The bibliography provides information on writings dealing with the history of rape, including sexual child abuse, sexual harassment, sexual molestation, child prostitution, forced prostitution, sexual slavery, sexual(ized) violence. The blog informs about calls for papers, forthcoming events and new literature in this field.

January 8, 2010

WEBSITE: The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse (Ireland)

Description: "The Commission was established on 23 May, 2000, pursuant to the "Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse Act 2000" and given three primary functions:
* to hear evidence of abuse from persons who allege they suffered abuse in childhood, in institutions, during the period from 1940 or earlier, to the present day;
* to conduct an inquiry into abuse of children in institutions during that period and, where satisfied that abuse occurred, to determine the causes, nature, circumstances and extent of such abuse; and
* to prepare and publish reports on the results of the inquiry and on its recommendations in relation to dealing with the effects of such abuse."

Link: Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse.

THESIS: Airey, Jennifer L. "I would have kill'd myself with a knife": Sexual Violence, Courtroom Broadside, and the Restoration Stage.

Dissertation, Boston University, 2009, 248pp.

Abstract: "My dissertation proposes a new context for reading dramatic depictions of sexual violence on the Restoration stage by examining the intersection of scandal, drama, and the legal process. Representations of rape expose the symbiotic relationship between the playhouse and the scandal sheet; scandal sheets draw upon dramatic conventions to increase their popular appeal, creating a fusion of proto-journalism and playwriting. Restoration plays simultaneously responded to and co-opted the sexually violent language of the broadsides as part of a larger cultural debate about the nature of theater and politics. In both genres, rape functions as a rhetorical device that encodes pervasive fears about illicit circulation and cultural contamination.
By reconstructing the deposition process preserved in archival records of late seventeenth-century sexual assaults, I argue that the testimony of victims was shaped by the expectations of the individual clerk and by a series of required questions. Scandal sheets, by contrast, were shaped by dramatic conventions, and playwrights drew in turn on the language of those broadsides. In The Country Wife and The Plain Dealer, discussed in Chapter One, William Wycherley utilizes the sexually violent language of popular pamphlets to discredit the most hysterical antitheatrical pronouncements of his puritanical critics. In the Earl of Rochester's Tragedy of Valentinian (Chapter Two), rape is a dramatic myth and rhetorical tool; by harnessing the political power of the myth of Lucrece, Lucina effects political change. Nathaniel Lee's Lucius Junius Brutus (Chapter Three) employs the political rhetoric of the scandal sheets to reveal a wider discomfort with the nature of sexual and political circulation. And in Edward Ravenscroft's adaptation of Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus (Chapter Four), the act of rape blends with the images of cannibalism and miscegenation to construct a powerful critique of James II's Catholicism. My final chapter returns to the culture of legal voyeurism and examines the theatricalization of scandal narrative in late-century renderings of the trial of Lord Castlehaven in 1631. I conclude by looking forward to Frederick, Lord Baltimore's trial in 1768, popular depictions of which drew on the literary tropes of Richardson's Pamela."

Full Text: ProQuest. [Limited preview.]

THESIS: Balli, Cecilia. Murdered Women on the Border: Gender, Territory and Power in Ciudad Juarez.

Dissertation, Rice University, 2009, 205pp.

Abstract: "This dissertation examines the sexual killing of women in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, at the turn of the 21st century. Focusing on the abduction and murder of a 15-year-old young woman named Esmeralda Herrera Monreal, whose body was recovered in 2001 in a mass grave that included seven other female victims, it questions how the social categories of gender, space and power shape both everyday violence and the murder of women in a highly industrialized yet structurally underdeveloped city. The dissertation examines varying notions of womanhood in Esmeralda's family in the context of domestic violence, migration from urban to rural contexts, and the experience of sexual murder. It also argues that gendered violence is the product of an emergent form of hypermasculinity in U.S.-Mexico border zones, informed by the history, style and logics of militarization and organized crime. The dissertation then explores the spatial geography of violence in Juárez, and how the victimization of both men and women is shaped by the constant struggle between social groups for sovereignty and control of territory. Finally, it traces the development of a new configuration of power in border zones that is produced between the interstices of the State, the secondary State of organized crime, and of capital, a form of power that relies on the continued production of violence and terror for its reproduction and maintenance. Throughout the dissertation, narrative and ethnography are employed strategically in order to help make sense of an episode of social crime that superficially appears to defy meaning."

