Friday, December 12, 2014

Aaronson's "From Slave Abuse to Hate Crime"

Ely Aaronson, an Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Haifa, Israel, has published From Slave Abuse to Hate Crime: The Criminalization of Racial Violence in American History, in Cambridge Historical Studies in American Law and Society, edited by Christopher L. Tomlins at the Cambridge University Press.
This book explores the complex ways in which political debates and legal reforms regarding the criminalization of racial violence have shaped the development of American racial history. Spanning previous campaigns for criminalizing slave abuse, lynching, and Klan violence and contemporary debates about the legal response to hate crimes, this book reveals both continuity and change in terms of the political forces underpinning the enactment of new laws regarding racial violence in different periods and of the social and institutional problems that hinder the effective enforcement of these laws. A thought-provoking analysis of how criminal law reflects and constructs social norms, this book offers a new historical and theoretical perspective for analyzing the limits of current attempts to use criminal legislation as a weapon against racism.
 A blurb:
"With a broad chronological sweep from the colonial era to the present day, Ely Aaronson for the first time illuminates the connections between efforts to criminalize violence against African Americans under slavery and Jim Crow and hate crime legislation today. Putting the tools of sociological analysis to work, he recasts familiar stories in a new and fascinating light, showing the way criminal justice - or injustice - works to perpetuate racial hierarchies. A must-read for students of law, history, criminology, and critical race studies."
Ariela J. Gross, John B. and Alice R. Sharp Professor of Law and History, University of Southern California Law School
And the TOC:
  1. Towards a historical and sociological analysis of the criminalization of racial violence
  2. Progressive criminalization at the heart of darkness?: the legal response to the victimization of slaves in the colonial and antebellum South
  3. 'Social equality is not a subject to be legislated upon': the rise and fall of federal pro-black criminalization policy, 1865–1909
  4. 'We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with': campaigning for criminalization reform in the long civil rights movement, 1909–1968
  5. Criminalizing racial hatred, legitimizing racial inequality: hate-crime laws and the new politics of pro-black criminalization
  6.  Conclusion: criminalization reform and egalitarian social change – an uneasy relationship