminal behavior that affected the perceptions of the general public in these periods.  The study of these issues will be complicated by a consideration of the cases within their historical contexts and the publically-held discourses that may have affected their outcomes or the judicial precedents set by them.  Thus, these cases and their specific issues will be read and interrogated against a broad backdrop that examines the history of American antisemitism, homophobia, xenophobia, racism and anti-communism.




WRIT 102 or WRIT 201