Full Text: ProQuest. [Limited preview.]

THESIS: Beltran-Garibay, Ira. Sex and the Nation: Sexuality and Criminal Justice in Revolutionary Mexico, 1920-1940.

Dissertation, City University of New York, 2009, 297pp.

Abstract: "This dissertation examines the way in which notions of sexuality were interpreted and reworked by the criminal justice system and the citizens that fell under its purview during the decades immediately following the revolutionary struggle in Mexico. The dissertation examines legal and criminological literature as well as a sample of four hundred and fourteen cases drawn from Mexico City criminal and juvenile courts. The cases include criminal offenses such as rape and seduction, and homosexuality, prostitution, incest, indecent behavior and indiscipline in the home among minors. It traces the foreign and national influences that shaped the Mexican criminological establishment's views on sexuality and argues that despite major reforms to the criminal justice system after the Revolution, many continuities existed between Revolutionary legal approaches to sexuality and those of its Profirian predecessor. At the same time, the dissertation examines closely the way in which court officials during the 1920s and 1930s constructed arguments and reached court decisions. In this way, the dissertation shows the way in which old notions of honor and sexual purity were put to the test under the new Revolutionary regime. It reveals how traditional understandings of sexuality could coexist with "modern" notions. An examination of the cases reveals what conflicts could occur between reform-minded government officials and the general public that sought the intervention of the courts to solve disputes of a sexual nature. Finally, the dissertation shows how the Revolutionary criminal justice system could only be successful when the goals of the public officials coincided or, at the very least overlapped with those of the citizens that were involved in the court trials."

Full Text: ProQuest. [Limited preview.]

THESIS: Bueno-Hansen, Pascha. The Use and Abuse of Human Rights: Women and the Internal Armed Conflict in Peru.

Dissertation, University of California, Santa Cruz, 2009, 275pp.

Abstract: "This dissertation examines efforts by the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (PTRC) (2001-2003) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to document what happened to women during the internal armed conflict in Peru (1980-2000). As in other countries, Peruvian state institutions and civil society groups rely upon international human rights instruments due to the lack of a national legal framework to address human rights violations against women, such as sexual violence. Given that rural Quechua-speaking women were targeted in Peru's systematic sexual violence, this research explores two issues: (1) how the PTRC and NGOs work between international human rights doctrine, national law and community notions of justice and (2) how their documentation projects address social exclusion.
An institutional ethnographic orientation allows me to position each documentation project as an entry point for examining the struggles of meaning and priorities regarding the impact of the internal armed conflict on women. Moreover, this approach highlights both the institutional and legal strategies used to address the impact of conflict on women and the documentation project's complicity with and/or disruption of neo-colonial, masculinist systems of representation, particularly within the Peruvian nation building narrative. My multi-sited field research includes archival research, participant observation, interviews and discussion groups. My research demonstrates how social exclusions based on gender, raced/ethnicity, language, rurality and class are compounded in sexual violence during internal armed conflict. Therefore, the success of efforts to document this human rights violation hinges upon an analysis of compound oppression. Such an analysis facilitates positioning the victims as subjects with their own understandings and hopes of justice.
This analysis of the impact of the internal armed conflict on women offers a framework for addressing historic social exclusions in the world's current conflicts. Such a framework contributes to increasingly expansive understandings and practices of democracy and justice. Furthermore, the writing practice I employ aims to democratize voice by honoring multiple consciousness and valuing storytelling and testimony, thereby blurring the bounds with legal frameworks and rational social science singularity. This practice has the goal of maximizing and envisioning democratic futures through struggles in the present."

