Center for Crime & Popular Culture

Our Mission

The Center for Crime & Popular Culture serves scholars, students, and laypersons interested in issues pertaining to the intersection of crime, social control, and popular culture. The Center is committed to engaging students and fostering critical thinking about how images of crime and justice permeate our daily lives. The Center hosts special events, lectures, and guest speakers on campus, each geared toward understanding the production of popular culture and how cultural artifacts shape and reflect public attitudes toward offenders, victims, and the operations of the criminal justice system.

For more information, please contact:

Dr. Nickie Phillips
Director, Center for Crime & Popular Culture
nphillips@sfc.edu

Beyond Blurred Lines: Rape Culture in Popular Media

Order directly through Rowman & Littlefield for a 30% discount on Beyond Blurred Lines. Use promotion code RLFANDF30 at checkout for 30% off – this promotion is valid until November 30, 2017. This offer cannot be combined with any other promo or discount offers.

From its origins in academic discourse in the 1970s to our collective imagination in 2013 and beyond, the concept of “rape culture” has resonated in a variety of spheres, including television, gaming, comic book culture, and college campuses. Beyond Blurred Lines traces ways that sexual violence is collectively processed, mediated, negotiated, and contested by exploring public reactions to high-profile incidents and rape narratives in popular culture.

The concept of rape culture was initially embraced in popular media – mass media, social media, and popular culture – and contributed to a social understanding of sexual violence that mirrored feminist concerns about the persistence of rape myths and victim-blaming. However, it was later challenged by skeptics who framed the concept as a moral panic. Nickie D. Phillips documents how the conversation shifted from substantiating claims of a rape culture toward growing scrutiny of the prevalence of sexual assault on college campuses. This, in turn, renewed attention toward false allegations, and away from how college enforcement policies fail victims to how they endanger accused young men.

Ultimately, she successfully lends insight into how the debates around rape culture, including microaggressions, gendered harassment and so-called political correctness, inform our collective imaginations and shape our attitudes toward criminal justice and policy responses to sexual violence.

Beyond Blurred Lines: Rape Culture in Popular Media

Comic Book Crime

comic book crime

Our book “Comic Book Crime: Truth, Justice, and the American Way,” published by NYU Press, is now available.

Read the review in Theoretical Criminology.

Read the review in New York Journal of Books.


Superman, Batman, Daredevil, and Wonder Woman are iconic cultural figures that embody values of order, fairness, justice, and retribution. Comic Book Crime digs deep into these and other celebrated characters, providing a comprehensive understanding of crime and justice in contemporary American comic books. This is a world where justice is delivered, where heroes save ordinary citizens from certain doom, where evil is easily identified and thwarted by powers far greater than mere mortals could possess. Nickie Phillips and Staci Strobl explore these representations and show that comic books, as a historically important American cultural medium, participate in both reflecting and shaping an American ideological identity that is often focused on ideas of the apocalypse, utopia, retribution, and nationalism.
Through an analysis of approximately 200 comic books sold from 2002 to 2010, as well as several years of immersion in comic book fan culture, Phillips and Strobl reveal the kinds of themes and plots popular comics feature in a post-9/11 context. They discuss heroes’ calculations of “deathworthiness,” or who should be killed in meting out justice, and how these judgments have as much to do with the hero’s character as they do with the actions of the villains. This fascinating volume also analyzes how class, race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation are used to construct difference for both the heroes and the villains in ways that are both conservative and progressive. Engaging, sharp, and insightful, Comic Book Crime is a fresh take on the very meaning of truth, justice, and the American way.



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The Center welcomes Dr. Alyce McGovern, UNSW, Australia

During the Fall 2016 semester, the Center for Crime and Popular Culture welcomed Dr. Alyce McGovern, Senior Lecturer in Criminology at the University of New South Wales, Australia. Dr. McGovern’s research interests include police-media relations and the intersection of crime, media, and culture. Recent publications include:

Crofts T; Lee M; McGovern A; Milivojevic S, 2015, Sexting and Young People, Palgrave Macmillan
Lee M; McGovern A, 2013, Policing and the Media: Public Relations, Simulations and Communications, 1st, Routledge, London.

