Femininities and Masculinities: Looking Backward and Moving Forward In Criminal Legal Historical Gender Research
This chapter first reviews the foundational works and thinking that put the criminal legal history of gender on the academic map, setting an ambitious research agenda that remains inspirational. The second section explores the topic of fatal femininities and masculinities by considering how feminist scholars and masculinity researchers have shaped our analysis of men and women who murder intimates. The third section examines how historians, beginning in the 1970s, came to consider the enduring and historically variable contexts of the crime’s perpetration, policing, and punishment. The last section discusses American exceptionalism—among Western advanced democracies the most murderous, and the nation in which race is held out to explain its unique history of rape. The conclusion identifies the challenges that remain and the need to review researchers’ reliance on the now-standard intersectional model of gender analysis.
This chapter discusses the violence of constitutional law, as verified by American constitutional history. It seeks to illuminate the centrality of violence to American constitutional history, and in so doing, illuminate the shape and trajectory, the limits and possibilities, of American constitutional law in the present. Although nothing could be easier than to find epic examples of injustice in American constitutional history, the object is not to call out injustice as such but to illustrate the violence—justified or not—at the root of and in the continuing history of American constitutional law. Using the history of ongoing controversies in the American constitutional law of crime, the chapter makes the case for the ongoing violence of constitutional law.