Dr Laura Lammasniemi awarded Leverhulme Fellowship
Congratulations to Assistant Professor, Dr Laura Lammasniemi has been awarded a Leverhulme Fellowship for her project, “Narratives of sexual consent in criminal courts, 1870-1950”. She will spend the year-long Fellowship writing a book on the findings of the project.
The project more broadly calls for new thinking on sexual consent as a legal concept. It explores how sexual consent was understood in every-day criminal trials before the legal definition of consent, and asks what that legal history can tell us about the very nature of this contested concept. The project is based on archival research on courtroom narratives on consent in areas of rape, prostitution and trafficking, and sexual activity with girls under the age of consent. Through historical analysis, the project will bring crucial insights on contemporary legal debates on sexual consent at a time when conviction rates are at an all-time low. As part of the Fellowship, she will stage performance pieces to explore the performative aspects of determining consent. Through archival research and the performance pieces, the project considers how consent can be created, or eradicated, as part of criminal trials, and whether the difficulty in defining consent is contained within the notion itself or within its translation into the court process.