Lee M; McGovern A, 2015, ‘Logics of risk: police communications in an age of uncertainty’, Journal of Risk Research, pp. 1 - 12.


Lee M; Crofts T; McGovern A; Milivojevic S, 2015, ‘Sexting among young people: Perceptions and practices’, Trends and Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice, no. 508, pp. 1 - 9.


McGovern AM; Wise J; Wise N, 2015, ‘’When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die’: Concepts of justice in George R R Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire’, Media & Arts Law Review, vol. 20, no. 2, pp. 1 - 13.


Ellis JR; McGovern AM, 2015, ‘The end of symbiosis? Australian police-media relations in the digital age’, Policing and Society: an international journal of research and policy.


Humanizing The dehumanized: The Legacy of Eugenics and the Relevance Today

January 21, 2016 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm at Central Booking, NYC

Moderator: Nickie Phillips, criminologist, St. Francis College, Brooklyn, NYC

Panelists: Artists Noah Fuller, Geraldine Ondrizek, and Barbara Rosenthal featured in Twisted Data exhibit

This panel will explore the legacy of eugenics and the ways that “scientific” data has been used to justify atrocities. The panelists will discuss how the categorization of individuals, dehumanization, and bureaucratization converged to reinforce cultural prejudices and the lasting impact of these policies and practices. The study and reception of bio-criminological explanations of criminality will be discussed in light of the history of eugenics within the field of criminology, as well as other unfortunate implications of the movement to “purify” the population.

Comic Book Crime Event at Leeds Metropolitan University, UK

Graphic Justice: Intersection of Comics and Law


About the book:

"The intersections of law and contemporary culture are vital for comprehending the meaning and significance of law in today’s world. Far from being unsophisticated mass entertainment, comics and graphic fiction both imbue our contemporary culture, and are themselves imbued, with the concerns of law and justice. Accordingly, and spanning a wide variety of approaches and topics from an international array of contributors, Graphic Justice draws comics and graphic fiction into the range of critical resources available to the academic study of law. The first book to do this,Graphic Justice broadens our understanding of law and justice as part of our human world—a world that is inhabited not simply by legal concepts and institutions alone, but also by narratives, stories, fantasies, images, and other cultural articulations of human meaning. Engaging with key legal issues (including copyright, education, legal ethics, biomedical regulation, and legal personhood) and exploring critical issues in criminal justice and perspectives on international rights, law and justice—all through engagement with comics and graphic fiction—the collection showcases the vast breadth of potential that the medium holds. Graphic Justicewill be of interest to academics and postgraduate students in: cultural legal studies; law and the image; law, narrative and literature; law and popular culture; cultural criminology; as well as cultural and comics studies more generally."

Review in Crime, Media, Culture

Popular Culture, Crime and Social Control


Popular Culture, Crime and Social Control is part of the "Sociology of Crime Law and Deviance" series published by Emerald.

Should Superman Kill?

Read our post in the Wall Street Journal discussing the concept of deathworthiness and Superman’s actions in Man of Steel (beware: spoiler alert!).

CrimCast Twitter Feed

CrimCast on Facebook

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#Justice4All

Crimcast attended #Justice4All, Washington DC, December 2014

Carol Tilley on Wertham's Scholarship, Social Science, and Archival Research


Go here for our Crimcast interview with Carol Tilley, assistant professor at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois. Professor Tilley speaks with us about her research on Frederic Wertham, a figure most known for his scathing attacks on comic books during the 1950s. Wertham is most known for suggesting that comic books influence deviant behavior andjuvenile delinquency.

Tilley recently published “Seducing the Innocent: Fredric Wertham and the Falsifications that Helped Condemn Comics” in Information & Culture: A Journal of History.

Graphic Justice Blog

Academic Resources

SFC Events

Victoria Law: Women Behind Bars: Realities & Resistance Beyond Orange is the New Black

Now That We're Men: Discussion

Chase Madar: On Chelsea Manning

Confined Arts: Solitary Confinement Edition

This edition of The Confined Arts will be a symposium consisting of an art exhibition, poetry, a panel discussion, a promotional screening, and more. Opportunities and Change will be collaborating with the Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement to highlight the humanity of the people held in solitary confinement inside of our nation's prisons. Additionally, we hope to raise awareness about the inhumane conditions and the use of solitary confinement to educate attendees.

