Women and Gender Seminar: Catherine O. Jacquet, University of Illinois at Chicago and Karissa Haugeberg, University of Iowa

Women and Gender Seminar
Friday, October 30, 2009

3:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Women, Violence, and Race in the Movements against Rape and Abortion
Commentator: Christine Stansell, University of Chicago  

Interracial Rape in the 1960s: Race and Sexual Equality in Maryland’s Giles-Johnson Case
Catherine O. Jacquet, University of Illinois at Chicago
 
Beginning in the 1950s, civil rights defense teams increasingly relied on the trope of the lying white woman when defending black men against accusations of interracial rape.  Using then-popular medico-legal theories that pathologized white women as neurotic and/or nymphomaniacs, this strategy effectively pitted black men as a group against white women as a group, trading one problematic stereotype (the black beast rapist) for another (the lying white woman). This paper looks at the Giles-Johnson case, a 1961 case of black-on-white sexual violence in Maryland that gained substantial local and national attention, to analyze the racialized and sexualized constructions that came to dominant interracial rape prosecutions by the 1960s.  Beginning in the 1950s, civil rights defense teams increasingly relied on the trope of the lying white woman when defending black men against accusations of interracial rape.  Using then-popular medico-legal theories that pathologized white women as neurotic and/or nymphomaniacs, this strategy effectively pitted black men as a group against white women as a group, trading one problematic stereotype (the black beast rapist) for another (the lying white woman). This paper looks at the Giles-Johnson case, a 1961 case of black-on-white sexual violence in Maryland that gained substantial local and national attention, to analyze the racialized and sexualized constructions that came to dominant interracial rape prosecutions by the 1960s. 

Women, Gender, and Violence in the Anti-Abortion Movement, 1990-2000
Karissa Haugeberg, University of Iowa

When U.S. antiabortion violence spiked in the 1990s, many attributed the use of extreme tactics to the influx of evangelical Christian men into the movement.  My research suggests that women had an instrumental role in perpetrating and justifying antiabortion violence during this period.  Women used violent tactics, including bombing clinics and shooting abortion providers.  In the extremist wing of the movement, women delivered speeches and wrote articles justifying violence, often in religious terms.  Meanwhile, women in the professionalized wing of the movement remained remarkably silent as activists began killing abortion providers.  I hope to reveal how the diverse groups of women who comprised the U.S. antiabortion movement during the 1990s participated in and responded to the proliferation of violence.