The Newberry Seminar in Early American History presents:
"The Public Use of Rape in Late Colonial and Early Republic America"
Sharon Block, University of California, Irvine March 29, 2001, 3:30-5:00pm, Newberry Library
Rather than examining the prosecution of rape by the legal system, "The Public Uses of Rape" asks how early Americans created a popular discourse of rape. I argue that rape only became an appropriate topic for public discussion by eliding women's subjectivity. Thus rapes became publicly useful as stories about men's relations with one another. Using sources from multiple genres and forums, I show how stories of rape could be used to define social power, nationalism and racial boundaries in terms of masculine identities. Finally I make preliminary suggestions about the ways that this discourse related to early American practices of rape.
The seminar format assumes participants have read the paper in advance. Please do not request a paper unless you plan to attend. Papers are precirculated electronically whenever possible. To receive a paper contact Rebekah Holmes in the Scholl Center by e-mail or phone.
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