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: The Faculty Lounge

Field Trips for Law School Classes

By Matt Lister


This fall I?ll teach a course at Penn Law on criminal law theory.  One of the readings for the course is Michel Foucault's book on the history of the prison, Discipline and Punish .  During the part of the course when we?ll be reading the book, I plan on taking my students on a ?field trip? to the Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia.  The Eastern State Pen is interesting and worth visiting for a number of reasons (not least being the self-guided tour narrated by Steve Buscemi ) but my hope is that the students, most of whom have, of course, never been inside a jail or prison at all, will get a different view on the nature of a prison.  That the Eastern State Pen was one of the first modern prisons, and exemplified many of the developments that Foucault discusses in his book, makes a trip especially appealing to me.  (That Foucault?s own views on prisons were influenced by a trip he took to Attica some time before writing Discipline and Punish has also influenced my choice to try and do this.)  I?m curious to hear what people think of the idea, and if anyone else has incorporated field-trips into their teaching, and if so, how well they worked. 

Full post as published by The Faculty Lounge on July 11, 2010 (boomark / email).

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