Tutor: Mark Roodhouse
Module type: MA Option
Module code: HIS00101M
That organised crime poses a global threat is a commonplace for today’s securocrats. The origins of this view lie in 1969. That year saw the publication of two seminal texts: The Theft of a Nation by the criminologist Donald Cressey and The Godfather by the novelist Mario Puzo. For Cressey and Puzo, organised crime was an alien criminal conspiracy aping the structures of corporate enterprise. This view has informed US government policy and the American social imaginary ever since. Together Washington and Hollywood sold this idea globally.
In this module we will look at the genealogy of our ideas about criminal organisation and their impact on law enforcement. This is more than an intellectual and political history. It involves an exploration of the changing nature of criminal activity as well as its representation in the previous two centuries. Drawing on the latest historical research from around the world, students will question an established historical narrative that starts with early modern banditry and ends with transnational organised crime, cherry-picking evidence from the histories of Italian, American, Chinese and Japanese history as it goes. By considering how various crimes were organised across Europe, Africa, the Americas and Asia more generally, students will critically evaluate and form their own ideas about the past, present and future of criminal organisation. In doing so, they will gain familiarity with key texts and canonical sources for the history of professional and organised crime.
The provisional outline for the module is as follows:
Fore more information, please visit the module catalogue.