Our Criminals, Ourselves

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article (Academic Journal)peer-review


Print representations of criminality and discourses about the category of the human have intersected at least since John Locke theorized forensic personhood. Focalizing the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Matthew Levay’s Violent Minds (2018) demonstrates how modernist writers, who found a blueprint for complex human subjectivity in the figure of the criminal, offer better understanding than the period’s criminologists. Yet the book neglects racialization’s role in constructing criminality and personhood, even as modernist writers’ deployment of a criminal other parallels the “Africanist presence” Toni Morrison long ago identified as a central means through which white authors reflect on the self.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-102
JournalCritical Analysis of Law: An International & Interdisciplinary Law Review
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Crime Writing
  • Race
  • Criminality
  • Sylvia Wynter
  • racialization
  • gothic literature
  • Afro-modernism
  • forensic personhood


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