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Part III - Intimate and Gendered Violence

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 March 2020

Robert Antony
Guangzhou University
Stuart Carroll
University of York
Caroline Dodds Pennock
University of Sheffield
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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Bibliographic Essay

For an overview of early modern China’s legal history see Sommer, Matthew H., ‘The Field of Qing Legal History’, in Haihui, Zhang et al. (eds.), A Scholarly Review of Chinese Studies in North America, open access ebook (Ann Arbor, MI: Association for Asian Studies, 2013), pp. 113–32. For the Qing criminal justice system see Bodde, Derk and Morris, Clarence, Law in Imperial China (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1967), and Shuzo, Shiga, ‘Criminal Procedure in the Ch’ing Dynasty’, parts 1–3, Memoirs of the Research Department of the Toyo Bunko 33 (1974), 145, 34 (1975), 115–38, and 35 (1976), 1626. For routine adjudication in local courts see Buxbaum, David, ‘Some Aspects of Civil Procedure and Practice at the Trial Level’, Journal of Asian Studies 30.2 (1971), 255–79; Huang, Philip, Civil Justice in China (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1996); and Sommer, Matthew H., Polyandry and Wife-selling in Qing Dynasty China (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2015), ch. 11.

For the regulation of sexual behaviour and gender relations in Qing law, we are indebted to the pioneering scholarship of Marinus Meijer; the work of American historian Vivien Ng is similar. In the absence of legal archives, both scholars relied heavily on a nineteenth-century casebook, Xing’an huilan (Conspectus of Penal Cases), which contains summaries of tricky cases (Bodde and Morris, Law in Imperial China, describes the casebook and translates 190 of its cases). Their work was superseded by later scholarship based on Qing legal case records.

For ‘illicit sex’ (jian) in imperial law and change over time in how sexual relations were regulated, see Sommer, Matthew H., Sex, Law, and Society in Late Imperial China (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2000). For rape in Ming–Qing law see Sommer, Sex, Law, and Society, ch. 3; Sommer, Matthew H, ‘Dangerous Males, Vulnerable Males, and Polluted Males’, in Brownell, S. and Wasserstrom, J. (eds.), Chinese Femininities/Chinese Masculinities (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002), pp. 6788; Sommer, Matthew H., ‘The Gendered Body in the Qing Courtroom’, Journal of the History of Sexuality 22.2 (2013), 281311; and Vivien, Ng, ‘Ideology and Sexuality’, Journal of Asian Studies 46.1 (1987), 5770. For laws concerning a husband who killed his wife and/or her lover when he caught them in adultery, see Meijer, Marinus, Murder and Adultery in Late Imperial China (Leiden: Brill, 1991). For domestic violence see Adrian Davis, ‘Homicide in the Home: Marital Strife and Family Conflict in Eighteenth-Century China’, unpublished PhD thesis, Harvard University, 1995, and his Conjugal Homicide in Late Imperial China’, Papers on Chinese History 4 (1995), 112.

The classic study on legal status distinctions in imperial law remains Ch’ü, T’ung-tsu, Law and Society in Traditional China (Paris: Mouton, 1961). For the cult of female chastity in the Ming–Qing era, see Elvin, Mark, ‘Female Virtue and the State in China’, Past & Present 104 (1984), 111–52; Sommer, Sex, Law, and Society; Theiss, Janet, Disgraceful Matters (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004); and Weijing, Lu, True to her Word: The Faithful Maiden Cult in Late Imperial China (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2008).

Bibliographic Essay

Among the few works primarily on violence in early modern Japan, that of Ikegami, Eiko, The Taming of the Samurai: Honorific Individualism and the Making of Modern Japan (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1995), stands out for its focus on the changing nature of the samurai and the role of violence in samurai masculine behaviour. Ritual suicide, or seppuku, on the other hand, has gained considerable attention, with several useful studies, including Andrew, Rankin, Seppuku: A History of Samurai Suicide (Tokyo: Kodansha International, 2011); Seward, Jack, Hara-kiri: Japanese Ritual Suicide (Tokyo: Charles E. Tuttle, 1968); Kakubayashi, Fumio, ‘An Historical Study of Harakiri’, Australian Journal of Politics and History 39.2 (1993), 217–25; and Fuse, Toyamasa, ‘Seppuku: An Institutionalized Form of Suicide in Japan’, Journal of Intercultural Studies 5 (1978), 4866.

