Join us for this seminar our Summer Series, featuring Dr Hannah Telling with the paper titled: ‘“Villainous Harpies”: Women, everyday violence, and justice in Scotland, 1850-1914’
This seminar will take place on Wednesday 22nd June 2022 at 4pm (GMT)
Register for your place on the Zoom webinar here!
‘“Villainous Harpies”: Women, everyday violence, and justice in Scotland, 1850-1914’
Leaf through the pages of a nineteenth century Scottish newspaper and a cultural fascination with crime, vice and violence is ever-present. Whilst throughout this period, violent crime (with a few exceptions) became increasingly associated with the masculine excesses of unruly working-class men, women were by no means immune from either criminal enterprise or the long arm of the law. Indeed, in the Scottish press, references to wayward women were commonplace. ‘Violent furies’ assaulted lone men on dark streets for the sake of the few shillings in his pocket, ‘fair bruisers’ settled workplace disputes with their fists in front of cheering crowds, and ‘household fiends’ upended the household hierarchy as declared ‘husband-beaters’. Yet, whilst treated as an object of derision (or just salacious entertainment), representations of women’s violent offending often lacked the inherent threat that men’s equivalent behaviour implied. To what extent, therefore, did ideas of gender shape official and cultural responses to criminalised female violence in this period, and how did ideas of class, ethnicity and respectability intersect with this? Focusing on women’s alleged violent offending and its prosecution before Scotland’s Police and Sheriff Courts between 1850 and 1914, this paper will explore what an examination of women’s experience of justice can reveal about gender, class, punishment and ideas of criminal capacity in Scotland between 1850 and 1914.
About the Speaker:
Dr Hannah Telling is a historian of gender, crime, and justice in late modern Scotland. She is a postdoctoral researcher based at the University of Glasgow, where she completed her PhD (2020) on judicial and societal responses to male violence in nineteenth-century Scotland. As the 2020-21 Economic History Society Power Fellow, Hannah expanded her focus to explore women’s experience of justice in Scotland. She is writing a book, titled Criminal Types: Violent Crime and Justice in Scotland, 1850-1914. Hannah tweets (sporadically) as @Hannah_Telling