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Center for Crime & Popular Culture | St. Francis College

Center for Crime & Popular Culture

Reframing Crime and Justice in Popular Culture

Since 2012, the Center for Crime & Popular Culture has sought to engage the St. Francis College community on the ways that cultural artifacts shape and reflect public attitudes around criminality, justice, and social control by supporting innovative multi-disciplinary research, and hosting special events and guest speakers on campus.

About the Center

Mission

The Center for Crime & Popular Culture is committed to fostering innovative scholarship on the intersection of crime, social control, and popular culture, and educating scholars, students, and practitioners about how popular culture is a dominant force through which social meanings around crime and justice are established, institutionalized, and reproduced.

Faculty

What We Do

Language Offers Clues in Sandra Bland Traffic Stop
SFCTV Talks with Jennifer Baumgardner
Now That We're Men After Play Discussion
Mothers and Prison
STOP Documentary Film - Director Q&A
Civil Rights Leader Bernard LaFayette
Parenting, Prison & Pups

STOP Documentary Screening with Spencer Wolff

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

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

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

Anthropologist Gabriella Coleman on Her Book

Author Gabriella Coleman, criminologist Nickie Phillips, sociologist Emily Horowitz

Past Events

Post-Prison Students Talk About the Important of Education
Victoria Law: Women Behind Bars: Realities & Resistance Beyond Orange is the New Black
Gregory Glover on the NYC CCRB
Portia Allen-Kyle on Activism and Police Tactics in St. Louis
Bennett Capers on Techno-Policing
Guerrilla Girls at SFC

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

A Panel on 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 the Twisted Data exhibit

This panel explored 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.

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 Justice Initiative Program at St. Francis & The Center for Crime & Popular Culture

Activism and Police Tactics in St. Louis

Nickie Phillips, Portia Allen-Kyle, Emily Horowitz

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

Comic Book Crime Event at Leeds Metropolitan University, UK

Comic Book Crime

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.

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 Pressat 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.

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.

Innocence Project, Senior Lecture Series

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

Functional Family Therapy

Katarzyna Celinska on Functional Family Therapy

Graphic Justice Discussions is ‘Law, Comics, Justice’

The Graphic Justice Research Alliance (GJRA) is delighted to announce a call for papers for its annual conference at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, NY to be held on October 20, 2018. The theme for this year’s Graphic Justice Discussions is ‘Law, Comics, Justice’, and promises to be an exciting event that will be accessible and relevant to scholars, artists, practitioners, policy-makers, writers, and the general public alike.

We are gratified to announce that legendary comic writer and editor Ann Nocenti will join us as this event’s keynote speaker. Nocenti has lent her distinctive voice to numerous beloved comic book runs, including her writings for Marvel’s Daredevil and DC’s Catwoman, Katana, and Green Arrow. We very much look forward to hearing her observations about the industry, as well as reflections on her latest project, the forthcoming The Seeds, a new four-issue series in collaboration with artist David Aja. The series, part of a new line of Berger Books published by Dark Horse Comics, is described as “An eco-fiction tech-thriller … a story of love beyond race and gender, and of the resilience of both human and animal kind.” Please join us for what promises to be a stimulating and inclusive occasion!

Send 250-word abstracts to [email protected]

Stay tuned for more details to follow…The GJRA is a multidisciplinary research network exploring the crossover between law and justice and comics of all kinds.

Graphic Justice Discussions

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."

Review of Graphic Justice in Crime, Media, Culture

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

Click 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.

Legendary writer, editor, journalist, filmmaker, Ann Nocenti, keynote speaker at Graphic Justice Discussions 2018The Graphic Justice Research Alliance (GJRA) is delighted to announce a call for papers for its annual conference at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, NY to be held October 20, 2018. The theme for this year’s Graphic Justice Discussions is ‘Law, Comics, Justice’, and promises to be an exciting event that will be accessible and relevant to scholars, artists, practitioners, policy-makers, writers, and the general public alike.
We are gratified to announce that legendary comic writer and editor Ann Nocenti will join us as this event’s keynote speaker. Nocenti has lent her distinctive voice to numerous beloved comic book runs, including her writings for Marvel’s Daredevil and DC’s Catwoman, Katana, and Green Arrow. We very much look forward to hearing her observations about the industry, as well as reflections on her latest project, the forthcoming The Seeds, a new four-issue series in collaboration with artist David Aja. The series, part of a new line of Berger Books published by Dark Horse Comics, is described as “An eco-fiction tech-thriller … a story of love beyond race and gender, and of the resilience of both human and animal kind.” Please join us for what promises to be a stimulating and inclusive occasion!

Send 250-word abstracts to [email protected]

Stay tuned for more details to follow…
The GJRA is a multidisciplinary research network exploring the crossover between law and justice and comics of all kinds.

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!).

Publications and Research

Comics, Crime, and Justice

  • Phillips, N. & Strobl, S. (2022). Global capitalism as blood sacrifice: Mainstream American comic books and depictions of economic inequality. Critical Criminology. DOI: 0.1007/s10612–022–09618-z.
  • Phillips, N. & Strobl, S. (2015). When (Super)heroes Kill: Vigilantism and deathworthiness in Justice League, Red Team, and the Christopher Dorner killing spree. In Thom Giddens (Ed.) Graphic Justice: Intersections of Comics and Law. Oxfordshire, UK: Taylor & Francis.
  • Phillips, N. and Strobl, S. (2014). Cultural criminology and kryptonite: Constructions of crime and justice in best-selling American comic books. In F. Wilson (Ed.), Crime and Media Studies: Diversity of Method, Medium, and Communication. San Diego, CA: Cognella, Inc. (Reprint).
  • Phillips, N. & Strobl, S. (2013). Comic Book Crime: Truth, Justice, and the American Way. New York, NY: NYU Press.