Sponsored by The Post-Prison Program @ St. Francis & The Center for Crime & Popular Culture



Humanizing The Dehumanized: The Legacy Of Eugenics And The Relevance Today


Join us for the panel Humanizing The Dehumanized: The Legacy Of Eugenics And The Relevance Today

January 21, 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm at Central Booking, NYC

Moderator: Nickie Phillips, criminologist, St. Francis College, Brooklyn, NYC

Panelists: Artists Noah Fuller, Geraldine Ondrizek, and Barbara Rosenthal featured in Twisted Data exhibit

This panel will explore the legacy of eugenics and the ways that “scientific” data has been used to justify atrocities. The panelists will discuss how the categorization of individuals, dehumanization, and bureaucratization converged to reinforce cultural prejudices and the lasting impact of these policies and practices. The study and reception of bio-criminological explanations of criminality will be discussed in light of the history of eugenics within the field of criminology, as well as other unfortunate implications of the movement to “purify” the population.

Portia Allen-Kyle on Activism and Police Tactics in St. Louis

Activism and Police Tactics in St. Louis

Nickie Phillips, Portia Allen-Kyle, Emily Horowitz

Yohuru Williams on Black Lives Matter

Eli Silverman: Crime Numbers and the NYPD

STOP Documentary Film - Director Q&A

Bennett Capers on Techno-Policing

FanBros Podcast Event

He for She @ SFC

Gender equality is not only a women’s issue, it is a human rights issue that requires my participation. We as conscious members of St Francis College commit to take action against all forms of violence and discrimination faced by women and girls.

He for She @ SFC

Criminal Justice Career Day, 2015

Innocents on Death Row

Tuesday, September 9: Michael Siem on “Lethal Injection Challenges.”

Co-Sponsored by the Center for Crime & Popular Culture.

Attorney Michael Siem will speak about his experiences representing death row inmates. Siem represented Jack Alderman, the longest serving prisoner on Death Row. With the help of justice organizations throughout the world, Alderman spent 34 years fighting to prove his innocence before he being executed.

Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/37381942@N04/4905111750/in/set-72157624628981539/

Wonder Women! Documentary Screening

A Career Combating Corruption and Crime

Tuesday, October 14: Federal Agent Denis McGowan on “A Career Combating Corruption & Crimes.”

Sponsored by the Center for Crime & Popular Culture.

Federal Agent Denis McGowan will speak about his professional experiences working with the DEA Task Force, FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, and Homeland Security.

It was Rape

Tuesday November 25: Jennifer Baumgardner, Executive Director/Publisher at The Feminist Press at CUNY, will screen and answer questions about her documentary, It Was Rape .

Co-sponsored by American Studies and the Center for Crime & Popular Culture.

After 5 years as an editor at the feminist magazine, Ms. (1993-1997), Baumgardner began writing investigative pieces for Harper’s and The Nation, providing commentaries for NPR’s All Things Considered, contributing to dozens of national magazines, and then authoring 6 books, including Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism, and the Future. Her new film,It Was Rape, asks why the wrong, illegal, and reprehensible of rape is still tragically common. In this film, 8 women tell their diverse personal stories of sexual assault, from a Midwestern teenager trying alcohol for the first time to a Native American woman gradually coming to terms with her abusive childhood. The film is an opportunity to empathize with people—not just absorb faceless statistics—and to puncture the silence and denial that allow sexual assault to thrive, and sheds light on how this epidemic affects us all.

SFC Career Fair

There will be representatives from the NYPD and the US Postal Inspectors in attendance.

Criminal Justice Career Day

Steve Wasserman Speaks on Stop and Frisk

On March 13, 2014, our Urban Law Enforcement Problems class welcomed Steven Wasserman, attorney with Legal Aid Society, to speak about the New York Police Department's practice of stop and frisk.

Policing: A Survivor's Perspective

On February 6, SFC alumnus Richard Loutfi '10 joined our Urban Law Enforcement Problems class to speak about "Policing: A Survivor's Perspective."

