Printer Friendly

Negotiating metropolitan spaces and identities: a historian's reading of tactics in 1920's New York homicide trials.


THE RECURRENT ASSOCIATION OF THE IMMIGRANT WITH CRIME (E.G., THE LAZY, criminal Albanian in 1990's Greece, or the homicidal Latino in Florida) has been questioned by researchers who have elucidated the institutional and cultural processes behind such stereotypes (Lee et al., 2001; Menjivar and Bejarano, 2004;Vassilis, 1998). Such anxieties are not recent phenomena: global movements of people and things have their histories. Boundary setting around imagined communities of race and nation has subjected migrating bodies to shifting technologies of regulation. How might such regulation inflect migrant identities? Furthermore, how might migration produce cultural imaginaries in the space and time between here and there, then and now? Such effects are grounded in the everyday, but acquire particular visibility through disciplinary regimes, including criminal justice. This article uses New York homicide trials in the early 1920s. Such trials were moments when the law made violence visible and the conditions of that visibility were that violence became legible as a product of everyday sociality in working-class neighborhoods (D'Cruze and Rao, 2004).

By the 1920s, North American cities had become the social and demographic outcome of successive waves of migration, mostly from Europe. The Chicago School's cognitive mapping of zones of the city lapped outward from downtown to cheap housing in a downscale urban infrastructure located near waged work, establishing a model that associated crime with the "zone of transition" (Park et al., 1925). Models of causation elided place, ethnicity, poverty, and material deprivation with crime and deviance. It was nevertheless a comparatively optimistic model, showing how, over time, migrants developed social and cultural mobility, either across a lifetime or between generations. Migrants had the potential to become respectable U.S. citizens. However, social mobility was frequently linked to spatial mobility and newer migrants inevitably arrived to occupy the "zone of transition." Poor migrant communities seemed an affront to the modernity of the progressive American city. Nevertheless, they were places where lives were lived and the material and social problematics (and violences) of inhabiting the city were negotiated. Migrants' marginality and disadvantage meant such negotiations were, in de Certeau's sense, tactical-limited, transient, and achieved from positions of comparative powerlessness. They were nonetheless agentive, and such bounded and situated agency is evident even in the speech acts recorded in the frequently hostile courtroom environment.

Since 1855, New York County's General Sessions of the Peace (NYGS) had been empowered to try crimes attracting life imprisonment and capital punishment. Its jurisdiction overlapped with the state's Supreme Court, and in the 1920s its activities were still substantially independent of other sections of the criminal justice system. Furthermore, the district attorney had considerable freedom to decide where cases were presented. Consequently, the General Sessions heard most of New York's criminal cases and Progressive Era reformers criticized its crowded calendars and administrative inefficiency, even corruption. In New York in 1900, three times as many cases were settled by guilty pleas than by jury trials (Friedman, 1993: 251). This article uses the transcripts of homicide trials from 1920 to 1922 from an extensive archive collected at the appellate stage and hence are not typical of the Sessions caseload (Rowland, 1980: 13-15). These trials, which involved fatal violence, went before a jury and were sufficiently controversial to come to appeal. Of the 62 cases involving fatalities in these two years, those discussed here say something about neighborhood, home, sociability, race, gender, and ethnicity, though most at least touch upon the headline preoccupations of 1920s New York criminal justice: street violence, organized crime, and racketeering. I pay particular attention to women's testimony, though not through the impulse to "do" women's history. Immigrant women's voices are interesting because though discursively marginal, they are often well informed about proximate, everyday cultures. Their testimony not infrequently shifts the dynamics of the cases being argued. These transcripts are rich, textured, and heteroglossial narratives that are centered on particular occasions in which acute physical violence ripped into lives already heavily complicated by spatial and cultural transitions, tough labor conditions, poor housing, and dense overcrowding. These highly mediated narratives became public in the formal and combative arena of the Sessions courtroom, after intrusive and sometimes pretty oppressive intervention by the police and the district attorney's office; testimony was often given through an interpreter. Of course, the judicial outcomes, and the punitive consequences inscribed on criminalized bodies, were largely over-determined by the disciplinary practices of law and the perceptions of (mostly) white male jurors (Robertson, 2002). Nevertheless, these utterances do disclose different subject positions, different social imaginaries of city, family, and community, and something of migrants' precarious tactics of identity performance.

