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Colloquium with Marianne Constable (UC Berkeley)

Event Date: 
Thursday, February 5, 2015

Marianne Constable, Professor, Rhetoric Department (UC Berkeley) will present a talk based on her forthcoming book.  February 5, 2015; Law 3500H.  This event is free and open to the public.  Light refreshments will be provided.  Please RSVP by 1/26/15 to Nix McCoy ( 

TITLE: "Chicago Husband-Killing and the 'New Unwritten Law'"

ABSTRACT: Contrary to received wisdom, all-male juries in Chicago exonerated most women who killed their husbands at the turn of the 19th-20th century.  They did so in the name of what newspapers dubbed "the new unwritten law."  What exactly was the new unwritten law?  And, given the reliance of both law and history on the authority of writings as evidence, how does one write a  history of unwritten law?  The presentation will focus on the 1905 Hopkins case, in which Judge Kersten declared "the justification was perfect."