Full Text: ProQuest. [Limited preview.]

THESIS: Kelly, Walter S. Trials by Deviance: Sexual Slander during the Wars of Religion, the Fronde, and the French Revolution.

Dissertation, City University of New York, 2009, 309pp.

Abstract: "This interdisciplinary dissertation in the fields of history, religion, mythology, politics, literature, cultural studies, art, gender, and sexuality examines how sexually slanderous texts against persons at or near the top of the French monarchy of the Ancien Régime assaulted both the reputation of its targets and contributed to regicides and to the eventual revolution. And, while the foremost aim of sexual slander, which increased significantly with each reign, was to harm the target, paradoxically it also helped to recreate and solidify gender and sexual norms.
The texts analyzed in this dissertation were written against Henri III (1551-1589), Cardinal Mazarin (1602-1661), and Marie Antoinette (1755-1793). In these periods there appear to be four common factors: a civil war, a deteriorating economy, a "problematic" ruler, and an environment in which censorship was loose and sexually explicit texts were popular. Though each political figure dominated France nearly 100 years apart, slander attacking them reveals remarkably similar traits, emphasizing sexually deviant acts, such as rape, incest, bestiality, and sodomitical and tribadic practices. The texts also employ the same techniques, among which, verisimilitude, intertextuality, hyperbole, repetition, accumulation, ventriloquism, mythological, and biblical references, xenophobia (notably against Italy), scapegoating, and obscenity.
The first chapter examines sexually slanderous texts condemning Henri III during the Wars of Religion. Protestants, Catholics, and courtiers condemned the Valois king for his effeminate dress and his intimate relations with his male favorites, referred to as mignons. Ultimately, the king was assassinated in 1589 by Catholic fanatic Jacques Clément (1567-1589).
The second chapter analyzes texts against Cardinal Mazarin, the de facto ruler along with queen regent Anne d'Autriche (1601-1666) during the civil wars of the Fronde. Both cardinal and queen were attacked for their supposedly sexual relationship. Mazarin was also denounced for sodomitical acts, his Italian heritage exploited in claims that he enjoyed the "Italian Vice".
Sexually slanderous texts against Marie Antoinette are the focus of the third and final chapter of this dissertation. The queen was not only cast as having cuckolded the king and of having borne false heirs, but she was also accused of tribadic relations with her female favorites."

Full Text: ProQuest. [Limited preview.]

THESIS: Kotch, Seth. Unduly Harsh and Unworkably Rigid: The Death Penalty in North Carolina, 1910--1961.

Dissertation, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2009, 290pp.

This graduate work has been published as open access.

Abstract: "Some contemporary observers believe that southern states' prolific execution record can be traced back to a violent southern past. But an examination of concerns about the pain inflicted by the noose, the electric chair, and the gas chamber; of the complex influence of race on the death penalty process; of recommendations of mercy by jurors and governors' acts of executive clemency; and of the controversy that these issues raised reveals that the history of the death penalty in North Carolina, the South, and the nation, is much more nuanced.
Concerns about pain and its effects on an audience inspired lawmakers to try to make executions less painful and less visible. North Carolina became among the nation's first adopters of the electric chair and the gas chamber, but failed to dull public interest in executions and focused the conversation about the death penalty on methods rather than motivations. The racism of the Jim Crow South informed the death penalty, and North Carolina disproportionately executed African Americans, especially those who committed crimes against whites. However, all-white juries could show even African Americans accused of shocking crimes some leniency, applying a brutal logic that revealed the flexibility of the racial caste system. In an era when murder, rape, burglary, and arson carried mandatory death sentences, juries showed mercy by withholding guilty verdicts, formally recommending life sentences, following a guilty verdict with petitions to the governor for clemency. North Carolinians knew that their death penalty was capricious, and they exploited it to introduce mercy into the process. All the while, some North Carolinians were trying to persuade their fellow citizens to reject death as punishment.
This dissertation invites a reconsideration of vengeance, justice, and race in one southern state. The death penalty's history in North Carolina is one of anxieties and ambivalence as much as racism and vengeance."

