CfA: “House Arrest” – Historical Perspectives on a Criminal Sanction and Oppressive Measure (working title)In July, AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd was sentenced to eight months of house detention by a court in New Zealand. Recently the Olympic runner Oscar Pistorius was released from prison and placed under house arrest. In Iran opposition leaders Mehdi Karroubi, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mousavi’s wife Zahra Rahnavard have been under house arrest since February 2011 – without ever being tried in court.
Whether as an element of a legally sanctioned penal system or as a means of political intimidation and suppression: “House arrest” is a global phenomenon and, as such, has a long history. We can already trace this concept as liberia custodia in the times of the Roman Empire where persons of rank were put under surveillance and guard in the house of a senator while waiting for their trial. The Austrian Criminal Law of 1852 also consisted of – beside first- and second-degree arrest – house arrest; and during the 18th century the Free State of Bern used this form of imprisonment as well. Since the 1980s several countries have tested and introduced electronically monitored house arrest as an ambulant sanction and enforcement of sentences – often due to overcrowded detention facilities and leading to controversies.
In dictatorial and authoritarian regimes, during wartime and political crisis dissenters have seen themselves being imprisoned in their own houses and continually surveilled. Galilei Galileo had been punished for his heretical heliocentric ideas, being placed under house arrest for nine years, up to his death in 1642. In dynastical structures house arrest was deployed against monarchs deprived of their power. After the annexation of Korea by Japan in 1910 the last sovereign of the Korean Empire Sunjong was confined to house arrest where he died sixteen years later. Robert Havemann, an outspoken critic of the GDR regime, was confined to his home from 1976 to 1979. Very often it was women, for example in former European and Asian courts that were subjected to this form of imprisonment. A more recent case was the one of Aung San Suu Kyi who had been placed under house arrest by Myanmar’s military government on numerous occasions.
The list of persons having been kept under house arrest in different historical and political contexts is long. However, little is to be found as to the history and precise shape of the overall phenomenon “house arrest.” Against this background, the edited volume aims to assemble the different perspectives of historical research on house arrest as a punitive measure imposed on individuals by ruling systems or state authorities – in terms of either a criminal penalty or a suppressive measure against political opponents.
The editors are interested in a wide range of topics on the global phenomenon “house arrest” spanning from the micro level of individual experience to the macro level of political and social structure. For example, contributions might explore the discourse on house detention or look at target groups of house arrest in different historical contexts. From a legal point of view, it is of interest how and to which consequences former legal systems interpreted house detention with regard to the corresponding system of criminal-law sanctions: as enforcing a sentence or as a way of pre-trial custody. Attention should be also paid to the formal ‘legal’ basis of house arrests against political opponents. Another focus will be set on those ‘subsystems’ guaranteeing the actual enforcement of house arrest which ever since the 1990s also includes private contractors of electronic monitoring systems.
The goal of the edited volume is to bring together historical analysis with different perspectives and approaches. We are seeking for contributions by historians and those working in related disciplines, e.g. the Social or Legal Sciences. Diachronic perspectives as to the development in particular countries or legal systems will be welcomed as will be synchronic, comparing analysis, overviews as well as case studies.
Please send your proposals (max. 500 words) – in English or German – together with a short CV until 31 January 2016, to: Cornelia Baddack (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Frank Jacob (email@example.com). The editors will ask the authors of selected papers to submit their final articles (TNR 12, 1.5 spacing, max. 15-20 pages, footnotes following the latest Chicago Manual of Style) no later than 31 July 2016; the publication is scheduled for the end of 2016.