For more information on the Office of Victim's Services in New York State, click here.

Richard Loutfi with his mother Georgette, also an SFC graduate.

Sing Sing University / Zero Percent

Sing Sing University

Cultural Criminology and Banksy, Red Hook

Banksy + "Omar is a Punk" Cultural Criminology, Fall 2013 For more photos, go to Crimcast. For the NBC news article that features our class trip, go here.

Functional Family Therapy

Katarzyna Celinska on Functional Family Therapy

Fernando Bermudez on wrongful conviction, Senior Lecture Series

Guerrilla Girls at SFC

Jesse Friedman and Ron Kuby Explain Jesse's Innocence

The Jesse Friedman Case

Upcoming Criminal Justice Events

Alyce McGovern: Sexting and Young People

Jennifer Baumgardner: On It Was Rape Documentary

FDNY Transgender Firefighter Brooke Guinan

Randy Williams Speaks Out about Wrongful Conviction

Randy Williams and Bob Rahn

Randy Williams served nine years of a 22 years-to-life prison sentence as a result of a wrongful conviction. He was released in 2016.

On April 14, 2016, Randy and his mom, Rosie, spoke with students at St. Francis College to share their story. They discussed how Bob Rahn and Kim Anklin, of Private Investigations by Management Resources Ltd of NY, worked tirelessly on behalf of Randy uncovering false eyewitness testimony and police misconduct.


Nickie Phillips, Rosie Benjamin, Randy Williams, and Bob Rahn

Criminal Justice Career Day 2016

Stop: A Film about Stop and Frisk in NYC Screening and Q&A with Director Spencer Wolff 10/20 11:10am Room 4202

STOP Documentary Screening with Spencer Wolff

Spencer Wolff, director & producer of "STOP" and Nickie Phillips

Gregory Glover on the NYC CCRB

In My Neighborhood: Interactions with the Police

What 40 Years of Cop Films Can Tell Us About Racism, White Privilege, and Ferguson

Anthropologist Gabriella Coleman on her book


Author Gabriella Coleman, criminologist Nickie Phillips, sociologist Emily Horowitz

The Crash Reel

Tuesday, September 23: Snowboarder Kevin Pearce Shares Documentary The Crash Reel (in Founder’s Hall).

Co-Sponsored by American Studies, the Center for Crime & Popular Culture, and Communication Arts.

Join us for a screening of the acclaimed HBO documentary The Crash Reel followed by a Q & A with star Kevin Pearce. The film documents Kevin's journey from Olympic dreams to recovering from a traumatic brain injury. The movie features footage of Pearce's crash, as well as the aftermath. Kevin Pearce was a world champion snowboarder before his injury, and a strong contender to win gold in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics when his accident happened. To learn more about Kevin and the film, visit:http://thecrashreel.com.

Freeing the Wrongfully Convicted

Tuesday October 28: SFC Alumnus Robert Rahn (Sociology, Class of 1976) & Kim Anklin on “Freeing the Wrongfully Convicted.”

Co-sponsored by the Center for Crime & Popular Culture.

St. Francis College alumnus Robert Rahn '76 and his partner, Kim Anklin, will discuss how their private investigation helped free a wrongfully imprisoned man, Jonathan Fleming. Fleming served more than 20 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit. Rahn and Anklin will discuss how they investigated the Fleming case and, more generally, about their careers in private investigations. Read more about the Fleming case and the role played by Rahn and Anklin.

Seven Shots

Content

copblock.org

Author Radley Balko and criminologist Nickie Phillips

Sociologist Emily Horowitz, author Radley Balko, and criminologist Nickie Phillips

Compliance Screening & Director Q&A

Producer Theo Sena, actor Ann Dowd, and criminologist Nickie Phillips

Nancy Silberkleit on Comics and Bullying

Fernando Bermudez on Graffiti

Demetra Pappas on the Euthanasia/Assisted Suicide Debate

Le Tigre: On Tour Screening and Q&A

Nickie Phillips, Kerthy Fix (Director), and Johanna Fateman (Band member) Kerthy Fix and Johanna Fateman Johanna Fateman Le Tigre