Several autobiographies of Tokugawa samurai have been translated into English, some of which include material on violence. These include Craig, Teruko, Musui’s Story: The Autobiography of a Tokugawa Samurai (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1988), and Teeuwen, Mark and Nakai, Kate Wildman (eds.), Lust, Commerce, and Corruption: An Account of What I Have Seen and Heard (New York: Columbia University Press, 2014). Important biographies of late-Tokugawa samurai are Jansen, Marius B., Sakamoto Ryôma and the Meiji Restoration (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1961); Ravina, Mark, The Last Samurai: The Life and Battles of Saigō Takamori (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2004); and Yates, Charles L., Saigō Takamori: The Man behind the Myth (London: Kegan Paul, 1995).

A considerable number of contemporary works on the ‘way of the samurai’ during the Tokugawa era have been translated into English, among them Bennett’s, Alexander Hagakure: The Secret Wisdom of the Samurai (Tokyo and Rutland: Tuttle Publishing, 2014). Academic studies include Benesch, Oleg, Inventing the Way of the Samurai: Nationalism, Internationalism and Bushido in Modern Japan (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014); Cameron Hurst, G. III, ‘Death, Honor, and Loyalty: The Bushidō Ideal’, Philosophy East and West 40.4 (1990), 511–27; and Friday, Karl, ‘Bushidō or Bull? A Medieval Historian’s Perspective on the Imperial Army and the Japanese Warrior Tradition’, The History Teacher 27.3 (1994), 339–49.

On swordsmen, see de Lange, William, Famous Japanese Swordsmen of the Period of Unification (Warren, CT: Floating World Editions, 2008), and Turnbull, Stephen, The Samurai Swordsman: Master of War (Tokyo and Rutland: Tuttle Publishing, 2008). The focus of both books is on the more violent times before the Tokugawa era, but the second title includes material on the turbulent final years of the period. The book authored by Miyamoto Musashi, perhaps the most famous swordsman of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, has been translated numerous times – see for example The Book of the Five Rings, trans. William Scott Wilson (Boulder, CO: Shambhala, 2012).

Studies of the Japanese martial tradition and the development of the martial arts during the Tokugawa period include Hurst, Cameron, The Armed Martial Arts of Japan: Swordsmanship and Archery (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1988); Friday, Karl and Fumitake, Seki, Legacies of the Sword: The Kashima Shinryu and Samurai Martial Culture (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 1997); and Rogers, John M., ‘Art of War in Times of Peace: Archery’, in Honchō Bugei Shoden’, Monumenta Nipponica 45.3 (1990), 253–60.

Bibliographic Essay

The study of gender and violence is a relatively recent innovation in the history of early America. To date, few works exist that focus exclusively on gender and violence; rather, the richest literature is contained in histories of women, Native Americans and African Americans. Similarly, the nascent state of the field means that some of most impressive work is contained in collections of essays and scholarly articles.

An excellent introduction to gender and violence during the era of contact and conquest can be found in Heineman, Elizabeth D. (ed.), Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones: From the Ancient World to the Era of Human Rights (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011) and Jennings, Matthew, New Worlds of Violence: Cultures and Conquests in the Early American Southeast (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2011). Spanish and indigenous women are well explored in Powers, Karen Vieira, Women in the Crucible of Conquest: The Gendered Genesis of Spanish American Society, 1500–1600 (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2005). The enslavement of native women and the variety of those experiences can be found in Reséndez, Andrés, The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016) and Rushford, Brett, Bonds of Alliance: Indigenous and Atlantic Slaveries in New France (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2012). The Anglo-Indian exchange is explored in Little, Ann M., Abraham in Arms: War and Gender in Colonial New England (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007) and Plane, Ann Marie, Colonial Intimacies: Indian Marriage in Early New England (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2000).

