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Christine L. Williams, Chair CLA 3.306, Mailcode A1700, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-232-6300

David Kirk

Ph.D., University of Chicago

Associate Professor
David Kirk

Contact

Biography

David S. Kirk (Ph.D., Sociology, University of Chicago) is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and a Faculty Research Associate of the Population Research Center at The University of Texas at Austin.  Kirk's research agenda is primarily organized around three inter-related themes: first, the legitimacy of the law and the effects of illegitimacy on crime and the willingness of residents to cooperate with the police; second, the effect of neighborhood culture and conditions on criminal and delinquent behavior; and third, prisoner reentry and the consequences of housing and parole policies for offender reintegration. One recent study examined the detrimental consequences of punitive enforcement of immigration laws on public cooperation with the police in immigrant communities.  Kirk's recent research has appeared in American Journal of Sociology, American Sociological ReviewCriminology, and The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science.

 CV

 

Scholars Strategy Network: http://www.scholarsstrategynetwork.org/scholar-profile/212

Social Science Research Network: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/cf_dev/AbsByAuth.cfm?per_id=611489

UT Opportunity Forum: http://www.utexas.edu/law/centers/opportunity-forum/

UT Population Research Center: http://www.utexas.edu/cola/centers/prc/

SOC 308 • Critical Issues In Policing

46085 • Fall 2014
Meets MWF 900am-1000am CLA 0.102
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Description

Though most of us cannot imagine society without an organized police force, policing is a relatively modern phenomenon in the United States.  Like other social institutions, policing has experienced significant reforms in purposes and powers over time.  Many of these reform efforts have been implemented in hopes of reducing police abuse of power and corruption, forging positive relationships with the larger community, and improving crime prevention/detection.  In this course we will first consider the purposes and structure of policing and the shifting roles and powers of police officers.  Next we will consider several critical issues in modern day policing, focused on the effectiveness of various police strategies as well as their legitimacy.  Finally, we will consider limits on the ability of the police to control crime, and the ways in which individuals and communities work to police themselves.

Required Texts

Moskos, Peter. 2008. Cop in the Hood: My Year Policing Baltimore’s Eastern District. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Weisburd, David and Anthony A. Braga (eds.). 2006. Police Innovation: Contrasting Perspectives. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Proposed Grading Policy

Exams and Quizzes (100%)

SOC F321K • Demography Crime & Punishment

87830 • Summer 2014
Meets MTWTHF 1000am-1130am CLA 0.120
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Restrcited to students in the REU Summer Program

Description

The focus of this course is the study of racial and ethnic differences in crime and punishment. More than 60% of the prison population is comprised of racial and ethnic minorities. This course will examine the leading factors producing the racial disparity in incarceration, focusing on differences in criminal offending across groups as well as differences in treatment by the criminal justice system. Because the course is styled as an intensive seminar, participation is an integral aspect of the course: students are expected to come prepared to every class to ask insightful questions and provide thoughtful analysis of the readings assigned for that class.  In addition, two times throughout the course, each student will submit a 1-2 page response paper on the assigned reading and then act as a discussion leader for that class. Finally, students will complete weekly homework assignments that fulfill the other primary goal of the course: to develop an understanding of how to process, analyze, and interpret empirical data regarding crime.  This is accomplished through exercises that focus on techniques of data analysis using a statistical analysis package, which is applied to datasets provided by Dr. Kirk or obtained from the Bureau of Justice Statistics and other sources. In contrast to other criminology courses offered by the Department of Sociology, this course emphasizes a hands-on research application into the study of racial-ethnic differences in crime and punishment.

Required Texts

Alexander, Michelle. 2010. The New Jim Crow. The New Press.

Journal articles will also be used.

Proposed Grading Policy

Participation and Debates (30%) Lab Homework (40%)

Annotated Bibliography and Abstract for Research Paper (30%)

SOC 308 • Critical Issues In Policing

46274 • Spring 2014
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm WAG 201
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Description

Though most of us cannot imagine society without an organized police force, policing is a relatively modern phenomenon in the United States.  Like other social institutions, policing has experienced significant reforms in purposes and powers over time.  Many of these reform efforts have been implemented in hopes of reducing police abuse of power and corruption, forging positive relationships with the larger community, and improving crime prevention/detection.  In this course we will first consider the purposes and structure of policing and the shifting roles and powers of police officers.  Next we will consider several critical issues in modern day policing, including police misconduct and racial profiling.  Finally, we will consider limits on the ability of the police to control crime, and the ways in which individuals and communities work to police themselves.

Required Texts

Alpert, Geoffrey P., Roger G. Dunham, and Meghan S. Stroshine. 2006. Policing: Continuity and Change. Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press.