Full Text: ProQuest. [Limited preview.]

THESIS: Lave, Tamara R. Constructing and Controlling the Sexually Violent Predator: An American Obsession.

Dissertation, University of California, Berkeley, 2009, 288pp.

Abstract: "My dissertation examines the sexually violent predator laws. These laws allow the state to commit individuals to a locked mental hospital for the rest of their lives after they have completed their prison sentence. I question the underlying justifications for the laws as well as whether they have impacted the rate of sexual homicide and/or forcible rape. I find that many of the underlying justifications are incorrect and that the laws have had no impact on these crimes.
In conducting my analysis, I use data from a variety of legal, historical, and other sources. These include: the Supplementary Homicide Reports to analyze trends in sex related homicides from 1976-2006 as well as characteristics about the offender, the victim, and the crime; the National Crime Victimization Survey to paint a picture of the rape victim as compared with the rape homicide victim, and the Uniform Crime Reports to compare offenders who rape with offenders who rape and kill. I also gather my own data from states with SVP laws and then use it to analyze demographics about SVP's including age at admission and current age.
This dissertation also questions the assumption that the state can accurately identify those who will re-offend. I show that the methods used to predict future dangerousness are not very accurate and that the best instruments currently in use commit many offenders who would not re-offend for every one who would.
Finally, this dissertation tests whether the laws have had any measurable impact on the rate of sexual homicide and/or forcible rape. I use a Difference in Difference regression to estimate this impact and an event study analysis to display the post SVP passage effects on the incidence of both crimes. My results suggest that the SVP laws have had no statistically significant impact on the incidence of either crime. As part of this analysis, I look at the age frequency distribution of sex killers in SVP states pre and post passage in an attempt to find more sensitive indicators of SVP prevention. Once again, I find no effect."

Full Text: ProQuest. [Limited preview.]

THESIS: Noon, Mary J. Beyond reaking the Silence: Race, Gender, and Survivor Subjectivities.

in Feminist Rape Narratives by Contemporary American Women of Color.
M.A. Thesis, Texas Christian University, 2009, 161pp.

Abstract: "Rape in the United States is hugely problematic, with current studies estimating that "one out of every six American women have been the victims of an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime" (RAINN). Unfortunately, very few historical or contemporary rape narratives examine rape as a social phenomenon, allow the victims to voice their experiences, or see breaking the silence as a first, and not a final, step towards challenging the occurrence of sexual violence. Of the feminist rape literature that does accomplish this, I examine the novels Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison (1992), I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou (1969), Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina García (1992) and Jasmine by Bharati Mukherjee (1989). Collectively these books represent a contemporary challenge to current ignorance about rape."

Full Text: ProQuest. [Limited preview.]

THESIS: Ripple, Ashley D. A Hermeneutical Analysis of Communication Strategies of Multivocal Narratives of the Rwandan Mass Rapes.

M.A. Thesis, University of South Alabama, 2009, 71pp.

Abstract: "A survivor's voice has the potential to frame significant crisis events, which give meaning to experience, and have the potential to transform lives. Collectively, these stories form narratives through which key ideas are developed and understood. The Rwandan women's voices are understood through complex multivocal narratives that exist on three levels of experience: personal harm, community rape, and national genocide. Considerable scholarship in intercultural communication and feminist theory suggests that the wartime rape affects the three levels of experience. The ability of a collective wartime rape survivor to find their voice and communicate their story is a critical capacity for restoring community and rebuilding a nation. Voice and multivocality are explored within the context of the narratives of the survivors of the Rwandan women and their response to collective wartime rape."

Full Text: ProQuest. [Limited preview.]

THESIS: Sabourin, Kimberly M. The Female Body, the Battlefield: The Use of Sexual Violence Against Women as a Systematic Tool of Warfare.

M.A. Thesis, Webster University, 2009, 117pp.