Gender and violence in the English colonies is sprinkled throughout colonial history, but the best places to begin are Norton, Mary Beth, Founding Mothers and Fathers: Gendered Power and the Forming of American Society (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1996) and Godbeer, Richard, Sexual Revolution in Early America (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002). Sharon Block has done more than any other historian to document rape in the colonial era, and readers are encouraged to begin with her monograph Rape and Sexual Power in Early America (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006). Strong essays on gendered violence can be found in Smith, Merril D. (ed.), Sex without Consent: Rape and Sexual Coercion in America (New York: New York University Press, 2001) and Daniels, Christine and Kennedy, Michael V. (eds.), Over the Threshold: Intimate Violence in Early America (New York: Routledge, 1999).

The work on gender and violence is perhaps clearest in the study of enslaved women. Comparative studies can be found in Brown, Kathleen M., Good Wives, Nasty Wenches, and Anxious Patriarchs: Gender, Race, and Power in Colonial Virginia (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996) and Fischer, Kirsten, Suspect Relations: Sex, Race, and Resistance in Colonial North Carolina (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2002). For African American women specifically, see Morgan, Jennifer, Laboring Women: Reproduction and Gender in New World Slavery (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004) and Fuentes, Marisa J., Dispossessed Lives: Enslaved Women, Violence, and the Archive (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016). Gender and violence is examined through the lens of masculinity in Foster, Thomas A., Sex and the Eighteenth-Century Man: Massachusetts and the History of Sexuality in America (Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 2006).

The violence of the American Revolution is best captured by Hoock, Holger, Scars of Independence: America’s Violent Birth (New York: Crown, 2017). Studies of women during the Revolution can be found in Norton, Mary Beth, Liberty’s Daughters: The Revolutionary Experience of American Women, 1750–1800, new edn (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1996) and Kerber, Linda, Women of the Republic: Intellect and Ideology in Revolutionary America (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1980). The effects of the Revolution on sexuality and marriage are explored in Smith, Merril D., Breaking the Bonds: Marital Discord in Pennsylvania, 1730–1830 (New York: New York University Press, 1991) and Lyons, Clare A., Sex among the Rabble: An Intimate History of Gender and Power in the Age of Revolution, Philadelphia, 1730–1830 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006).

Bibliographic Essay

Scholarly interest in early modern European family and sexual violence has developed in tandem with changing modern attitudes towards women and violence, so that the literature on this type of early modern violence is now substantial. Whereas research in the 1970s and 1980s scoured legal records for relevant cases, studies since the late 1990s have combined legal research with analysis of popular culture, autobiographical writings, letters and various forms of literature. This in-depth archival analysis has, since about 2000, allowed the production of synthetic accounts that situate family and sexual violence within broader cultural frameworks. Wide-ranging studies, such as Muchembled, Robert’s A History of Violence from the End of the Middle Ages to the Present, (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2012), offer stimulating pictures of long-term change in all aspects of violence, including family and sexual violence. The work of Peter Spierenburg has been very influential in this regard, including, for example, his A History of Murder: Personal Violence in Europe from the Middle Ages to the Present (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2008). Ruff, Julius’s useful Violence in Early Modern Europe, 1500–1800 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001) includes a chapter on interpersonal violence, covering rape, marital violence and infanticide.

Regional and national studies of violence that contain chapters on family and sexual violence have enriched our understanding of the culturally specific meanings of violence in different early modern communities. Extensive research has been carried out on the surviving records of the English regions, with Walker, Garthine’s work combining legal and literary analysis in publications such as Crime, Gender and Social Order in Early Modern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003). Local variations in how household violence functioned and was managed are revealed in detailed urban and regional studies, such as Farge, Arlette’s Fragile Lives: Violence, Power and Solidarity in Eighteenth-Century Paris (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1993) and Astarita, Tommaso’s Village Justice: Community, Family and Popular Culture in Early Modern Italy (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999).

