April 1, 2017

The Wire Goes To Law School

The announcement that the University of Pittsburgh's law school is offering a course based on the hit TV show The Wire  is just the latest in a series of examples of the importance of this show and others to college curricula. The earliest examples that I've been able to find of pedagogical use of The Wire, in particular, are those at Middlebury, Harvard, Duke, and others, (documented in an article by Drake Bennett for Slate) at least as early as 2010, but perhaps earlier. John Swansburg updated that article a week later, giving other examples dating to 2008. So it's not clear to me whose course was first.

Nevertheless, the interest in using The Wire to probe important societal questions seems fairly established in undergraduate curricula as early as 2008. PBS did a short update last year. Finally, a law school has joined the debate. As we see, the University of Pittsburgh Law School now is offering such a course, though I suspect that criminal law profs, and perhaps profs in other areas, such as evidence and criminal procedure, have been using episodes from the show in classes for some time.

More on Wire-related courses in the selective bibliography below.

Teaching The Wire (Drexel)

Teaching The Wire (Middlebury College)

The Wire Is on the Syllabus in a St. Olaf Class

Mental Floss offers this article on college courses based on television shows.  Note UC Berkeley's course using Judge Judy.

No comments: