Seminar (Course Language: English)
Lecturer: Michael Pfeifer
Module(s): M12, M13, M14, M16
Credit Points: 6/9
Date: Monday, 4-6pm
Description: Lynching and collective violence, that is violence perpetrated by groups of people unauthorized by state or legal authority, has characterized many societies from the ancient world through the present day. Lynching has traditionally been defined by scholars as group murder inspired by motivations of criminal justice, race, or ethnicity; the leading scholar of the history of American rioting, Paul Gilje, has defined a riot as “any group of twelve or more people attempting to assert their will immediately through the use of force outside the normal bounds of law.” The patterns of lynching, rioting, and other forms of collective violence are often indicative of a culture’s underlying social structures and values, including race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and attitudes concerning crime and punishment. This course will examine how scholars have interpreted the history of lynching and collective violence across global cultures and eras. The focus will be comparative, examining scholarly approaches to the history of violence perpetrated by groups across global cultures, including Europe, Russia, the United States, Latin America, Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa. The chronological focus will be similarly broad, examining scholarship dealing with eras ranging from the ancient world to the present day.
Literature: Readings may include Roberta Senechal de la Roche, “Collective Violence as Social Control,” Sociological Forum, Vol. 11, No. 1 (Mar., 1996), pp. 97-128; Sara Forsdyke, “Street Theater and Popular Justice in Ancient Greece: Shaming, Stoning, and Starving Offenders inside and outside the Courts,” Past and Present, No. 201 (November 2008), 3-50; William Beik, “The Violence of the French Crowd from Charivari to Revolution,” Past & Present No. 197 (Nov., 2007), pp. 75-110; Stephen P. Frank, “Popular Justice, Community and Culture among the Russian Peasantry, 1870-1900,”Russian Review, Vol. 46, No. 3 (Jul., 1987), pp. 239-265; Paul A. Gilje, Rioting in America (Indiana University Press, 1996); Michael J. Pfeifer, The Roots of Rough Justice: Origins of American Lynching (University of Illinois Press, 2011); Ida B. Wells, “Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in all its Phases”; Robert Weinberg, “Visualizing Pogroms in Russian History,” Jewish History, Vol. 12, No. 2 (Fall, 1998), pp. 71-92; George J. Bryjak, “Collective Violence in India,” Asian Affairs, Vol. 13, No. 2 (Summer, 1986), pp. 35-55; John C. McCall, “Juju and Justice at the Movies: Vigilantes in Nigerian Popular Videos,” African Studies Review, Vol. 47, No. 3 (Dec., 2004); Angelina Snodgrass Godoy, “When ‘Justice’ is Criminal: Lynchings in Contemporary Latin America,” Theory and Society, Vol. 33, no. 6 (December 2004), 621-651.