Rachel Watson, Howard University | Newberry

Rachel Watson, Howard University

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

5:30 to 7pm

American Literature Seminar

Spectacles of Evidence: The Warren Court, Police Power, and American Literature

This paper considers Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood (1965) as a postwar meditation on “criminal evidence” and literary writing, and reads the novel alongside three contemporaneous events concerning the authority of police power: the Supreme Court decisions in Mapp v. Ohio (1961) and Terry V. Ohio (1966), and the Warren Commission Report. This paper suggests how Capote’s coordination of a homicide investigator’s aim with that of the Great American Novelist might be understood in the broader context of changing notions regarding police power, and that both had a special significance for postwar liberalism and the burgeoning Civil Rights Movement.

Cost and Registration Information 

Newberry Scholarly Seminars are pre-circulated. For a copy of the paper, email scholarlyseminars@newberry.org. Please do not request a paper unless you plan to attend.