HISTORY 491 - Topics in History: HistoryLabs II
Winter 2023, Section 001 - Cold Cases: Police Violence, Crime, and Social Justice in Michigan
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: History (HISTORY)
Department: LSA History
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Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:
Start/End Date:
Full Term 1/4/23 - 4/18/23 (see other Sections below)
NOTE: Drop/Add deadlines are dependent on the class meeting dates and will differ for full term versus partial term offerings.
For information on drop/add deadlines, see the Office of the Registrar and search Registration Deadlines.


This research seminar is a HistoryLab course that will investigate cases of racial violence, police brutality, wrongful convictions, and “juvenile life without parole” sentences in metropolitan Detroit and Southeast Michigan since the 1960s. Members of the seminar will work in teams, conduct archival and database research, interview historical participants, and collaborate in creating website exhibits and other online publications that combine historical narratives with documents, images, and interactive maps. Teams also will draft historical context reports for use by public defenders in legal proceedings seeking the resentencing or release of individuals first incarcerated as juveniles and originally sentenced under the state of Michigan’s mandatory “life without parole” statute. This seminar is part of the Policing and Social Justice HistoryLab, a component of the UM Carceral State Project, and its multiyear initiative to research and document the history of policing, criminalization, law enforcement homicides, and community activism in Detroit and throughout Michigan. This semester will focus particularly on the suburbs of Detroit, including Oakland County, and on nearby cities such as Flint. The lab/seminar will take students off campus, including multiple research trips to archives and sites in Southeast Michigan, and produce investigative reports designed to contribute historical knowledge to current debates over policing and crime, racial and social justice, and mass incarceration in modern America. “Cold Cases” is a pilot project of the UM HistoryLabs program, established in 2018 by the History Department to promote public engagement through student-faculty research collaborations and to enhance career skills through applied research, digital technologies, and multimedia publishing platforms. Learn more and view previous research publications at the Policing and Social Justice HistoryLab website.

Course Requirements:

Collaborative production of a website exhibit and other investigative reports/legal brief

Intended Audience:

History majors and minors; advanced undergraduates in DAAS, RC, and other departments; students planning careers in law, public policy, and social justice. Interested students should contact the professor directly at mlassite@umich.edu.

Class Format:



HISTORY 491 - Topics in History: HistoryLabs II
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
 In Person
Th 1:00PM - 4:00PM
1/4/23 - 4/18/23

Textbooks/Other Materials

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