Abstract: "In the present day, in the face of the ever-changing nature of conflict, civilians have become the predominant victims. Few have suffered a more horrible fate in these conflicts than the women and young girls who have been subjected to rape and sexual violence as tools for the conduct of war. This piece attempts to explain the reasons for the use of this violence by offering the following statement: Sexual violence is used as a systematic weapon of war, genocide, and ethnic cleansing, and ultimately serves as an extension of the pre-existing culture of patriarchy and is a heteronormative extension of power through which male dominance and superiority can be established by the perpetrators. In order to analyze the validity of this statement, the document conducts four separate case studies: Nanking, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Rwanda, and Sudan. It subsequently proceeds to analyze the broad themes and patterns, including an analysis of its use as a strategy of war, the use of genocidal rape, and the idea of its use and a correlation with misogyny. Following this, the author examines the current state of international law in relation to rape and sexual violence, highlighting its successes and failures. The author concludes by emphasizing the importance of empowering women, and actively involving them in all stages of conflict resolution in order to put an end to the most extreme use of violence against humanity."

Full Text: ProQuest. [Limited preview.]

THESIS: Smyth, Michael A. Perversion and Punishment: Law, Media, and the Meaning of "Prison Rape".

Dissertation, University of California, Irvine, 2009, 234pp.

Abstract: "My dissertation investigates the role of cultural forces and attendant ideologies in determining the current field of thought about rape in carceral settings. Very broadly, I locate this research within the sociology of punishment. More specifically, the theoretical platform upon which my analysis is mounted draws upon two previously un-related perspectives, Garland's (2001) cultural-analytic model and constitutive legal scholarship. Focusing on legal and print news media discourse generated from 1969 through 2006, this research reveals the genealogy of the arguably iconic meaning of "prisoner rape" reified in the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 and, in doing so, illuminates a number of ideological conflicts in how sexual violence and state punishment are understood."

Full Text: ProQuest. [Limited preview.]

THESIS: Snyder, Justin A. A Sociology of Trauma: Violence and Self-Identity.

Dissertation, University of Virginia, 2009, 282pp.

Abstract: "This project relates the experience of violence to self-identity. It involves a systematic content analysis of memoirs published on rape, terrorism, genocide, and war. The content analysis provided a complex typology of traumatic stressors that is general to the instances of violence considered. The typology is a style of formal sociology comparable to what has been termed social pattern analysis (Zerubavel 2007). The identified stressors are as follows: the symbolic and cognitive expansion of violence, the loss of self-propriety during violent physical exchanges, the frustration of mundane choices and routines, and the blurring of moral and cognitive boundaries.
A theoretical description was fit to the empirical findings. The typology illustrates that more happens in the process of violence than just direct physical harm. I employ the concepts of reflexivity and authenticity to describe the traumatic meaning of these events. Reflexivity and authenticity are two interrelated concepts used to capture aspects of contemporary Western self-identity. During violence, reflexivity and authenticity appear impossible; the stressors undermine an individual's basic confidence in his or her self-concept. As a consequence, individuals experience a comprehensive mortification of the self. Symptoms of posttraumatic disorder (PTSD) result from this experience of severe humiliation."

Full Text: ProQuest. [Limited preview.]

CFP: Women's Studies Quarterly, Special Issue: Safe

"This special issue of WSQ invites work that will contribute to an exploration of safety and security, broadly conceived. We welcome academic papers from a variety of disciplinary approaches including theory, empirical research, literary and cultural studies, as well as creative prose, poetry, artwork, memoir and biography. Suggested topics may include but are not limited to: Bioethics, biopolitics; Children, childhood, family and safety; Crisis and resolution, memory; Discipline; docility; drill; habit-formation; Domestic space, domestic violence, haven, home, shelter, retreat, refugees; The politics of food safety; Geography and mapping, enclosures/prisons, harbors and asylums; Security state, homeland security, environmental security, job security; Illnesses, epidemics, preventions, screenings, health risks, health care; Otherness, ethnicized and marginalized populations, borders and enclosures; Risk society, theories of risk, technology, prediction; Sex, pain, pleasure and risk; Terror and/of terrorism, war & trauma, treaty and alliance, recovery."
Submission deadline: March 10, 2010.

