Criminal Births: Infanticide, Stillbirth and the Rio de Janeiro Police, 1890-1940

  • 4/17/2014 | 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM
  • Location: Edward Pols House, Conference Room
  • Event Type: Lecture

Criminal Births: Infanticide, Stillbirth and the Rio de Janeiro Police, 1890-1940During Brazil's First Republic (1889-1930) and into the early Vargas era (1930-1937) in the capital city of Rio de Janeiro, police were involved in poor women's reproductive lives. Scholars studying women's reproductive practices in Brazil during that time period have conducted narrow examinations of legal documents pertaining to abortion, infanticide, and child abandonment. On the contrary, Cassia Roth ('08) will demonstrate that police investigations conflated fertility control practices such as abortion and infanticide with non-criminal occurrences like miscarriage and stillbirth. She will delineate the expansion of a de facto criminality surrounding practices related to and often confused with fertility control under the 1890 Penal Code (1890-1940) and contend that the police investigated the unfortunate but common occurrences of stillbirths as possible infanticides. Drawing on police investigations of infanticide, stillbirths, and birth-related infant deaths in Rio de Janeiro, Cassia argues that the state's incursion into poor women's reproductive lives transformed events like a difficult delivery or a stillbirth into potential crimes.

Join us for this lecture
Thursday, April 17, 4:15 pm
Edward Pols House Seminar Room

Cassia Roth '08 is a Ph.D. Candidate in History, UCLA

Free and open to the public. Sponsored by the Latin American Studies Program, Gender and Women's Studies Program, and the History Department.