Crime and Popular Media

  • Vollum, S., & Garland, T., & Phillips, N. (2021). The Walking Dead and criminological theory: Exploring the impact of radical social change on crime through the lens of a zombie apocalypse. In Crime TV: Streaming Criminology in Popular Culture. Grubb, J. & Posick, C. (Eds.). New York, NY: NYU Press.
  • Phillips, N. and Chagnon, N. (2021), Lost in the mediascape: Embracing uncertainties and contradictions at the cultural nexus of crime and media in Wiest, J.B. (Ed.) Theorizing Criminality and Policing in the Digital Media Age (Studies in Media and Communications, Vol. 20), Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 151–167.
  • Phillips, N. (2017). Violence, media effects, and criminology. In N. Rafter & M. Brown’s (Ed.) Oxford Encyclopedia of Crime, Media, and Popular Culture. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
  • McGovern, A. & Phillips, N (2017). The police, media, and popular culture. In N. Rafter & M. Brown’s (Ed.) Oxford Encyclopedia of Crime, Media, and Popular Culture. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
  • Garland, T., Phillips, N. & Vollum, S. (2016). Gender politics and The Walking Dead: Gendered violence and the reestablishment of patriarchy. Feminist Criminology, 13(1), 59-86.
  • Strobl, S., Phillips, N., Reynolds, D., & Banutai, E. (2015). Film-making and community restorative justice: Slovenian police and Roma in Shanghai Gypsy. International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, 4(4), 22-39.

Cultural Representations of Sexual Violence

  • Chagnon, N. & Phillips, N. (2021). “Like fetching water with a bucket full of holes”: High-profile cases and perceptions of system failure. Critical Criminology, 29, 329-347.
  • Phillips, N. & Chagnon, N. (2020). Where's the panic, where's the fire? Why claims of moral panic and witch hunts miss the mark when it comes to campus rape and MeToo. Feminist Media Studies, 21(3), 409-426.
  • Fileborn, B. & Phillips, N. (2019). From ‘Me Too’ to ‘Too Far’? Contesting the boundaries of sexual violence in contemporary activism. In Fileborn, B., & Loney-Howes, R. (Eds.). #MeToo and the politics of social change. London, UK: Palgrave MacMillian.
  • Phillips, N. (2017). Beyond Blurred Lines: Rape Culture in Popular Media. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
  • Phillips, N. & Chagnon, N. (2018). “Six months is a joke”: Carceral feminism and penal populism in the wake of the Stanford sexual case. Feminist Criminology, 15(1). DOI: 10.1177/1557085118789782.
  • Phillips, N. & Horowitz, E. (2017, November/December). Rape culture and sex offender policies. Sexual Assault Report, 21(2), p. 17-28.

Cybercrime and Online Deviance

  • Maratea, R.J., Kerbel, A., Frontale, S. &Veevers-Carter, K. (2020). “t’s a Dog Eat Dog World: Navigating Stigma in a Zoophilia Online Community. Pp. 237-52 in Deviance Today, 2nd ed., edited by A. Conyers and T.C. Calhoun. New York: Routledge.
  • Maratea, R.J., Kavanaugh, P. & Tafoya, J. (2017). “Zoosexual Identity Talk and the Disciplining of Discourse.” Pp. 282-92 in Routledge Handbook on Deviance, edited by S.E. Brown and O. Sefiha. New York: Routledge.
  • Kavanaugh, P. & Maratea, R.J. (2016). Identity, Resistance, and Moderation in an Online Community of Zoosexuals. Sexualities 19(1/2):3-24.
  • Maratea, R.J. (2015). “Online Claims-making: The NRA and Gun Advocacy in Cyberspace.” Qualitative Sociology Review 11(2):144-59.
  • Kavanaugh, P. & Maratea, R.J. (2014). “[A]moral Panics and Risk in Contemporary Drug and Viral Pandemic Claims.” Pp. 378-88 in Understanding Deviance: Connecting Classical and Contemporary Perspectives, edited by T.L. Anderson. New York: Routledge.
  • Maratea, R.J. (2014). The Politics of the Internet: Political Claims-making in Cyberspace and How It’s Affecting Modern Political Activism. Lanham, MD: Lexington.
  • Maratea, R.J. & Kavanaugh, P. (2012). Deviant Identity in Online Contexts: New Directives in the Study of a Classic Concept. Sociology Compass 6(2):102-12.

Gonzo Justice and Social Control

  • Monahan, B. & Maratea, R.J. (2021). The Art of the Spiel: Analyzing Donald Trump’s Tweets as Gonzo Storytelling. Symbolic Interaction (44)4:699-727.
  • Maratea, R.J. & Monahan, B. (2013). “Crime Control as Mediated Spectacle: The Institutionalization of Gonzo Rhetoric in Modern Media and Politics.” Symbolic Interaction 36(3):261-74.

Social Problems

  • Maratea, R.J. and Brian Monahan, B. (2016). Social Problems in Popular Culture. Chicago: Policy Press.
  • Monahan, B. & Maratea, R.J. (2013). Breaking News on Nancy Grace: Violent Crime in the Media.”Pp. 209-27 in Making Sense of Social Problems: New Images, New Issues, edited by. J. Best and S.R. Harris. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner.

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