Another rich vein of scholarly research has concentrated on the violence accompanying marital breakdown. For England the scholarship is especially large: Joanne Bailey, for example, has examined marriage failure in Unquiet Lives: Marriage and Marriage Breakdown in England, 1660–1800 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003); while Elizabeth Foyster concentrates specificially on violence within marriage in Marital Violence: An English Family History, 1660–1857 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005). The legal and social frameworks in which marital violence occurred in Sweden have been explored by Liliequist, Jonas in ‘Changing Discources of Marital Violence in Sweden from the Age of Reformation to the Late Nineteenth Century’, Gender & History 23.2 (2011),125. Studies of particular cities and towns are also instructive. For informal boundaries and meanings of marital violence in southern France, see McDonough, Susan, ‘She Said, He Said, and They Said: Claims of Abuse and a Community’s Response in Late Medieval Marseille’, Journal of Women’s History 19.4 (2007), 3558.

Women who killed their husbands provoked acute anxiety throughout early modern Europe. Even though prosecutions were relatively few, a wealth of evidence survives, particularly in popular culture. For Germany, Rublack, Ulinka’s research is foundational on this and other aspects of women and criminality: The Crimes of Women in Early Modern Germany (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1999). Dolan, Frances makes fruitful use of popular ballads and gallows speeches in her important study of attitudes towards violent women: Dangerous Familiars: Representations of Domestic Crime in England, 1550–1700 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1994).

How communities problematised and managed sexual violence has been the subject of considerable scholarly attention over the past twenty years. An insightful overview of this research is Walker, Garthine, ‘Sexual Violence and Rape in Europe, 1500–1750’, in The Routledge History of Sex and the Body, 1500 to the Present, edited by Fisher, K. and Toulalan, S. (London and New York: Routledge, 2013), pp. 429–43. Regional studies are also crucial in revealing variations in the laws and meanings surrounding sexual violence; see, for example, Ruggiero, Guido, The Boundaries of Eros: Sex Crime and Sexuality in Renaissance Venice (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985). Sexual violence in war is revealingly explored by Roberts, Penny in ‘Peace, Ritual, and Sexual Violence during the Religious Wars’, Past & Present 214 (2012), 7599.

The anxiety early modern European societies felt about the sexuality of single women was expressed in particular through harsh laws against infanticide. Kilday, Anne Marie, A History of Infanticide in Britain, c. 1600 to the Present (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 2013) investigates this topic for England, Wales and Scotland. In other places, such as Ireland, where there are few surviving records of infanticide, folklore is a potentially valuable research tool, as O’Connor, Anne demonstrated in ‘Women in Irish Folklore’, in Women in Early Modern Ireland, edited by O’Dowd, M. and MacCurtain, M. (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1991), pp. 304–17. Close analysis of individual cases is another way of exploring the complexities of infanticide. An intriguing study of a well-documented case is David Myers, William’s Death and a Maiden: Infanticide and the Tragical History of Grethe Schmidt (DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 2011).

Bibliographic Essay

The main syntheses of the long-term European history of homicide and serious violence are Muchembled, Robert, Violence: A History (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2012) and Spierenburg, Pieter, A History of Murder: Personal Violence in Europe from the Middle Ages to the Present (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2008). The bibliographies in these two books, taken together, constitute a more or less exhaustive list of publications up to 2006. Since then a number of studies of murder and violence have appeared for separate European countries. For England: Sharpe, James, A Fiery & Furious People: A History of Violence in England (London: Random House, 2016). For France: Nassiet, Michel, La violence, une histoire sociale: France, 16e–18e siècles (Seyssel: Champ Vallon, 2011). For Spain: Taylor, Scott K.Honor and Violence in Golden Age Spain (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2008). For Germany: Tlusty, B. Ann, The Martial Ethic in Early Modern Germany: Civic Duty and the Right of Arms (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011). For Italy: Carroll, Stuart, ‘Revenge and Reconciliation in Early Modern Italy’, Past & Present 233 (2016), 101–42. For Corsica: Graziani, Antoine-Marie, La violence dans les campagnes Corses du 16e au 18e siècle (n.p., Editions Alain Piazzola, 2011).

The main publications on the quantitative dimension of the history of homicide in Europe are Eisner, Manuel, ‘Long-Term Historical Trends in Violent Crime’, Crime and Justice. A Review of Research 30 (2003), 83142; and Eisner, Manuel,‘From Swords to Words. Does Macro-Level Change in Self-Control Predict Long-Term Variation in Levels of Homicide?’, Crime and Justice: A Review of Research 43 (2014), 65134 (the latter with a set of quantitative proxies for the European process of civilisation).

Recent studies of various themes in the history of men fighting men in Europe include Ludwig, Ulrike et al. (eds.), Das Duell. Ehrenkämpfe vom Mittelalter bis zur Moderne (Konstanz: UVK Verlagsgesellschaft, 2012) and Banks, Stephen, A Polite Exchange of Bullets: The Duel and the English Gentleman, 1750–1850 (Rochester, NY: Boydell Press, 2010). On pardons for homicide: Chaulet, Rudy, Crimes, rixes et bruits d’épée: Homicides pardonnés en Castille au siècle d’or (Montpellier: Presses Universitaires de la Méditerranée, 2007). On suicide murder: Krogh, Tyge, A Lutheran Plague: Murdering to Die in the Eighteenth Century (Leiden: Brill, 2012). On the interrelationship with the penal system: Spierenburg, Pieter, Violence and Punishment: Civilizing the Body through Time (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2013). On the theory of violence as a moral category: Fiske, Alan Page and Rai, Tage Shakti, Virtuous Violence: Hurting and Killing to Create, Sustain, End and Honor Social Relationships (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015).

For the global history of murder see Pinker, Steven, The Better Angels of our Nature: Why Violence has Declined (New York: Viking, 2011) and Spierenburg, Pieter, ‘Toward a Global History of Homicide and Organized Murder’, Crime, Histoire & Sociétés / Crime, History & Societies 18.2 (2014), 99116. For China: Buoye, Thomas M., Manslaughter, Markets, and Moral Economy: Violent Disputes over Property Rights in Eighteenth-Century China (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000); Rowe, William T.Crimson Rain: Seven Centuries of Violence in a Chinese County (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2007); and ter Haar, Barend J., ‘Rethinking “Violence” in Chinese Culture’, in Aijmer, Göran and Abbink, Jon (eds.), Meanings of Violence: A Cross-Cultural Perspective (Oxford and New York: Berg, 2000), pp. 122–39. For Latin America: Taylor, William B., Drinking, Homicide and Rebellion in Colonial Mexican villages (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1979) and Johnson, Eric A. et al., ‘Murder and Mass Murder in Pre-Modern Latin America: From Pre-Colonial Aztec Sacrifices to the End of Colonial Rule, an Introductory Comparison with European Societies’, Historical Social Research / Historische Sozialforschung 37.3 (2012), 233–53. For India: Wagner, Kim A. (ed.), Stranglers and Bandits: A Historical Anthology of Thuggee (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009). On honour in non-Western societies: Iliffe, John, Honour in African History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005) and Johnson, Lyman L. and Lipsett-Rivera, Sonya (eds.), The Faces of Honor: Sex, Shame and Violence in Colonial Latin America (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1998).

Bibliographic Essay

The history of suicide in the 1880s begins with several brief articles on the Italian Renaissance by Emilio Motta, who was influenced by fellow Swiss cultural historian Jakob Burkhardt and Italian psychiatrist Morselli, Enrico’s successful Il suicidio: saggio di statistica morale comparata (Milan: Fratelli Dumolard, 1879). Motta also composed a Bibliographia de Suicidio (Bellinzona: Salvioni, 1890), later complemented by the more extensive Bibliographie des Selbstmordes (Regensburg: Haas & Grabherr, 1927) of German church historian Rost, Hans. A special issue of the Journal of Social History 46. 3 (2014), ‘The Politics of Suicide’, edited by Maria Teresa Brancaccio, Eric Engstrom and David Lederer, demonstrates how public attention culminated in Durkheim’s Le Suicide (Paris: F. Alcan, 1897).

