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"Political Constructions of Identities: Impeachments und Treason Trials"

Dr. Anna-Christina Giovanopoulos
(TU Dresden)

Impeachment trials as the focal point of various political and legal discourses are the basis for discussing how the relatively stable identities of Whigs and Tories emerged during the early eighteenth century.
These trials are particularly well suited to investigate how values were debated interactively and in performance during the public occasion of a court trial. Here, political concepts could be challenged and submitted to legal investigations, and the actions of prosecutors, judges, witnesses, and defendants could be scrutinised by the immediate parliamentary audience.

However, the proceedings also came to the attention of the larger public through a variety of genres such as trial reports, but also pamphlets and news reports. Both in court and outside, identities were constructed and commented upon through narrations that were to shape the public opinion that came to be granted a participatory function.

The written trial reports and further documents commenting on the proceedings are of prime importance in the investigation of identities because in a legal context they bring together several discourses that determine auto- and hetero-stereotypes, i.e., identities as political and legal subjects. Since impeachment trials played their crucial role during the seventeenth until the early to mid-eighteenth centuries, this project will concentrate on trials originating during the Exclusion Crisis (1679-1682) and then continue with impeachments connected with the Whig Junto (1701) and the Peace Treaty of Utrecht (1713).

Further trials will be included where prosecutors and defendants had to debate their views of authority and rights, such as the impeachment of Dr Sacheverell (1709/10).


0 Entries found.

Dr. Anna-Christina Giovanopoulos (*1965)

Studied English Literature, Teaching German as a Foreign Language, and History at Bielefeld, Reading (U.K.), and Dresden.

She received her Ph.D. from Dresden in 2000 with a dissertation on American Literature in the GDR.

Between 2000 and 2002, she worked in a Collaborative Research Group, "Sonderforschungs-bereich 537 - Institutionality and Historicity", Technical University Dresden.

She now works at the English Department of the Technical University at Dresden. Her main areas of research are censorship in the twentieth century as well as the "Long Eighteenth Century", with a focus on the public sphere, legal culture and literature.

Among her publications there are articles on the reception of Faulkner, Hemingway, Updike and Kerouac in East Germany, on the thief-catcher and master criminal Jonathan Wilde, on impeachment trials in the eighteenth century, and on the role of the pirate Captain Kidd in the political struggles of early eighteenth century England.


26 Entries found.

    Black, Jeremy. The English Press 1621-1861. Phoenix Mill: Sutton, 2001
    Weber, Harols. Paper bullets: Prin and Kinship under Charles II. Lexington: U of Kentucky P, 1996
    Patterson, Annabel. Censorship and Interpretation: The Conditions of Writing and reading in Early Modern England. Madison (Wis.): U of Wisconsin P, 1990
    Shevelow, Kathryn. Women and Print Culture: The Construction of Feminity in the Early Periodical. London: Routledge, 1989
    Black, Jeremy. The English Press in the Eighteenth Century. London: Croom Helm, 1987
    Enkemann, Jürgen. Journalismus uns Literatur: Zum Verhältnis von Zeitungswesen, Literatur und Entwicklung bürgerlicher Öffentlichkeit in England im 17. und 18. Jahrhundert. Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1983
    Eisenstein, Elizabeth. The Printing Press as an Agent of Change. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1979
    Cranfield, Geoffrey A. A hand-list of English provincial newspapers and periodicals. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1952
    Maurer, Shawn Lisa. Proposing Men: Dialectics of Gender and Class in the Eighteenth-Century English Periodical. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1998
    Elshtain, J.B. Public Man, Private Woman: Women in Social and Political Thought. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton UP, 1993
    Calhoun, Craig (Ed.). "Habermas and the Public Sphere. Studies in Contemporary German Social Thought. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1992
    Hall, Catherine. "Private Persons versus Public Someones. Language, Gender and Childhood: Class, Gender, and Politics in England, 1780-1850. Ed(s). Eds. Carolyn Steeman, Cathy Urwin, and Valerie Walkderdine. Boston: Routledge&Kegan Paul, 1985
    Hölscher, Lucian. Öffentlichkeit: Geschichtliche Grundbegriffe: Historisches Lexikon zur politisch-sozialen Sprache in Deutschland, Band IV. Ed(s). Eds. Otto Brunner, Reinhard Kosellek, and Werner Conze. Stuttgart, 1978
    Somers, Maaret Ramsay. "The People and the Law. Dissertation Harvard: Narrative Identity and the Place of the Public Sphere in the Formation of English Working Class Politics, 1300-1800
Journal Articles
    Pincus, Steve. "Coffee Politiians Does Create: Coffeehouses and Restortion Political Culture". Journal of Modern History, 1995. 67. 807-34.
    Laurego, Greg. "Infrastructure of Enlightenment: Road-Making, the Public Sphere, and the Emergence of Literature". Eighteenth-Century Studies, 1995. 29.1. 45-67.
    Richetti, John. "The Public Sphere and the Eighteenth-Century Novel. Eighteenth-Century Life: Social Criticism and Narrative Enactment. 16.3. 114-29.
    Somers, Margaret. "What's political and Cultural about Political Culture and the Public Sphere?. Sociological Theory: Towards an Historical Sociology of Concept Formation. 13.2. 113-44.
    Crist, Timothy. "Government Control of the Press after the Expiration of the Printing Act in 1679. Publishing History, 1979. 5. 49-77.
Book Articles
    Giovanopoulos, Anna-Christina. "Captain Kidd and the King: Piracy and Politics in Restoration England". In the Grip of the Law: Trials, Prisons and the Space Between. Ed(s). Eds. Monika Fludernik, and Greta Olson. Frankfurt/M.: Lang, 2004. 3-22.
    Giovanopoulos, Anna-Christina. "This day is to be hanged the greatest rogue in England: Robert Walpole und Konathan Wold". Dauer durch Wandel. Institutionelle Ordnungen zwischen Verstetigung und Transformation. Ed(s). Eds. Stefan Müller, Gary Schaal, and Claudia Tiersch. Köln/Weimar: Böhlau, 2002. 191-209.
    Giovanopoulos, Anna-Christina. "The Bloody Register: Representations of Violence in Eighteenth-Century England". The Aesthetics and Pragmatics of Violence, Passau, March 15-17. Ed(s). Eds. Michael Hensen, and Annette Pankratz. Passau: Stutz, 2001. 67-79.
    Giovanopoulos, Anna-Christina. "Alsatian Eccentricities: An Initial Appraisal". Sites of Discourse - Public and Private Spheres - Legal Culture. Papers from a Conference Held at the Technical University of Dresden, December 2001. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2001. 179-97.
    Klein, Lawrence. "Property and Politeness in Early Whig Moralists: The Case of the Spectator". Early Modern Conceptions of property. Ed(s). Eds. John Brewer, and Susan Staves. London: Routledge, 1995. 221-33.
    Hellmuth, Eckhart. "Zur Diskussion um Presse- und Meinungsfreiheit in England, Frankreich und Preußen im Zeitalter der Französischen Revolution. Grund- und Freiheitsrechte im Wandel von Gesellschaft und Geschichte. Ed(s). Ed. Günter Birtsch. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck&Ruprecht, 1981. 205-26.
    Klein, Lawrence. "Gender, Conversation and the Public Sphere in Early Eighteenth-Century England. Textuality and Sexuality: Reading Theories and Practices. Ed(s). Eds. Michael Worton, and Judith Still. New York: Manchester UP, 1993. 100-15.

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The database was created by the participants of the Network 'Mediating Identities in 18th Century England' and will be updated on a regular basis.
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