Moskos, Peter. 2008. Cop in the Hood: My Year Policing Baltimore’s Eastern District. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Proposed Grading Policy

Exams (90%) Writing Assignments (10%)

SOC 321K • Demography: Crime & Punishment

46379 • Spring 2014
Meets TTH 930am-1100am JES A215A
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Description

This class will examine the causes and consequences of the vast racial and ethnic disparities in crime and punishment in the United States. It will cover conceptual issues surrounding the study of racial and ethnic differences in crime and punishment, with a particular focus on understanding how the distinct neighborhood contexts in which different racial and ethnic groups participate explain variations in criminal outcomes (e.g., offending, arrest, and incarceration). Additional attention will be given to the role of the criminal justice system in producing and eliminating disparities in criminal justice outcomes.  

Required Texts

 Alexander, Michelle. 2010. The New Jim Crow. The New Press.

 Western, Bruce. 2006. Punishment and Inequality in America. New York: Russell Sage.

Proposed Grading Policy

Exams (80%) Writing Assignments (20%)

SOC F321K • Demography Crime & Punishment

88143 • Summer 2013
Meets MTWTHF 1000am-1130am CLA 3.106
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Descripton:

 

This class will cover data sources and conceptual and measurement issues surrounding the study of racial and ethnic differences in crime and punishment, with a particular focus on understanding how the distinct neighborhood and school contexts in which different racial and ethnic groups participate explain variations in criminal outcomes (e.g., offending, arrest, and incarceration). Additional attention will be given to the role of the criminal justice system in producing and eliminating disparities in criminal justice outcomes. 

SOC 366 • Deviance

46190 • Spring 2011
Meets TTH 930am-1100am BUR 216
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Course Description

Social deviance is an important and contested concept in the discipline of sociology. While deviants, by definition, exist on the margins of society, there is much that can be learned in these margins about how our society functions. Through the study of deviance and deviants, sociologists have sought to address a broad range of complex questions about how human societies operate, including: How is social order maintained?, Who has social power and how is this social power used?, How do individuals negotiate their identities?, etc. In this course, we will address these larger questions through the consideration of various forms of deviant behavior (including alcohol and drug use, crime, sexual and physical deviance). We will consider theories that attempt to make sense of deviance in our society, the variation of deviant definitions across time and space, how social power is used to shape notions of deviance and how these notions become translated into practices that impact the lives of those dubbed as deviant, and, finally, how those defined as deviant negotiate their deviant identity.

Grading Policy

Three exams worth 100 points each 
4 short reports worth 25 points each
Participation/Attendance worth 50 points
Total points available: 450

Texts

Constructions of Deviance: Social Power, Context and Interaction, edited by Patricia Adler and Peter Adler, 2009, 6th edition
Erich Goode, Deviance in Everyday Life, 2002
Additional articles may be assigned and will be made available on Blackboard
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SOC 396N • Theories Of Crime Causation

46655 • Spring 2010
Meets T 300pm-600pm BUR 480
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THEORIES OF CRIME CAUSATION

SOCIOLOGY 396N

Spring 2010

Burdine 480

Tuesdays 3:00-6:00

 

Instructor:                   Professor David Kirk             

Burdine 478

512-471-0192

dkirk@prc.utexas.edu

 

Office Hours:              By Appointment

 

 

I. Rationale: 

What (if anything) motivates an individual to commit acts of crime? Conversely, why do people obey the law? Why do some individuals break the law even if they agree with the substance of the law? Questions such as these have bedeviled social thinkers for centuries. This course seeks to engage students in a thoughtful, in-depth examination of these questions, focusing attention on the major sociological theories of crime causation.

 

 

II. Format and Procedures: 

This course is organized as a seminar, with some lecture integrated with considerable discussion of readings and ideas. In my opinion, the best way to develop an understanding of the material covered in the course is to read it carefully and thoughtfully, and then to discuss it and write about it.  Therefore, emphasis will be placed on class participation and critically written work on the topics covered in the class. Students are expected to read and contemplate the required readings prior to each class session. Any questions you may have about reading materials should be brought up during class time to facilitate discussion.

The major requirements for the course are participation in class discussions (20%), a 15 page paper due April 20th (20%), a mid-term exam (30%), and a non-cumulative final exam (30%). As part of the class participation requirement, students will take turns leading seminar discussions. Depending on the number of students in the class, each student will lead the discussion probably twice in the semester. Discussion leaders will (1) briefly review the assigned readings; (2) prepare discussion questions about key points to elicit participation from the rest of the class; and (3) moderate the ensuing discussion. It is expected that discussion leaders will have a firm command of the material when leading class discussion, and therefore may find it highly advantageous to undertake additional (i.e., non-assigned) readings in preparation for the class. If you would like additional readings, please ask.

 

More information on assignments will be provided in class. Grades will be determined as follows: 

(A) (90-100%)                                                 (D) (60-69%)

(B) (80-89%)                                                   (F) (below 60%)

(C) (70-79%)

 

III. Required Course Books (see that last page of the syllabus for a list of assigned journal articles, available in print or electronically through the library):   

 

Gottfredson, Michael, and Travis Hirschi. 1990. A General Theory of Crime. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

 

Sampson, Robert J., and John H. Laub. 1993. Crime in the Making: Pathways and Turning Points Through Life. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

 

Shaw, Clifford R. 1930. The Jack-Roller: A Delinquent Boy's Own Story. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

 

Tyler, Tom. 2006. Why People Obey the Law. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

 

Venkatesh, Sudhir Alladi. 2008. Gang Leader for a Day. New York: Penguin Press.

