Women in Crime: Female Convicts in the Late 19th Century Habsburg Galicia

Upcoming Events Login

Thursday, May 19th, 2022

Thursday, May 19, 202212:00PM - 1:30PMOnline Event, Online Event
+ Register for this Event Print this Event Bookmark this Event


Dr Cherchovych’s study will address women’s criminal experience, in particular so called female crimes – infanticide, child abandonment, abortions, which were examined by Lviv Regional Court (Sąd Krajowy Lwowa) during 1865-1905. Who the convicted women were, what life experiences they shared? How did they shape their crimes into stories and what these stories meant? How they talked about their guilt and how in such stories they found a place for their own victimity? For the majority of the accused their act was not the only way out but just one of the chosen options. Why did they choose it? Dr. Cherchovych intends to show how often women who by default were denied the opportunity to choose, according to widely spread perception about mandatory natural women crime conditionality and potential deviancy of women, were able to take advantage of that judgement. The question of Can the Subaltern Speak? (by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak) in regards to the late 19th century Eastern Galician society would have a rather positive answer. As analyzed cases confirmed, the quality of accused woman self-defence in a court had played one of the most important roles in her sentence: the scale of the judgment given by a court had been directly correlated with a woman’s will or unwillingness to speak for herself, to create her own story. Not the education was the most important here (the majority of the accused were illiterate), but rather the very possibility to create her own self-narration which plot would have to go beyond personal life of the accused as vividly as possible covering her surroundings, many others whose social practices this woman had absorbed and had been reproducing.

Ivanna Cherchovych is a historian and anthropologist, a Research Fellow at the Department of Social Anthropology of Ethnology Institute of National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, a member of Ukrainian Association for the Study of Women’s History. She obtained her academic degree “kandydat nauk” (Ph.D. equivalent) from Ivan Krypyakevych Institute of Ukrainian Studies, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine in November 2014. Her dissertation was dedicated to everyday life of women from Ukrainian upper class in the late 19th century Habsburg Galicia. She was a visiting research fellow at Herder Institute for Historical Research on East Central Europe in Marburg (2017) and German Historical Institute in Warsaw (2019). Her current research focuses on the women’s criminal experience in 19th century Habsburg Galicia. She is currently a researcher hosted by the Jacyk Program.


Olga Kesarchuk


Ivanna Cherchovych
Research Fellow at the Department of Social Anthropology of Ethnology Institute of National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine; short-term Jacyk researcher

Lynne Viola
Professor of History, University of Toronto

Main Sponsor

Petro Jacyk Program for the Study of Ukraine


Center for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies

If you are attending a Munk School event and require accommodation(s), please email the event contact listed above to make appropriate arrangements.

Disclaimer: Please note that events posted on this website are considered to be public events – unless otherwise stated – and you are choosing to enter a space where your image and/or voice may be captured as part of event proceedings that may be made public as part of a broadcast, webcast, or publication (online and in print). We make every effort to ensure your personal information is kept and used in compliance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). If you have any questions please get in touch with our office at munkschool@utoronto.ca or 416-946-8900.

Newsletter Signup Sign up for the Munk School Newsletter

× Strict NO SPAM policy. We value your privacy, and will never share your contact info.