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

Crime and Culture in the Much Bigger Picture: HBO’s ‘Exterminate All the Brutes’

I just read a review of a new docu-series on HBO, Exterminate All the Brutes, which seems fitting for the discussion of this blog. The series takes a long and broad look at the ways "whiteness" has been shaped and enforced around the globe and in the modern age. More explicitly, the four-part series is … Continue reading Crime and Culture in the Much Bigger Picture: HBO’s ‘Exterminate All the Brutes’

An Interview with an MFM Facebook Group Admin

I’ve talked a bit about the style and content of the popular true crime comedy podcast, My Favorite Murder, launched in 2016 by Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff (see here, here, and here). The show is a significant milestone in the true crime economy. It re-circulates stories already established as true crime morbid worthy, and … Continue reading An Interview with an MFM Facebook Group Admin

Making an Appeal: The Marshall Project

If you watched Netflix’s Unbelievable, or read the non-fiction book, A False Report, then you’ve already encountered the work of The Marshall Project. Named for the civil rights lawyer and first African American to serve on the United States Supreme Court, The Marshall Project works “to elevate the criminal justice issue to one of national … Continue reading Making an Appeal: The Marshall Project

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

What I’m Reading: March Update

I did pretty well with getting through my handful of books I was trying to read earlier this month.  I think posting my reading list actually helped me get through reading more efficiently. So here is another mini reading list for books I'm working on: The Evidence of Things Unseen, by James Baldwin I've recently … Continue reading What I’m Reading: March Update

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

Will the Current True Crime Moment Shift Cultural Anxiety from the Victim to the Accused?

I've been wondering about one possible outcome of the cultural turn, over the last decade, towards true crime representations of problematic prosecution procedures. I'm thinking of podcasts like Serial or documentary film projects like The Staircase or Making a Murderer or the short Netflix film, Long Shot.  Each of these productions draw audience attention away from … Continue reading Will the Current True Crime Moment Shift Cultural Anxiety from the Victim to the Accused?