Friday, November 4, 2011
"Law, Politics, and 'Exceptional Jurisdictions:'" The Case
of Military Justice, France 1909-1912"
Speaker: John Cerullo
Professor of European History
University of New Hampshire - Manchester
Time: 2:10PM in MUB Theatre I
Military justice, in every nation where it exists, is an "exceptional jurisdiction," with its own written codes, courts, penal institutions and procedures, all very different from their civilian counterparts - and all carefully shielded from political interference of any sort. How removed from public scrutiny and accountability should that legal sub-system be? How removed from accountability should any legal subsystem or "special jurisdiction" be?
In France in the years before World War I, the death of an obscure soldier named Albert Aernoult in one of the Army's African prison camps triggered raucous debate on that question, and sustained political pressure on all aspects of the Army's "exceptional jurisdiction." Aernoult's fellow prisoner, Emile Rousset, became a hero to critics of military justice when he accused camp officers of murdering Aernoult. But things got complicated when Rousset was himself accused of murder.
The "Aernoult-Rousset Affair," and its relevance for still-debated questions--regarding military justice specifically, and the interface between "law" and "politics" generally -- will be the subject of this colloquium.
Friday, March 25, 2011
"Imagining Marriage in the Age of Wollstonecraft and Godwin"
Speaker: Melissa Ganz
College Fellow in English
Time: 2:10 PM in McConnell 208
The institution of marriage became the subject of heated debates in late eighteenth-century England, as clerics, jurists, legislators, philosophers, and social observers alike reconsidered its contractual foundation. In this talk, I examine the ways in which these debates shape Romantic-era fiction by authors including Eliza Fenwick, Mary Wollstonecraft and Amelia Opie. Informed by Wollstonecraft's illicit relationship with Gilbert Imlay, Fenwick's Secresy, or the Ruin on the Rock (1795) imagines a world that existed before the passage of the controversial 1753 Marriage Act, probing the heroine's faith that "hearts alone...can bind the vow." The Wrongs of Woman: or, Maria (1798) and Adeline Mowbray, or the Mother and Daughter (1805) also examine legal restrictions on the institution of marriage, focusing now on the permanence-as well as the desirability-of the nuptial tie. Although the texts underscore the limits of the Marriage Act and affirm women's freedom and equality, I will argue, they ultimately criticize the idea of turning marriage into-or, in Opie's case, replacing it with-a contract between two free individuals. They examine alternatives to formal, legal marriage, that is, only to underscore the difficulties of putting such utopian ideas into practice. The novels instead privilege friendships between women and mother-daughter ties.
Friday, April 15, 2011
"Does Rapport-Building Backfire? The Effect of Feedback to Eyewitnesses During Investigative Interviews"
Speaker: Amy Bradfield Douglass
Associate Professor of Psychology
Time: 2:10 PM in McConnell 208
Investigators who solve crimes often rely heavily on eyewitnesses to provide information about a culprit’s identity and the circumstances of the crime (e.g., Kebbell, & Milne, 1998). Therefore, it is critical for investigators to have an arsenal of interview strategies that allows them to extract from eyewitnesses a maximum amount of accurate information and a minimal amount of inaccurate information. The current research describes three experiments designed to evaluate the dynamic social interaction between investigator and eyewitness. In all three experiments, witnesses watch a brief video and are questioned about what they saw. In the first experiment, the nature of questions is manipulated. Witnesses answer 20 questions about a bank robbery video. The questions are either mostly fine grain (requiring highly detailed answers) or mostly coarse grain (requiring only broad levels of detail). We measure confidence and accuracy, predicting that fine grain questions will increase the number of details reported (but decrease accuracy and confidence) because the questions are more difficult for witnesses to answer. In the second experiment, investigator feedback is manipulated. Throughout the interview, witnesses are randomly assigned to hear either confirming feedback (i.e., “You’re doing a good job giving us fine grain detail. Keep it up.”) or disconfirming feedback (i.e., “I can tell this is difficult for you because you’re only giving coarse grain detail. Try to give more fine grain detail, if possible.”). We measure eyewitness accuracy, confidence, and grain size of details provided. We predict that confirming feedback will actually decrease the number of details provided (but increase the proportion correct) because witnesses’ threshold for reporting information will have increased after confirming feedback suggests that their memory is good. Finally, in the third experiment, witnesses and interviewers are both participants. The instructions for each are manipulated in a factorial design. Witnesses hear that they should either (a) give only information about which they are completely confident or (b) give any information they can recall. Interviewers hear either (a) that they should collect only information about which the eyewitness is completely confident or (b) that they should collect any information they can from the witness. We predict that the most accurate information will be collected when witnesses and interviewers both hear that they should provide (or collect) only accurate information.