The number of women who are victims of crime has always been higher than the number of women partaking as offenders. However, women were very often involved with crime - not always petty in nature. Previous research in women and crime in 19th century England has focused attention on the lives of women who committed crimes such as infanticide, or the social and economic situations that led to their working in the sex industry, and in doing so have explored the lives and times of women in 19th century England. This collection aims to write more women back into the criminal record by focusing on those women who committed violent crimes during this period. This collection asks what narratives were created about these women (and possibly their femininity), what were societal and cultural responses to these women and crimes, and what methodologies are employed by scholars to reveal the stories about women who have, until now, been ignored or overlooked?
Possible topics (but by no means limited to this list):
- Treatment of violent women by the courts early, mid- and late nineteenth century (changes to the punishment of violent offenders, perceptions in the courtroom of violent offenders)
- New methodologies by which we could study violent female criminals in the nineteenth century
- Possible crimes these violent women partook in: women who were part of street gangs; women involved in violent robberies; women who murdered for commission, revenge or jealousy; women who were involved in abductions, blackmail or extortion; women who were serial killers
- Violent women from the working vs middle or upper classes (outside of the traditional Madeline Smith; Constance Kent and Florence Maybrick cases): representations, responses to them
- Narratives from the offenders themselves and how they saw their place in English society, the significance of their crime, how they saw themselves as women etc.
- Newspaper narrative creation about violent female offenders
- Social changes that women’s crimes were in answer to
Entries to this collection will be in the range of 7,000-9,000 words due in early June 2012.
Please send abstracts (250 words) and short bio by 12th November 2011 to vicnagy AT gmail.com