Spring 2023

America's Death Penalty

Listed in: Colloquia, as COLQ-234  |  Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought, as LJST-334


Austin D. Sarat (Section 01)


(Offered as COLQ 234 and LJST 334, Research Seminar) The United States, almost alone among constitutional democracies, retains death as a criminal punishment. It does so in the face of growing international pressure for abolition and of evidence that the system for deciding who lives and who dies is fraught with error. This seminar is designed to expose students to America's death penalty as a researchable subject. It will be organized to help students understand how research is framed in this area, analyze theories and approaches of death penalty researchers, and identify open questions and most promising lines of future research. It will focus on the following dimensions of America's death penalty: its history, current status, public support/opposition, the processing of capital cases in the criminal justice system, race and capital punishment, and its impact and efficacy. During the seminar, each student will develop a prospectus for a research project on America's death penalty. This course is part of a model of tutorials at Amherst designed to enable students to engage in substantive research with faculty in the humanities and humanistic social sciences.

Open to sophomores and juniors interested in research. Limited to 6 students. Spring semester. Professor Sarat.

How to handle overenrollment: Professor will seek a mix of academic backgrounds and knowledge

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: Written work, oral presentations, group work, research

COLQ 234 - LEC

Section 01
M 2:00 PM - 4:30 PM CLAR 100


Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022, Spring 2023, Spring 2025