More information: H-Net Announcements.

CONF: Sixth Annual Student Conference on Race, Gender, and Sexuality

University of Vermont, February 6, 2010.

"We are seeking scholarly papers from any discipline exploring issues surrounding race, gender, and sexuality. Papers focusing on the intersection of these areas are particularly encouraged. The submissions can be drawn from papers students have written for previous courses or are writing for courses they are currently taking. We also encourage the submission of creative projects on this topic."

More information: H-Net Announcements.

CFP: 2010 Annual Meeting of the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences

Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, June 2-4, 2010.

"We welcome proposals for papers in any area of law and society scholarship. We encourage participants to submit suggestions for complete panels and round tables, but also welcome individual submissions."

Further information: H-Net Announcements.

CONF: The Role of "the Enemy" in War Propaganda

9th European Conference on Information Warfare and Security, Thessaloniki, Greece, July 1-2, 2010.

"The papers of this track discuss the role of enemy images and enemy-centred propaganda in many different settings, both past and present."

More information: H-Net Announcements.

CFP: Intersections of Trauma, Memory & Narrative

RMMLA Convention, Albuquerque, New Mexico, October 14-16, 2010.

"This special topic session invites papers addressing the intersection of trauma, memory and narrative. What is a narrative of trauma? How are trauma narratives informed by memory, history and culture? What is the relationship between trauma and memory (or forgetting) and how does this relationship shape “ethnic” literary traditions? Particular attention will be given to papers that engage with theories of trauma studies and memory studies."
Submission deadline for abstracts: March 1, 2010.

Further information: Calls for Papers website.

CFP: Making Disappearing Women Appear: Representing the Maquiladoras Murders

Panel Proposal for the American Studies Association 2010 Conference: "Crisis, Chains, and Change: American Studies for the 21st Century," San Antonio, Texas, November 18-21, 2010.

"Building upon the work of Wright, who disinters the cultural logics that inform both the gendered labor of factory work at the border and responses to the murders, this proposed panel seeks to assess representations that attempt to call attention to the maquiladoras murders and analyze the questions they raise about neoliberalism, disposable life, corporate culpability, and spectacle culture as well as the discourses of sex, femininity, value, profit, and vulnerability that sustain the inequitable (and gendered) intersections of the Global North and South."
Submission deadline for abstracts: January 18, 2010.

Further information: H-Net Announcements.

CFP: Human Rights/Social Rights: The Twentieth-Century Predicament

Berlin and Potsdam, December 2-4, 2010.

"The conference aims to explore the multiple uses of the concept of rights in the context of the internationalization of the social, and throughout such key moments of social rights institutionalization as, for example, the ILO Declaration of Philadelphia in 1944 or the adoption of the UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in 1966. In particular, it focuses on social rights as an important case of interaction between histories of socialism, the demise of colonial empires and the rise of international organizations. It seeks to historicize the engagement with notions of rights by empires, states, transnational and local actors in an era of ideological divisions and emerging forms of state interventionism. The aim of the conference is to interrogate how social rights, as a concept and a political currency, were historically distinguished, used, internationalized and challenged within (and outside of) the human rights discourse. ... Possible topics include: Economic and social rights; Women's rights; Children's rights; Minority rights and group rights; Consumer rights; Labor/organizations; Education; Disability; Social entitlements and social provisioning; Standard of living; Race; Development; Social justice."
Submission deadline for abstracts: February 15, 2010.

Further information: H-Net Announcements.

CFP: Alconbury Press

Description: »Alconbury is a newly established press dedicated to making available works of original research and research materials. We are actively seeking book length studies for publication in the fields of history and the social sciences. Titles by new researchers are particularly welcome.«

More information: H-Net Announcements.