Senior Lecturer in Modern European History Heather Wolffram has just had a book published – we asked her some questions ahead of the launch next month.
Q: What is the book about? Forensic Psychology in Germany, 1880-1939: Witnessing Crime examines the emergence and early development of forensic psychology in Germany from the late nineteenth century until the outbreak of the Second World War, highlighting the field’s interdisciplinary beginnings and contested evolution.
Initially envisaged as a psychology of all those involved in criminal proceedings, this new discipline promised to move away from an exclusive focus on the criminal to provide a holistic view of how human fallibility impacted upon criminal justice. As this book argues, however, by the inter-war period, forensic psychology had largely become a psychology of the witness.
Q: Why is this important? A: My book looks at how and why the psychology of the witness, particularly the child witness, became important in German courtrooms in late nineteenth and early twentieth century Germany. It uses a number of sensational murder and sex crimes trials to look at how psychological expertise was applied in court and asks why forensic psychology appears to have gone into decline under the Nazis. This is the first book-length study of the history of forensic psychology in any national context and is therefore a significant contribution to the history of the field.
Q:Why is it relevant now? A: There remains today significant concern about the reliability of witness testimony, particularly in cases where children appear as prosecution witnesses. My work shows that the kinds of debates that emerged in the 1990s around the reliability of repressed memories and juvenile witnesses, were not new and had been rehearsed in German courtrooms as early as the 1890s. My work demonstrates what some of the consequences of these earlier debates were for the treatment of juvenile witnesses and the fortunes of forensic psychologists.
New Zealand writers of the past were stuck in a colonial backwater and forced overseas to gain appreciation and a readership, at least according to conventional literary history.
But in her new book The Expatriate Myth, UC History graduate Helen Bones overturns this traditional view of the literary lives of New Zealand writers in the late 19th and early 20th century. She questions these assumptions through her own detailed historical and empirical research.
‘Many New Zealand writers of this period travelled extensively or lived overseas for a time. But this was not a rejection of their homeland to advance their careers’, says Helen Bones. ‘Many of New Zealand’s writers living overseas operated in a transnational way, taking advantage of colonial networks in a way that belies any notion of a single national allegiance.’
Most who left New Zealand, even if they were away for a time, continued to write about and interact with their homeland, and in many cases came back, she says.
This fascinating and clear-sighted book is being launched by Professor Patrick Evans at a function at the University Book Shop, 5pm Thursday, 15 March. All are welcome.
Dr Helen Bones was raised and educated in Christchurch.
She is currently living in Australia, where she teaches history and has a research position in Digital Humanities at Western Sydney University.
This gripping and powerful collection spans Jeffrey’s writing career of more than 50 years. Exploring the journey of a life in Aotearoa New Zealand, Blood Ties touches on universal human concerns: love, loss, grief and courage in the face of difficulties, in a language that is accessible to all.
Blood Ties has been designed and printed in collaboration with Ilam Press and will be launched by acclaimed author and UC Emeritus Professor Patrick Evans.
When: 5.30-7.00pm, Thursday 9 March Where: University Bookshop, University Drive RSVP: for catering purposes by Thursday 2 March to email@example.com
Win a copy of Blood Ties (RRP $25)
To go in the draw to win a copy of Blood Ties, answer the following question:
Q: What was the title of Jeffrey’s previous collection of poetry, published by CUP in 2012? (Hint: find the answer here.)
Please email your answer to: firstname.lastname@example.org by 12 noon Tuesday 7 March. The winner will be drawn at random and announced in Intercom on 10 March.
New Zealand’s crime of the nineteenth century is the subject of a new book published by Canterbury University Press.
In the winter of 1866 five bodies were recovered from Maungatapu Mountain in the upper South Island, and another from the West Coast. But who had done the killing and how many other victims were there? In Murder on the Maungatapu: A narrative history of the Burgess Gang and their greatest crime, Wayne Martin draws on a wealth of primary sources to tell the fascinating story of this dark episode in our country’s history. This is a true tale of blood and gold, of betrayal and vengeance.
Book launch – you’re invited When: Thursday, 23 June, 6-7.30pm Where: Scorpio Books, BNZ Centre, 120 Hereford Street.
Please join us, we would love to see you there. RSVP for catering purposes by 16 June to email@example.com
Win a copy of Murder on the Maungatapu
To go in the draw to win a copy of this book, answer the following question: Who described Joseph Sullivan’s confession as “without its peer in the literature of murder”?