Friday, April 9, 2010

Hall and Harris on The Story of U.S. v. Cruikshank

Hidden Histories, Racialized Gender, and the Legacy of Reconstruction: The Story of United States v. Cruikshank has been posted by Rebecca Hall, and Angela P. Harris, University of California, Berkeley. The essay is forthcoming in Women and the Law Stories (Elizabeth Schneider and Stephanie Wildman, eds.). Here's the abstract:
This chapter from the forthcoming book Women and the Law Stories, to be published by Foundation Press (Elizabeth Schneider and Stephanie Wildman, eds.), explores the story behind United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U.S. 542 (1875). In this decision the Supreme Court held, relying on its reasoning in The Slaughter-House Cases, that federal indictments against perpetrators of the racially-motivated Colfax Massacre of 1873 could not stand, because the indictments did not enumerate the specific rights of national citizenship that were violated when the victims were killed.

To the extent that this case is remembered at all, it is remembered as a race case. But this case marks the death knell of a human rights regime that, in recognizing the indissolubility of race and gender, the private and the public, and political, civil, and social rights, responded in a sophisticated way to the regime we call racialized gender. In the Reconstruction period (as in the present), racial identities were formed and maintained in part through ideas about gender and sexuality, and white racist violence frequently took the form of sexual violence, as in rapes and lynchings. Beginning with congressional testimony given by a black woman, Frances Thompson, about her rape by a white police officer during the 1866 Memphis Riots, we argue that understanding how post-Civil War white supremacy operated through ideologies of gender and sexuality can enrich our understanding of feminist history and constitutional law and theory.

5 comments:

Shag from Brookline said...

Can this essay be downloaded?

Mary L. Dudziak said...

I've fixed the link, so please try again. Thanks for the heads up.

Shag from Brookline said...

The fix works. Thanks. I was attracted to this because of the brouhaha during recent oral arguments before SCOTUS on the McDonald v. Chicago gun control case relative to the P/I clause of the 14th Amendment. Jack Balkin at Balkinization in a post had suggested that instead of SCOTUS focusing upon the Slaughterhouse cases re: P/I that the focus should be upon overturning Cruikshank. Then as I started reading this relatively short chapter, I was reminded of the recent proclamation by VA's governor to celebrate the Confederacy during this month of April. Jack had a couple of prompt posts at his Blog on this. I read about two-thirds of the chapter and then got to today's Sunday NYTimes where Jon Meacham's OpEd "Southern Discomfort" addresses the VA governor's proclamation. Also, on the same page was Maureen Dowd's column "Worlds Without Women" with its focus on recent headlines on Catholic Church issues that have been in the news.

All of these in conjunction with Hall and Harris' chapter have a connection. Today I am a woman, and I am roaring mad.

Shag from Brookline said...

The download consisted of 21 pages. It is obvious that this is not complete. Part II appears not to be complete and Part III is entirely missing. Can you check on this? Thanks.

Mary L. Dudziak said...

Authors often post drafts to SSRN, so it's likely that this is simply the current draft of this forthcoming piece. In any event, questions about an SSRN paper are better directed to the authors. You can find links to the authors' contact information on the abstract page for their paper.