Queer Criminology: New Directions in Academic Irrelevance
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Critical criminology has been around for decades. In this context, “critical” simply means “Marxist.” Thus, critical criminology is a branch of the discipline that seeks to transform the criminal legal system on Marxist principles. Recently, critical criminology has branched into more specialized areas of reform. For example, feminist criminology has become a distinct branch of critical criminology with its own quarterly journal. More recently, queer criminology has emerged as another branch that is beginning to influence graduate and undergraduate programs across the country. But this branch, like its sisters, is incoherent and tendentious.
A few years ago, the Department of Sociology and Criminology at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, where I have been teaching for twenty-five years, offered students a senior seminar in queer criminology. Only a small percentage of the roughly 300 criminology majors took the course. Within just two years, however, the department decided...