Journalism 24, Section 1

Incarceration as drama: From the Big House (1930) to Orange is the New Black (2019) (1 unit, P/NP)

Professor William J. Drummond
Monday 3:00-4:00, 130 Dwinelle Hall, Class number: 29638

The seminar will explore society's shifting notions of prison life, as evidenced by movies and TV programs. The students will view each week an important piece of cinema or television. Each example will be a launching pad into a discussion of themes of race, class and gender; identity; criminal justice; incarceration per se; crime; deviance and social control.

The class will pay particular attention to contemporary portrayals of crime and punishment, including HBO's hit series, Orange Is The New Black, and the classic crime series The Wire, written by David Simon.

The viewing experience will be supplemented by readings, including Michelle Alexander’s study, “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.” I will post occasional other supplemental readings.

Instructor Bio

William J. Drummond joined the faculty in 1983 after a career in public radio and newspapers. He has worked as an adviser to the San Quentin News since 2011. In 2014 San Quentin News was awarded the James Madison Freedom of Information Award from the Society for Professional Journalists for its work in raising the public’s awareness about mass incarceration. From 1979 to 1983 Prof. Drummond worked in Washington for National Public Radio, where he was the first editor of Morning Edition before moving on to become National Security Correspondent. He has produced documentary-length radio programs on a wide range of subjects: Native Americans and welfare reform; jazz diva Betty Carter; Allensworth: the pioneering Negro colony in the California Central Valley; a profile of a psychiatrist whose specialty is interviewing serial killers; the early Jim Crow days in Las Vegas; an examination of why Americans are turned off by the political system; and a look at the tension between Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, as seen through the eyes of youth. His honors include a 1989 citation from the National Association of Black Journalists for "Outstanding Coverage of the Black Condition," the 1991 Jack R. Howard Award for Journalism Excellence, and a 1994 Excellence in Journalism Award from the Society of Professional Journalists' Northern California Chapter for an advanced reporting class experiment in civic journalism. He was a member of the planning committee that created the Public Radio International program The World.

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