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Letter from the Chair

Dana Rabin

Associate Professor of History
Associate Professor of LAS Global Studies
Center for Global Studies

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Contact Info

Office Hours

Fall 2016: Tuesday 3:30-5

Areas of Specialization

Early modern Britain, legal, cultural, and gender history

Specializations / Research Interest(s)

  • The social and cultural history of early modern Britain; empire, race, and nation in Britain; Britain in the global eighteenth-century; early modern Jewish history; the Jewish Atlantic world; the history of crime; the history of emotion; women and gender in early modern Europe; Anglo-American legal history

Research Description

  • Dana Rabin specializes in the history of eighteenth-centuryBritain with an emphasis on crime, law, gender, and race. Her first book, Identity, Crime and Legal Responsibility in Eighteenth-Century England, is astudy of the language of mental states in the English courtroom. The book setslegal sources within a cultural context to reveal the relationships betweenemotion, responsibility, gender, and citizenship in the eighteenth century.

    Her current project, Britain and its Internal Outsiders 1750-1800: Under Rule of Law, under contract with Manchester University Press, examines the intersection of metropole and colony through an analysis of legal events involving criminal trials, law suits, legislation, and riot that unfolded in London in the second half of the eighteenth century. Featuring six cases, the book analyzes the intertwined Jewish Naturalization Act and Elizabeth Canning kidnapping case (each unfolded in 1753-1754); the Somerset Case (1771-72); the Gordon Riots (1780); the Spithead and Nore mutinies of 1797; and the Act of Union with Ireland in 1800. These legal events became newsworthy because each instance revolved around the presence of outsiders at home, exposing the contradictions in Britain's ideology of equality, rights, and freedom and the imbrication of metropole and colony. In this period the boundary between empire and home was not clearly drawn: this study uses legal events as a prism through which to analyze the complexities wrought by empire and how the law created, delineated, maintained, and managed categories of difference.


  • Ph.D. University of Michigan 1996

Distinctions / Awards

  • George S. and Gladys W. Queen Excellence in Teaching Award



  • Identity, Crime, and Legal Responsibility in Eighteenth-Century England. . New York: Palgrave, 2004.

Book Contributions

  • Rabin, Dana. "“‘For the Shame of the World, and Fear of Her Mother’s Anger’: Emotion and child murder in England and Scotland in the long eighteenth century”." Honour, Violence and Emotion: Historical Perspectives. . Ed. Carolyn Strange, Robert Cribb, and Christopher Forth. London: Bloomsbury, 2014. 69-87.

  • "The Sorceress, the Servant, and the Stays: Sexuality and Race in Eighteenth-Century Britain." Moving Subjects: Gender, Mobility, and Intimacy in an Age of Empire. . Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2009. 252-273.

  • "Bodies of Evidence, States of Mind: Infanticide, Emotion, and Sensibility in Eighteenth-Century England." Infanticide: Historical Perspectives, 1550-2000. . London: Ashgate, 2002. 73-92.

Journal Articles

  • "'In a Country of Liberty?': Slavery, Villeinage and the Making of Whiteness in the Somerset Case (1772)." History Workshop Journal Autumn.72 (2011):
  • "Seeing Jews and Gypsies in 1753." Cultural and Social History 7 (2010): 35-58.
  • "The Jew Bill of 1753: Masculinity, Virility, and the Nation.." Eighteenth-Century Studies 39.2 (2006): 157-171.