SOC 306 Spring 2013 Lessons of 'The Game': The Wire and American Culture

Cross Listed as AMST300, AFR300
The critically acclaimed television program, The Wire, ran for five seasons on Home Box Office (HBO) between 2002 and 2008. Set in "inner city" Baltimore, the program addressed a wide array of topics, including, but not limited to, the urban drug trade, law enforcement, local city politics, labor unions, education, and the newspaper industry. Though a work of "fiction," sociologist William Julius Wilson has called the show an important and instructive portrayal of the "deep inequality in inner-city America." By contrast, some scholars and critics have decried the series and indeed, courses like this one, as examples of mainstream America's fascination with and acceptance of African American drug use, criminal tendencies, and corruption. In this course, we will not deconstruct The Wire per se, but use select episodes from the series to explore key issues in Africana Studies, ranging from political geography to a history of Baltimore and the "War on Drugs." Students should have some familiarity with the show. Africana Studies will show select episodes during Winter Study. Readings will include texts about African American urban life, such as Elijah Anderson's Code of the Street and Sudhir Venkatesh's Gang Leader for a Day. Due to its attention to crime, drug addiction, violence, and urban decay, this course is a part of the Gaudino Danger Initiative.
Class Format: lecture
Requirements/Evaluation: evaluation will be based on 2-3 short papers (5-7 pages), and a final written project (10 pages)
Additional Info: not available to be taken Pass/Fail
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Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preference: none
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Divisional Attributes: Division II
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Enrollment Limit: 50
Expected Enrollment: 50
Class Number: 3277
CLASSES ATTR INSTRUCTORS TIMES CLASS NUMBER ENRL CONSENT
SOC306-01(S) LEC The Wire and American Culture Division 2: Social Studies James A. Manigault-Bryant
, Gretchen Long
M 7:00 PM-9:40 PM Schapiro Hall 129 3277
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