 

Warr, Mark. 2002. Companions in Crime: The Social Aspects of Criminal Conduct. New York: Cambridge University Press.

 

 

Strongly Recommended

Wallace, Walter L. 1971. The Logic of Science in Sociology. New York: Aldine. Available at the PCL.

 

 

 

IV. Academic Integrity

 

University of Texas Honor Code

The core values of The University of Texas at Austin are learning, discovery, freedom, leadership, individual opportunity, and responsibility. Each member of the university is expected to uphold these values through integrity, honesty, trust, fairness, and respect toward peers and community.

 

Each student in this course is expected to abide by the University of Texas Honor Code. Any work submitted by a student in this course for academic credit will be the student's own work. You are encouraged to study together and to discuss information and concepts covered in lecture and the sections with other students. However, this permissible cooperation should never involve one student having possession of a copy of all or part of work done by someone else. Should copying occur, both the student who copied work from another student and the student who gave material to be copied will both automatically receive a zero for the assignment. Penalty for violation of this Code can also be extended to include failure of the course and University disciplinary action. During examinations, you must do your own work. Talking or discussion is not permitted during the examinations, nor may you compare papers, copy from others, or collaborate in any way. Any collaborative behavior during the examinations will result in failure of the exam, and may lead to failure of the course and University disciplinary action.

 

 

 

 

V.  Other University Notices and Policies

 

Use of E-mail for Official Correspondence to Students

All students should become familiar with the University's official e-mail student notification policy.  It is the student's responsibility to keep the University informed as to changes in his or her e-mail address.  Students are expected to check e-mail on a frequent and regular basis in order to stay current with University-related communications, recognizing that certain communications may be time-critical. It is recommended that e-mail be checked daily, but at a minimum, twice per week. The complete text of this policy and instructions for updating your e-mail address are available at   http://www.utexas.edu/its/policies/emailnotify.html.

 

Religious Holy Days

By UT Austin policy, you must notify me of your pending absence at least fourteen days prior to the date of observance of a religious holy day. If you must miss a class, an examination, a work assignment, or a project in order to observe a religious holy day, I will give you an opportunity to complete the missed work within a reasonable time after the absence.

 

Students with Disabilities

Any student with a documented disability who requires academic accommodations should contact Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) at (512) 471-6259 (voice) or 1-866-329-3986 (video phone).  Faculty are not required to provide accommodations without an official accommodation letter from SSD. 

 

Behavior Concerns Advice Line (BCAL)

If you are worried about someone who is acting differently, you may use the Behavior Concerns Advice Line to discuss by phone your concerns about another individual’s behavior. This service is provided through a partnership among the Office of the Dean of Students, the Counseling and Mental Health Center (CMHC), the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), and The University of Texas Police Department (UTPD). Call 512-232-5050 or visit http://www.utexas.edu/safety/bcal.

 

 


VII. Tentative Course Schedule

Week

Week of

Topic

Readings

1

Jan19

Course Introduction

 

 

2

Jan 26

Deterrence

Becker (1968); Erickson, Gibbs, and Jensen (1977); Nagin (1998)

 

3

Feb2

Legitimacy of the Law and Legal Cynicism

Tyler (2006), Why People Obey the Law

 

4

Feb9

Special Topic: Race/Ethnic Disparities in Criminal Outcomes

 

Black and Reiss (1970); Jackson and Carroll (1981); Liska and Chamlin (1984); Smith (1986); Stults and Baumer (2007)

 

5

Feb16

Strain Theories

Merton (1938); Agnew (1991; 2001)

 

6

Feb23

 

Social Disorganization

Bursik (1988); Sampson and Groves (1989); Sampson, Raudenbush, and Earls (1997); Sampson (2006)

 

7

Mar2

 

Special Topic: Broken Windows

Wilson and Kelling (1982); Sampson and Raudenbush (1999); Harcourt and Ludwig (2006)

 

8

 

Mar9

** MID-TERM EXAM **

 

 

9

Mar16

 

SPRING BREAK

 

 

10

Mar23

Differential Association and Social Learning

 

Warr (2002), Companions in Crime

 

11

Mar30

Special Topic: Street Gangs

Venkatesh (2008), Gang Leader for a Day

 

12

Apr6

Social Control Theory

Reiss (1951); Toby (1957); Hindelang (1973)

 

13

Apr13

 

Self-Control

Gottfredson and Hirschi (1990), A General Theory of Crime; Pratt and Cullen (2000)

 

14

Apr20

 

NO CLASS

 

15

Apr27

 

Life-Course

Shaw (1930), The Jack Roller; Sampson and Laub (1993), Crime in the Making

 

16

May4

** FINAL EXAM **

 

 

Note: book titles in italics; otherwise the listed reading is an article (see handout)

Publications

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