Rachel Watson (NHC Fellow, 2020–21)

Project Title

Material as Evidence: Crime and Identity in American Literature, 1894–1968

Howard University

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Rachel Watson

Fellowship Work Summary, 2020–21

Rachel Watson revised and expanded one chapter and drafted material toward three new chapters for her book in progress Material as Evidence. This material was drawn from extensive reading and research conducted this year in areas including: the history of evidence law in the United States; the legal fight against Jim Crow prior to Brown v. BOE; the interwar history of how American social sciences conceptualized inequality; developments in police procedure, drawn from archival materials; literary and visual history of the crime genre. In addition to work on the book project, she also drafted two essays for publication: “Not Color, But Crime: Native Son and the Politics of Genre,” and “Forensic Architecture: A Study.” These essays will appear in summer 2021 in a special issue of the online journal nonsite, for which she also served as coeditor.