Wanted! Crime, Punishment, and the State in Habsburg Central Europe, c. 1750-1820

Monday, September 24, 2018
Marshall D. Shulman Seminar Room (1219 International Affairs Building, 420 W 118th St)

Please join the East Central European Center and the Harriman Institute for a talk with Dr. Stephan Sander-Faes, István Deák Visiting Professor at the Harriman Institute.

This talk features the more or less criminal deeds of individuals in the Austrian monarchy around the turn of the nineteenth century. Continuity and change, broadly understood, as well as an increasingly activist central government were the hallmarks of the Josephi(ni)st state during an era characterized by the French Revolution (1789), the ensuing Napoleonic wars, the end of the Holy Roman Empire (1806), and the incipient industrialization.

Dr. Sander-Faes will investigate a largely overlooked source type: wanted notes from Lower Austria during these momentuous decades. In looking at the communication, circulation, and modification of the relevant media, he will also touch upon the construction of ‘the criminal’, what he or she looked like, and how state officials described these offenders. Analysis of these (written) wanted notes further enables us to consider three additional aspects: the diffusion of body knowledge among a mostly illiterate peasantry, which highlights how judicial-bureaucratic sources may be used to analyze shifts in media use, and, finally, allows for insights into the material culture of the rural underclasses.