CFP panel 'Examining Violence: emotions, performances and practices of scientific evidence about sexual violence survivors '

Pauline Dirven's picture
Call for Papers
May 1, 2020
United Kingdom
Subject Fields: 
Cultural History / Studies, History of Science, Medicine, and Technology, Law and Legal History, Sexuality Studies, Women's & Gender History / Studies

Dear colleagues,

As you might know, the British Crime Historians association organizes a symposium 2-4 September 2020. For this purpose, we are organising a panel on forensic expertise and sexual violence. Our working title is 'Examining violence: emotions, performances and practices of scientific evidence about sexual violence survivors'. Our panel looks at interactions between examination practices and court performances of medico-legal in sexual crimes.

Abstract: We know that forensic experts gather and construct evidence in sexual offence cases through specific examination practices. Feminist research illustrates the harm that these practices have caused and still cause victims, for example, because medical professionals used rape myths, the examination facilities were not up to standard or specially trained experts were not available. In this panel, we analyse how court performances of expertise impacted the development of harmful practices in sexual offence cases. We bring into dialogue the pre-trial examination practices and court performances of various experts in sexual offences cases, i.e. general practitioners, police surgeons, psychiatrists, counsellors, and forensic scientists. We ask: What kind of evidence and expertise was contributed (psychological, physiological, chemical etc.)? How was the material presented, discussed, or admitted? And how did the construction of such expertise relate to and constrain survivors’ accounts and experiences? We introduce historical cases to illustrate how court performances and expertise interacted over time.  

We welcome papers that analyse British cases in different periods. Deadline for submissions is 1 May 2020. 

For questions please contact Pauline Dirven at

Best wishes,

Pauline Dirven


Contact Info: 

Pauline Dirven
Cultural History
Utrecht University 

Contact Email: