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Grant number: AQ-228608-15

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University of Wisconsin, Green Bay (Green Bay, WI 54311-7003)
Derek S Jeffreys (Project Director: August 2014 to present)

NEH Enduring Questions Course on Punishment

The development and teaching of a new seminar on the history, ethics, and representation of punishment.

What is punishment? How can we morally justify inflicting suffering on those who commit crimes? Exploring important philosophical texts and recent literary works, this interdisciplinary course will examine the meaning and moral justification of punishment. It will focus particularly on competing philosophical conceptions of punishment. Students will read texts from Plato, Kant, Bentham, Nietzsche and Foucault. The course will then use literary texts to investigate second-order questions about punishment. Drawing on recent novels from Latin and South America, we will consider the ethics of experimentation on prisoners, torture and the dynamics of life in jails. Throughout the course, students will be encouraged to think about punishment locally, nationally and internationally. Through discussions and written assignments, students will be asked to express and defend their ideas about meaning and moral justification of punishment.

Project fields:

Enduring Questions: Pilot Course Grants

Education Programs

Total amounts:
$21,438 (approved)
$20,392 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2015 – 5/31/2017