Debating Criminology’s Radical and Reforming Traditions

The past, present and future of critical intervention

Tony Platt and Jonathan Simon

Old College, University of Edinburgh

24-26 June 2014 (10am-1pm, L05)

Arguments between liberal and radical scholars in and around criminology have raged for several decades – sometimes amicably, sometimes bitterly; at times in direct opposition, at others making common cause. This debate between two important figures, representing successive generations and differing viewpoints on these arguments, pays due regard to that contested history and seeks to illuminate and contextualize aspects of its legacies. However, its principal concern is with the future of progressive criminology and its engagements with 21st century problems. How do we now best understand our challenges, our positions vis a vis governments, social movements and other kinds of public? How should the rising generation of criminologists think about these questions in developing their work?

This event takes the form of a debate extending over three half-day sessions.   The event is free but registration is required ( ). Those registering are encouraged to attend throughout if at all possible.

Tony Platt is the author of 10 books and 150 essays and articles dealing with issues of race, inequality, and social justice in American history. A new 40th anniversary edition of his 1969 book, The Child Savers: The Invention of Delinquency, was published by Rutgers in 2009. His latest book, Grave Matters: Excavating California’s Buried Past (Heyday, 2011) deals with the history of the plundering of Native American graves for science, profit, and pleasure. Platt, a founding member of editorial board of Social Justice, blogs on history and memory at 

Jonathan Simon is Adrian A Kragen Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Law and Society at the University of California, Berkeley. In 2010/11 he was Leverhulme Visiting Professor of Law, University of Edinburgh, School of Law and a visiting scholar at SCCJR.  His most recent books, are and The SAGE Handbook of Punishment and Society (SAGE 2013, co-edited with Richard Sparks) and Mass Incarceration on Trial: Courts and the Future of American Prisons (New Press forthcoming), He blogs on the politics of crime and punishment at: