SOAS University of London

Department of History, School of History, Religions & Philosophies

'Bitten by Dog': Flogging and the Perversion of Justice in 1930s Kenya

Corrie Decker, UC Davis

Date: 11 December 2013Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 11 December 2013Time: 6:30 PM

Venue: Faber Building Room: FG01

Type of Event: Seminar

It is a close reading of a 1934 case from Kenya in which a European settler woman was charged with the murder of a Pokot man who she suspected of stealing. I argue that the white male jury, predisposed to view the woman as a potential victim of 'black peril,' was instead swayed by the testimony of the African witnesses. The witnesses were successful because they fixated on the ways in which the woman violated sexual and racial taboos prevalent in both settler and Pokot societies. The witnesses employed the language of dehumanization in the courtroom to restore their own humanity and that of the victim and, in the process, demonize the defendant.
This case provides some insight into how Africans used the colonial courts to shift public opinion against corporal punishment.

Organiser: Dr Marie Rodet

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