Photo of Mark Brown

Mark Brown

Position: Senior Lecturer
Email Address: Mark.Brown@sheffield.ac.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)114 222 6716
Room No: EF15A


Academic Profile

I joined the School of Law in September 2014. Prior to that I had spent four years developing a small law and justice consultancy focused on actors in the international sphere and based in Geneva, while also working as a Chamonix-based professional mountain guide. Academically, I have spent most of my career in Australia where I was in the criminology program at the University of Melbourne. In 2011 I was a visiting professor at the Institute for Criminology and Criminal Law at the University of Lausanne and I held an earlier visiting appointment at Delhi University Law School.

I have published extensively in the area of prisons and penal policy with a focus upon both contemporary and historical penality. In 2014 Routledge published my book Penal Power and Colonial Rule, a study of British uses of law as a strategy of governance on the Indian subcontinent. In 2013 Ashgate published Penal Culture and Hyperincarceration: The Revival of the Prison (co-authored with colleagues from the University of New South Wales), a modern history of the prison in Australia since about 1970. Based initially upon my consultancy work in Geneva I have developed an interest the more global aspects of crime and the armatures of justice and punishment. In that vein I have been working on security sector reform issues and also with the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime, particularly on environmental crime and on the question of how to reformulate domestic crime control strategies, such as deterrence, to counter transnational criminal threats.

I am currently working on a new book, tentatively titled Colonial Gulags: Confinement and Control in the Age of Imperialism. It is intended as a genealogy of the modern impulse toward exclusion, considering not only the norms and forms of exclusion and confinement but so too the rationalities that produced so many and such highly nuanced forms of sequestration. The project aims to connect with contemporary debates over the necessity and intelligibility of illiberal practices of governance that render refugees, stateless people, unfit characters like sex offenders and a range of other subordinate social types liable to various types of involuntary confinement.

Qualifications

  • PhD, Victoria University of Wellington
  • BA (Hons), Massey University

Teaching and Learning

My teaching is underpinned by three key supports – a philosophy, a strategy and a style.

Philosophically, I believe that students learn best through engagement with their topic and the teaching materials that support it. Learning is enhanced if students can easily ‘find a way in’ to topics. I believe that in criminology and law this is most effectively achieved by organising teaching around a series of narratives, or stories, that draw the student into a topic and help them to see the problem both in its wider context and its important detail.

Strategically, I think that teaching needs to balance foundational information about how legal and criminal justice processes operate with development of the conceptual tools for critique of those processes. The modules I coordinate are thus structured around provision of both the ‘nuts and bolts’ knowledge that students need to take away as well as opportunities to learn and practice the techniques of analysis and critique. Assessment is designed so that students can demonstrate their grasp of both elements.

Finally, I aim for a teaching style that is open and, as far as possible within the large group lecture format, interactive. My module websites provide students with the important points for each lecture – not lecture notes – and I speak to these in the lecture. Students shouldn’t have their heads down taking notes in a lecture: you can’t listen properly when you’re doing that. And you certainly can’t engage in a dialogue. So I think effective teaching involves shifting lectures from being a content transfer exercise (from my lecture notes to the student’s lecture notes) to being an opportunity to listen and think and discuss.

The modules I teach are:

Undergraduate Postgraduate
Criminal Law and Justice Issues in Comparative Penology (Convenor)
Law School Without It No Success 1 Crime and Globalisation (Convenor)
Understanding Criminology
Criminal Law (Advanced)
Introducing Criminological Research
Miscarriages of Justice and Their Consequences
Punishment and Penal Policy

Research Interests

  • Prisons and penal policy
  • Penal history and theory
  • Colonial and post-colonial law and justice
  • Comparative jurisprudence
  • Global criminology
  • Transnational organised crime
  • Security sector reform
  • Fragile and post-conflict states

Member of the Centre for Criminological Research.

Areas of Research Supervision

I invite expressions of interest from students interested in working within any of the areas of my research interest noted above.

Key Publications

View full list of publications

Books

  • Brown M (2014) Penal Power and Colonial Rule. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.
  • Cunneen C, Baldry E, Brown D, Schwartz M, Steel A & Brown M (2013) Penal culture and hyperincarceration: The revival of the prison. Routledge.
  • Brown M (2005) The New Punitiveness: Trends, Theories, Perspectives. Willan Pub.
  • Brown M & Pratt J (2000) Dangerous Offenders: Punishment and Social Order. London: Routledge.

Journal articles

Chapters

  • Brown M (2013) The iron cage of prison studies In Scott D (Ed.), Why Prison? (pp. 149-169). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Brown M (2011) Imprisonment and Detention In de Lint W & Marmo M (Ed.), Crime and Justice. Sydney: Thomson/Reuters.
  • Brown M (2010) Theorising Dangerousness In Nash M & Williams A (Ed.), Handbook of Public Protection. Collompton, Devon: Willan Publishing.