"After These Horrendous Crimes, that Creature Forfeits His Rights”: The Violent Sex Offender as Exceptional Criminal


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships


Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies


This dissertation examines the role of religious, psychiatric, and popular representation in the creation of violent sex offender legislation in the United States, and the feedback of that criminal category into systems of sexual identity. All sex offenders in the United States are subject to increased penalties and surveillance, but the most dangerous sexual criminals, generally called violent sex offenders or violent sexual predators, are held in special facilities indefinitely. The project uses a combination of archival research and textual analysis to argue that these laws both rely on and produce a concept of static biological criminality that, due to the entwined history of sexology and forensic psychiatry, is figured as a form of sexual identity.