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    Intimate invasions: rape, race, age, and the law in California, 1848-1900

    Cunningham, Caitlin Ann (2020) Intimate invasions: rape, race, age, and the law in California, 1848-1900. Doctoral thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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    In the middle of the nineteenth century, mobilising ideologies of personal liberty and collective nationalist conquest, white Anglo Americans moved onto the Western frontier with renewed energy. Their efforts inaugurated an invasion and conquest of California that was both sexual and violent. Spurred by news of the Gold Rush, consolidation of American rule in the territory was swift after 1848 and characterised by a pervasive martial manliness. Throughout the remainder of the century, white Anglo Americans established and justified a social and institutional dominance that built upon the foundations of initial conquest. In this context, judges, juries, reporters, doctors, social commentators, and a wider public grappled with the complexities of sexual violence. In the debates and conflicts that arose around “rape” as a crime in California, gender, class, race, and age were all key dynamics that shaped the visibility sexual violation to contemporaries. Building on these factors, this thesis seeks to explore and interrogate the structures of “knowing” or “understanding” sexual violence in California between 1848 and 1900, to unpack the development of specific meanings of rape and attempted rape both in law and in broader society. It does so by specifically narrowing in on the ways in which age and race interacted with gender and class to structure understandings of “rapable” and “unrapable” bodies.


    Item Type: Thesis
    Additional Information: This thesis is not currently available for public use
    Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
    Depositing User: Acquisitions And Metadata
    Date Deposited: 13 Jul 2020 17:31
    Last Modified: 01 Nov 2023 14:23


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