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Women, crime and character in the twentieth century

Maccabaean Leture in Jurisprudence, delivered by Professor Nicola Lacey FBA, on 26 October 2017 (venue: The British Academy).

The Twentieth Century saw decisive changes in women’s legal, social, economic and political position. But how far have these changes been reflected in women’s position as subjects of criminalisation in the courts, in legal thought or in literary fiction? This lecture takes up the story of the gradual marginalisation of criminal women in both legal and literary history, asking whether a criminal heroine such as Moll Flanders (1722) is thinkable again, and what this can tell us about conceptions of women as subjects of criminal law. How far do the conceptions of, and dilemmas about, female subjectivity, agency, capacity and character which emerge successively in 20th-century literary culture reflect and illuminate the relevant patterns and debates in criminal law and philosophy? 

Speaker: Professor Nicola Lacey FBA CBE, London School of Economics

Chaired by: Professor Sarah Worthington QC(Hon), FBA, University of Cambridge

About the speaker: Nicola Lacey is School Professor of Law, Gender and Social Policy at the London School of Economics. Her research is in criminal law and justice, with a particular focus on comparative and historical scholarship: she also has research interests in legal and social theory, in feminist analysis of law, in law and literature, and in biography.

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