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Brian Donovan
University of Kansas, Lawrence (Lawrence, KS 66045-7505)
Legal Narratives of Sexual Consent and Coercion in the Early Twentieth Century

Using transcripts of sex crime trials from 1900 to 1920 drawn from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice Trial Transcript Project, I examine the rhetorical construction of feminine and masculine sexuality in testimony about forced prostitution, seduction, statutory rape, and first-degree rape. My analysis of courtroom narratives of sexual coercion and coercion examines how legal actors made attributions of blame and causality, and the degree of power these plaintiffs and defendants were said to have over their bodies, passions, and sexual practices. This research will show how the legal sphere shapes relations between men and women, and acts as a central mechanism whereby gender inequality is both alleviated and perpetuated.

[Grant products]

Project fields:

Fellowships for University Teachers

Research Programs

$40,000 (approved)
$40,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
8/1/2005 – 7/31/2006