Each student will choose a prominent theorist, activist, or reformer within criminology to research (historical or contemporary and from any society) and write a short paper (i.e., a minimum of 4 double-spaced pages) exploring and outlining the importance of their work.
Approach this assignment like a profile. Some definitions of a profile are quite narrow (e.g., a story of one person that explores their background and character). However, I invite you to consider the process of researching and writing a profile more dynamically. Yes, a profile should examine the subject’s personal and professional life, as well as give the reader a greater understanding of the subject through the lens of their personal interests, career, education, background, advocacy, and contributions to criminology. However, it is important to consider going beyond the obvious two-dimensional portrait of a person. For example, you could research a specific person (e.g., theories, activist, reformer) or profile of a reform movement; however, if you write a profile on an entire movement, you will probably find it still comes back to the people involved with the place/idea/campaign/movement, but you are still researching and writing about the movement/campaign/idea/event.
• Require some personal interpretation or perspective, often because of a stake in the topic.
• Typically provoke more thinking about ideas even beyond the “individual” at the centre of the profile.
• Develop the breadth, depth, dimensionality, and contradictions inherent in the topic.
• Might emphasize the exotic, peculiar or bizarre, but they always get beyond the surface — sometimes with emphasis on social, political, or moral implications implicit in the topic.
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