SOCY 3044 Race, Class, Gender, and Crime

Instructor Contact:

Bertha Alicia Bermúdez Tapia, PHD Candidate


About the Course:

This course focuses on issues of race, class, and gender regarding crime in the United States. We address how racism, classism, genderism/sexism, and other forms of bias and discrimination operate and intersect in the criminal legal system. The course is designed to give the student a solid understanding of some of the flaws in the current criminal legal system, and the raced, classed, and gendered aspects of processing acts that have been deemed as crimes, including the punishment of persons charged with offenses and the responses to victims.


By the end of the course you should be able to:

  • Describe and critically engage with basic mechanisms of inequality within the criminal justice system.
  • Understand the ways in which race, gender, and class affect the application of (in)justice.
  • Understand the role of prisons as industry and as an agent of social control.
  • Be able to situate the historical roots of the contemporary carceral state and the persisting inequalities.
  • Understand the power of the media and ideology in the construction of criminals.
  • Develop critical creative tools to envision justice beyond the current hegemonic narrativ

Required Texts:

  1. Class, Race, Gender, Crime: The Social Realities of Justice in America (5th edition) (Authors: Barak, Leighton & Cotton) (Rowman & Littlefield) (ISBN # 978-1-4422-6885-2)
  2. In Search of Safety: Confronting Inequality in Women’s Imprisonment (Authors: Owen, Wells & Pollock) (University of California Press) (ISBN # 978-0-520-28872-0)
  3. Locked In: The True Causes of Mass Incarceration and How to Achieve Real Reform (Author: Pfaff) (ISBN # 978-0-465-09691-6)
  4. Race, Crime, and Justice: The Continuing American Dilemma (Keynotes in Criminology and Criminal Justice Series) (Author: Barkan) (Oxford University Press) (ISBN # 978-0-19-027254-8)


Your final grade is based on course requirements above, with point distributions

Assignment Percentage Notes
Discussions and responses  



Ten weekly discussion posts. Each of the ten posts is worth 9 points, so the posts are worth 90 points total.

The weekly responses are worth 1 points per week, for a total of 10 points total throughout the semester.

Midterm Exam 20%
Final Exam 20%
Book analysis 25%
Total 100%



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Monday – Friday
8:00am to 5:00pm


We are located at the corner of University Avenue and 15th Street in a white brick building.


1505 University Avenue
University of Colorado Boulder
178 UCB
Boulder, Colorado