AMERICAN BOMBER Q & A Part 1

AMERICAN BOMBER Q and A Pt 2

AMERICAN BOMBER Q and A Pt 3

AMERICAN BOMBER Q and A Pt 4

Freeing the Wrongfully Convicted

Innocence Project, Senior Lecture Series

Sociologist Emily Horowitz and Daniella Henry, attorney and policy analyst with the Innocence Project

Writers on Writers: Graffiti, Poetry and Narrative

Brooklyn Aesthetics: Writers on Writers: Graffiti, Poetry and Narrative

Friday, September 2, 2013 at 5pm Founders Hall

Please join us for Writers on Writers, a panel discussion on parallel notions of literature and graffiti as narrative constructions. Participants include Adam Mansbach, New York Times bestselling author of the graffiti novel Rage Is Back; Jean Grae, prominent underground hip-hop artist and producer; and Brooklyn graffiti legend Blake ‘Keo” Lethem.

The evening’s wide-ranging conversation will explore narrative and identity in both literary and graffiti cultures; the relationships of both literature and graffiti to authority; and the persistence of "beef" across the genres. Participants will also confront the notion of a hip-hop aesthetic, discuss the importance of codes and code-switching, and discuss the parallel evolution of graffiti, hip-hop, and new literary cultures in New York City.

Adam Mansbach is a NY Times bestselling author. Mansbach's latest novel, Rage is Back, set in NYC graffiti culture, was named a Book of the Month by Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble, and is currently being adapted for the stage by Mansbach and award-winning playwright Idris Goodwin.

Jean Grae is an internationally recognized underground hip hop artist. She has released 9 solo albums since her debut in 2002. Throughout her career she has collaborated with major hip hop artists, such as The Roots, Talib Kweli, Mos Def, and Styles P.

KEO TC-5 is a bona-fide Brooklyn legend in the realm of NYC graffiti and hip hop. SCOTCH 79 came of age in the Brooklyn of the 1970s and learned his craft in the tunnels and yards of the MTAs subway system.

Graphics Justice Blogs

Other Blogs

Take a look at some work being done on the sociology of crime and comic books from across the pond in the United Kingdom.

Graphic Justice: Intersections of Comics and Law

About the book:

"The intersections of law and contemporary culture are vital for comprehending the meaning and significance of law in today’s world. Far from being unsophisticated mass entertainment, comics and graphic fiction both imbue our contemporary culture, and are themselves imbued, with the concerns of law and justice. Accordingly, and spanning a wide variety of approaches and topics from an international array of contributors, Graphic Justice draws comics and graphic fiction into the range of critical resources available to the academic study of law. The first book to do this, Graphic Justice broadens our understanding of law and justice as part of our human world—a world that is inhabited not simply by legal concepts and institutions alone, but also by narratives, stories, fantasies, images, and other cultural articulations of human meaning. Engaging with key legal issues (including copyright, education, legal ethics, biomedical regulation, and legal personhood) and exploring critical issues in criminal justice and perspectives on international rights, law and justice—all through engagement with comics and graphic fiction—the collection showcases the vast breadth of potential that the medium holds. Graphic Justicewill be of interest to academics and postgraduate students in: cultural legal studies; law and the image; law, narrative and literature; law and popular culture; cultural criminology; as well as cultural and comics studies more generally."

Should Superman Kill?

Read our post in the Wall Street Journal discussing the concept of deathworthiness and Superman’s actions in Man of Steel (beware: spoiler alert!).

Comic Book Crime Event at Leeds Metropolitan University, UK

Comics Forum

Academic Resources

Carol Tilley on Wertham's Scholarship, Social Science, and Archival Research


Go here for our Crimcast interview with Carol Tilley, assistant professor at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois. Professor Tilley speaks with us about her research on Frederic Wertham, a figure most known for his scathing attacks on comic books during the 1950s. Wertham is most known for suggesting that comic books influence deviant behavior andjuvenile delinquency.

Tilley recently published “Seducing the Innocent: Fredric Wertham and the Falsifications that Helped Condemn Comics” in Information & Culture: A Journal of History.