Culture and the Police

Winter 2016-2017


Chris Taylor

How do cultural products facilitate, abet, and enable the form of social ordering that we call policing? This course will explore the policing function of what modernity calls “culture” by exploring the parallel histories of policing, the emergence of modern police theory, and the rise of the novel. We will focus in particular on how both literature and the police emerge to navigate a series of linked epistemological and political problematics: the relation between particularity and abstraction, the relation between deviance and normalcy, and indeed that of authority as such. While we will focus on texts from the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Atlantic world, students with a broader interest in policing are encouraged to enroll. Readings will include Daniel Defoe, Patrick Colquhoun, Henry Fielding, G.W.F. Hegel, Jane Austen, Louis Althusser, Michel Foucault, D.A. Miller, Michael McKeon, Mary Poovey, and Mark Neocleous. (B, F, H)