In the fall of this year, the Ivy League university of Yale will be offering a class that explicitly compares the American prison system to Nazi concentration camps, Soviet gulags, and other brutal authoritarian regimes throughout history, the New York Post reports.
The class, titled “Mass Incarceration in the Soviet Union and the United States,” falsely claims that the United States is currently operating “one of the most brutal prison societies in human history.” The course description says that the class will be “an investigation of the experience and purposes of mass incarceration in the Soviet Union and the United States in the twentieth century.”
To this end, the class will also compare the American prison system to “important comparative cases, such as Nazi Germany and Communist China.”
“Incarceration is central to the understanding, if not usually to the self-understanding, of a society,” the course description claims. “This course proposes a frontal approach to the subject, by investigating two of the major carceral systems of the twentieth century, the Soviet and the American.”
The class will be taught by History professor Timothy Snyder and Philosophy professor Jason Stanley. Stanley took to Twitter to further justify the course’s existence, claiming that “the United States is the nation with the highest incarceration rate in the world…almost 10 percent of the world’s prison population comes from the US’s traditionally oppressed minority, the 38 million black Americans.” He then went on to further claim, without any evidence, that “US prisons are famous for brutality.”
In the Soviet Union, such concentration camps – known as “gulags” – were primarily used for the imprisoning of minorities and political prisoners, often put to heavy labor or starved to death for opposing the Communist regime. In Nazi Germany, similar concentration camps were primarily used for rounding up and executing various minorities that did not support the Nazi regime, with Jews being the primary target, as well as Christians, Communists, homosexuals, and other groups.