Critical Criminology

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 91–106 | Cite as

The Knowing of Monstrosities: Necropower, Spectacular Punishment and Denial



This study examines how newspaper accounts of criminality conceal and illuminate particular types of monstrosity in the postbellum United States. The paper offers an analysis of Gothicism—which typically frames the criminality of marginalized groups—as a technique of racial domination in narrative sites that construct knowledge on criminality and punishment. Analysis reveals a paradoxical lens of Gothicism in which oppressive groups can conceal monstrosity within a colonial context. The analysis of gothic accounts of criminality challenges the ways in which denial shapes modern monstrosity.


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Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Criminal JusticeUniversity of LouisvilleLouisvilleUSA

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