Dr Kate West, Oxford Brookes University

Although postcolonial criminology continues to grow, little of it has dealt with criminology’s colonial patriarch: Lombroso.

This article offers a feminist postcolonial discourse analysis of the most contentious images in his scholarship, namely the ‘Hottentot’ and European images of female genitals published in his La donna delinquente (1893). Using never-before-translated German, Russian and Italian language scholarly publications and archival documents, I recover the origin story of these images.

While they originated at different times and places and for different purposes, I show how they were networked by and for colonial patriarchy whereby the White was brought to bear upon the Black female body and which Lombroso then used to construct ‘criminal woman’.

Photo credit: Aamad Odeh, Unsplash