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Events Calendar

“She Was a Prostitute”: Trace, Race, and Place in Milwaukee’s Sexual Assault Adjudication

Wednesday, April 12, 2017 at 2:00pm to 3:35pm

Gerlinger Hall, Gerlinger Lounge
1468 University Street, Eugene, OR 97403

Professor Sameena Mulla demonstrates the complicated ways in which attorneys participating in sexual assault adjudication depend upon both the presence and absence of evidence to build their cases. The presentation argues that absence is as palpable and compelling as presence: who speaks, who does not and what is left unsaid are often central to the practices of the trial. This stands in stark contrast to the public imaginary of material evidence that is legible, determinate, and scientifically infallible. In reality, such evidence exists only in the realm of science fiction. It is the human voice and practices of testimony that centrally figure in adjudication outcomes, even in an era in which forensic evidence is commonly available. Interpreting absences and silences require attorneys to turn jurors towards the normative and familiar, often taking an adversarial posture toward the narrative of the victim-witness.