Marianne Constable, Professor

Closed (1) Chicago Husband-Killing and the New Unwritten Law and Several Shorter Projects

Applications for Fall 2018 are now closed for this project.



1) Chicago Husband-Killing and the New Unwritten Law is a book-length manuscript concerned with a particular defense known as the new unwritten law, which ostensibly exonerated women accused of killing their husbands in Chicago at the beginning of the twentieth century. The point of the book is to explore the rhetoric of law and the rhetoric of history. Given that law and history privilege writings as evidence and as sources of authority, how can one write a history of unwritten law?

Although much of the Chicago research is complete, I need some holes filled in regarding newspaper searches on particular cases. Some of these papers are available on line but many are not. I may also need some bibliographic help on a range of contextual issues having to do with Chicago history, women's legal history, what counts as an event and so forth.

I generally use a range of materials, including scholarly works, some legal materials (records, transcripts of trials, appeals), some cultural phenomena via newspaper stories, theatre, film reviews, an oral history, and works in philosophy and history. I have gathered and filed most of my material for the new unwritten law project, but a little tabulation and re-organization, as well as secondary research, is needed which builds on the work of past research apprentices.

2) I also have a number of small articles and projects at various stages of preparation that involve basic library research and/or editing and proofing concerning the writings of particular 20th-century figures, introductions/comments to some collections or articles, book reviews, grant proposals, and so forth. I'm looking for an apprentice to help me organize and keep up with this work. There is the possibility of doing some work in French.




In addition to meeting at a regular meeting time, URA tasks include:

A) newspaper research and organization of some case material; following up with non online searches to library, pick-up, return and admin of library materials

B) some quantitative work possible; some preparation of slide or image-based power point presentation possible.

C) following up on bibliographic queries re: law and langauge; rhetoric and philosophy of history (e.g. current articles/debate about the event: Deleuze, Badiou, psychoanalysis, who else?); legal history and criminology (treatment and coverage of Chicago women who killed after 1931; women on juries); possible bibliography of journals

Smaller project work may include:

A. First-run help with copy-editing and proofing of short ms's that are in press (timing depends on publication schedules). Some mechanical work (e.g. formatting and bibliography); some comments and help on writing and phrasing.

B. Preparing annotated bibliographies on particular topics such as the history of habit, of philosophical dialogues, of particular concepts of evidence.

C. Help with (French) transcription of some World War 2 memoirs.

D. General running around to the campus libraries and Interlibrary loan.


Qualifications: Junior or senior; the state of the project at the moment is such that students in any major with interest and/or experience in researching 1910's and 1920's US history and literature are especially welcome to apply.

Required: 1. strong research skills, knowledge of ucb libraries and willing to run around to them, good at online sources and searching beyond them, interest in substantive themes; 2. able to grasp big picture, work independently, ask for help when stymied; meet with me in my office at regular meeting time that we will establish. Desirable/not essential (depending on project): 3. some knowledge of legal system and interested in learning more, although not necessarily pre-law; 4. knowledge of excel (or comparable spread sheets), basic power point, bibliographic forms; 5. some background working with writing of others; I will be asking you in part to read some of my work in draft and to note where/how more explanation is needed. In your application, please describe how you are qualified and which aspects of the project you are most interested and prepared for, rather than simply asserting that you are! Give examples of things you have done or classes you have taken that you think can carry over into this work.

Weekly Hours: 6-8 hrs