The Mann Act, ‘White Slave Trade,’ and Cultural Construction of Race Through Criminal Codes

Often the work of cultural -- or other kinds of -- analysis involves juxtaposing different phenomena or discourses that haven’t been compared in that way before. Sometimes just placing two things together will help illuminate something new about one or the other. This is because analysis relies on perspective, and perspective is impacted by context: … Continue reading The Mann Act, ‘White Slave Trade,’ and Cultural Construction of Race Through Criminal Codes

Criminalizing Race and Sex With Conspiracy Theories: Turn of the Century New York City and the so-called White Slave Trade

I’ve written about the importance of analyzing recent popular and fringe rhetoric about sex trafficking from a longer historical perspective, as well as from a cultural studies perspective, elsewhere. I’ve been contending here and elsewhere that the current cultural attention to organized sex trafficking,* along with the more absurd theories about Hillary Clinton’s “Pizzagate” ring, … Continue reading Criminalizing Race and Sex With Conspiracy Theories: Turn of the Century New York City and the so-called White Slave Trade

Just a tidbit I came across: data analysis of crime TV dramas indicates that fictional victims are overwhelmingly white women

U.S. Television’s “Mean World” for White Women: The Portrayal of Gender and Race on Fictional Crime Dramas, July 2015, Sex Roles 73(1):70-82. Authors: Scott Parrott and Caroline Titcomb Parrott From the research abstract: A quantitative content analysis examined gender and racial stereotypes concerning victim and offender status in fictional crime-based dramas from the 2010–2013 seasons … Continue reading Just a tidbit I came across: data analysis of crime TV dramas indicates that fictional victims are overwhelmingly white women

Edmond Locard’s “Exchange Principle”

Edmond Locard (1877-1966) was a French criminologist and is considered the “father of forensic science.” His most famous legacy is probably “Locard’s Exchange Principle,” which is the basic notion that “Every contact leaves a trace.” More specifically, whenever two objects come into contact, there is always a transfer of material. This principle is a foundation … Continue reading Edmond Locard’s “Exchange Principle”

Why is the spy trade so white and male? (and RIP John Le Carre)

Why is the spy genre -- in nonfiction history and journalism as well as in fiction -- so male and so white? I found myself wondering this recently while reading Broker, Trader, Lawyer, Spy: The Secret World of Corporate Espionage (2010, Harper Collins), by Eamon Javers. It’s a good book: generally well researched and well … Continue reading Why is the spy trade so white and male? (and RIP John Le Carre)

Who is the “Lady Detective” on the cover art?

It’s time to talk about the image I use here on my blog and on my Twitter profile: the book cover for Revelations of a Lady Detective. And, by the way, happy International Women's Day! According to Dagni A. Breseden, professor of Victorian Literature at Eastern Illinois University, there is an unsettled debate about which … Continue reading Who is the “Lady Detective” on the cover art?

San Francisco’s “Green Glove Rapist” and the case of the missing narrative

Let’s get this out of the way: the mystery of this case is not that it is unsolved. It is, in fact, a “solved” case. Joseph Finkel was identified by multiple witnesses and convicted by a jury on January 29, 1944, on multiple charges of rape, attempted rape, assault, and burglary.  The San Francisco Examiner … Continue reading San Francisco’s “Green Glove Rapist” and the case of the missing narrative

When, and Why, are Forensic Tools Culturally Biased?

According to various measures, including FBI statistics, Black men are the most likely to be homicide victims in the United States. That includes unsolved cases, for which new genetic technology such as genealogy databases are increasingly playing a role. You’ve probably heard of some recent high profile breakthroughs using this genetic genealogy to solve the … Continue reading When, and Why, are Forensic Tools Culturally Biased?

Nose-splitting, Buttocks-stabbing, Pregnant-belly-kicking, and Other “Ritual” Gendered Violence in Medieval and Early Modern Europe

Pieter Speierenburg is a historian of criminology who describes his own work as being “at the crossroads of history, sociology, anthropology and criminology.” He has an affiliation with the Erasmus University of Rotterdam and has had visiting professorships at Carnegie Mellon and UC Berkeley. In 2008, he published a history of personal violence in Europe, … Continue reading Nose-splitting, Buttocks-stabbing, Pregnant-belly-kicking, and Other “Ritual” Gendered Violence in Medieval and Early Modern Europe