Sonia Rupcic F'19

Sonia  Rupcic
Postdoctoral Fellow
Population Studies and Training Center
Brown University

Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships 2019
Doctoral Candidate
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Righting Sexual Wrongs? Personhood, Intent, and Sex in a former South African Homeland

In post-apartheid South Africa, justice is pursued in a variety of forums. This is especially the case with sexual harm, which is historically dealt with in a number of ways. From courtrooms to chiefs’ tribunals, church services to university grievance hearings, living rooms to hair salons, this project describes how survivors and their loved ones seek justice inside and outside of courtrooms. By following complaints of unwanted sex, this study argues that material and discursive practices of redress shape indeterminate experiences of undesirable sex into recognizable categories of transgression. The project finds that categories of harm arise from different notions of normative sex, intentionality, and personhood that crosscut sites of redress. This study opens new inquiries into the conception of legal pluralism while also answering a wider call for empirically grounded research on the perils and potentials of righting sexual wrongs by way of criminal prosecution and its others.