February 18, 2015

The Woman In the Courtroom

Linda Mulcahy, London School of Economics, Law Department, has published Watching Women: What Illustrations of Courtroom Scenes Tell Us About Women and the Public Sphere in the Nineteenth Century, at 42 Journal of Law and Society 53 (2015). Here is the abstract.

This article provides a revisionist account of the role of women in the legal system in the latter decades of the nineteenth century. Contrary to assertions that women played no role in trials other than as defendants and witnesses for most of our legal history, it suggests that women were much more active in the public sphere of Victorian law courts than previously envisaged. Drawing on depictions of trials in popular visual culture and fine art, it also reveals how images of the active female spectator challenged the emergence of new codes of behaviour which sought to protect the masculine realm of law from corruption by the feminine. It is argued that images have much to reveal about the socio‐legal dynamics of trials and the ways in which fine art has been complicit in the construction and reconstruction of behavioural codes in the courtroom.
The full text is not available from SSRN. 

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