Early historiography continued to focus on the early modern period. Dieselhors, Jürgent’s monograph-sized article, ‘Die Bestrafung der Selbstmörder im Territorium der Reichsstadt Nürnberg’, Mitteilungen des Vereins für Geschichte der Stadt Nürnberg 24 (1953), 53230, examined judicial punishments, while Schmit, Jean Claudet’s ‘Le suicide au Moyen Age’ in the Annales: E.S.C. 31 (1976), 328, introduced an anthropological perspective. Schär, Markus situated his local study of mentalities, Seelennöten der Untertanen. Selbstmord, Melancholie und Religion in Alten Zürich (Zürich: Chronos Verlag, 1985) within the debate surrounding the treatment of madness initiated by Foucault and Porter.

Two monographs by MacDonald, Michael, Mystical Bedlam: Madness, Anxiety and Healing in Seventeenth-Century England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981) and, with Murphy, Terence, Sleepless Souls: Suicide in Early Modern England (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990), established the history of suicide as a field in its own right. The early modern European domination of the field continued. For example, the first major synthesis, Minois, Georges’s Histoire du suicide: La société occidentale face à la mort volontaire (Paris: Fayard, 1995), adopted an annaliste case-study model preoccupied with early modern England and France. A more detailed treatment of the Renaissance appears in Murray, Alexander’s magisterial two-volume History of Suicide in the Middle Ages, vol. i, The Violent against Themselves (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), and vol. ii, The Curse on Self-Murder (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), which is noteworthy for its sober methodology and comprehensive detail (a third volume in this series is planned).

Nineteenth-century moral statisticians established the so-called First Law of Sociology: Protestants kill themselves more frequently than Catholics. Historians have attempted to trace the origins of this perception back to the Reformation and, in addition to Schär and MacDonald, Watt, Jeffrey’s Choosing Death: Suicide and Calvinism in early modern Geneva (Kirksville: Truman State University Press, 2001) provides crude statistical evidence from the birthplace of the Reformed Church. We now also have the excellent results from Lutheran Saxony by Kästner, Alexander, Tödliche Geschichte(n). Selbsttöttungen in Kursachsen im Spannungsfeld von Normen und Praktiken (1547–1815) (Constance: UVK Verlagsgesellschaft, 2012). Comparable suicide statistics from the Catholic Counter-Reformation are available in Lederer, David’s Madness, Religion and the State in Early Modern Europe: A Bavarian Beacon (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006). Lederer critiques statistical evidence in numerous articles, while establishing how it can be used to corroborate environmental pressures on the social constructions of mentalities, for example witchcraft persecutions and, more generally, the scapegoating of demonic agency.

The Enlightenment ushered in secularisation, dechristianisation and an attendant pathologisation of attitudes to suicide. The ramifications of secularisation are considered in MacDonald and Murphy and in Lederer. While Lind, Vera’s Selbstmord in der frühen Neuzeit (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1999) points out an elite–popular divide, her claim of a popular impetus behind the decriminalisation of suicide is tenuous. Koslofsky, Craig’s critique of the secularisation model in ‘Suicide and the Secularisation of the Body in Early Modern Saxony’, Continuity and Change 16.1 (2001), 4570, is challenged by Kästner’s more detailed analysis of the Saxon evidence for the Enlightenment. The transition from a religious to an enlightened imperative, which pathologised subjective self-perceptions of suicide, is brilliantly offered up by Bähr, Andreas’s complex and highly nuanced analysis of the testimony of the self-killers themselves, Der Richter im Ich. Die Semantik der Selbsttöttung in der Aufklärung (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2002).

Two conference volumes have had a major impact on the direction of historical suicide studies. While Watt, Jeffrey (ed.), From Sin to Insanity: Suicide in Early Modern Europe (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2004) treated the subject from a truly pan-European perspective, Medick, Hans and Bähr, Andreas (eds.), Sterben von Eigener Hand. Selbsttöttung als kulturelle Praxis (Vienna: Böhlau Verlag, 2005) represents a first attempt at global comparison. Efforts towards a global history of suicide have culminated in Barbagli, Marzio’s sociological interpretation of self-killing across time and throughout the planet, Congedarsi dal mondo. Il suicidio in Occidente e in Oriente (Bologna: Il Mulino, 2009). For those seeking quick access to a regularly updated list of works on the history of suicide, see the online bibliography of Alexander Kästner,

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