Tenement and Neighborhood

By the 1920s, New York's skyline was already punctured by skyscrapers like the 792-foot Woolworth Building. These "cathedrals to commerce" were the manifest symbols of the capitalist and industrial logics that had created this metropolis. On both sides of the Atlantic, sociologists and social and political activists, not to mention architects, city governments, and politicians associated the city with modernity and progress (Rodgers, 1998). Concentrations of population, the cash wage, mass transit, the macro urban infrastructure, and everyday encounters with strangers seemed to go with dominant perceptions of clearly bounded individuality and an idealized expectation of a certain rationality and homogeneity in social, political, and economic relations, but this vision was always in tension with perceptions of the city as disorderly and potentially threatening (Wilson, 1991: 6-8).

In Manhattan, constraints on space had led to high densities of population and concentrations of highly visible poverty. (1) Immigrants had come from Europe in two major waves across the 19th and early 20th-centuries and from elsewhere in the U.S., particularly south to north movements of black Americans. In turn, each major immigrant group was associated with vice, poverty, and criminality. Prohibition had begun in 1919 and ethnic Americans were involved in organized crime, whose apparent corporate and commercial orientation identified it as a problem of the modern city. Respectable perceptions thus wrestled with contradictions; the city produced crime, yet criminality could also be pinned on poorer recent migrants, whose deviant propensities were characteristics they had apparently bought with them from their place of origin. Outraged or concerned, native and ethnic American respectable public opinion resorted to racialized stereotypes. The German-Jewish New York press blamed recent Jewish immigrants, whom it labeled as "uncouth Asiatics," for crime and prostitution on the Lower East Side (Binder and Reimers, 1995:118). The perceived deviance in migrant neighborhoods undermined the integrity of the nation, both in terms of democratic ideals and practically, where votes were bought and sold through machine politics.

Conceptually, the Western predilection for fashioning its cultural and geographic self-identifications over against "a radical and exoticised alterity" meant that modern cities held their secrets (Crang and Thrift, 2000: 10). At one level, these were very open secrets. Reformers and cultural tourists had long circulated highly colored descriptions of squalor, vice, and depravity in notorious Victorian slums such as Five Points. Nevertheless, such sensationalist accounts also served to erase the mundane, material dis-ease of tenement living and people's efforts to make a life there. The grid of streets and the replicated plans of mass-built tenement housing made cultures of poverty easily locatable and imaginatively blurred through the amplifications of dominant discourse. In the 1920s, 34th to 57th streets between Ninth and Twelfth were still known as "Hell's Kitchen." Since Comstock, moralists had pointed dramatically to working-class neighborhoods as environmental accelerators of an elided array of social problems: poverty, delinquency, drunkenness, vice, crime, violence, and political corruption, though as modern historians have demonstrated, much of this was hyperbole (Monkkonen, 2001). Progressivists mapped and photographed "in accurate scientific form" the conditions of tenement living for the exhibition in 1899, which led to Lawrence Veiller's New York State Tenement House Law (1901). Their precise topographical descriptions of "the tenement problem" were of necessity racially inflected, given the known demographics of the city's working-class population. Veiller (1900) saw tenements as "the breeding places of vice and crime," as well as of disease and debility. The case study methods of the new social sciences also tended to personalize narratives of urban deprivation; if the tenement neighborhood was the cause, both the suffering and its potential amelioration were understood at the level of spatially located individuals and households--an architectonics of "the Other within" (Cappetti, 1993: 54). On one block, Veiller's survey counted 605 tenement apartments, housing 2,781 people, who shared 264 water closets (Ibid.). Trial transcripts demonstrate something of how people negotiated such material conditions. There was little domestic privacy. The Grubbs slept in their kitchen, subletting the other room. William Grubb became violent when a drunken social caller early on a Sunday initiated a drinking party with Mrs. Grubb (still in bed) and their lodger, while Grubb tried to sleep (NYGS, 3651 11.1.1922).

There were plenty of good reasons for immigrant women (and often men) to be guarded when giving testimony in court (compare, e.g., Haag, 1992; Peiss, 1986; Robertson, 2002). Yet there is agency in these silences, a witness box performance of the demarcation of respectability and restraint. No witnesses volunteered information about domestic violence or minor legal infractions unless the case demanded it. People could be reticent about domestic conversations. The evening that Willie Sperdutti was killed, his mother had cooked his dinner. In court she said, "No, I didn't speak to him. He ate and then went away." He was married and lived elsewhere. His mother cooked and said nothing? Beyond reported silences, there were tactical moments of not seeing. Unsurprisingly, women more often declared they removed their gaze. When Sperdutti was shot, Carolina Lascalla, returning home from work, caught a stray bullet, but saw nothing because, "after I was shot in my foot, I was looking at my foot. I did not look at nothing else" (p. 37). Rebecca Meyers kept the ground-floor grocery store (a euphemism for saloon, and if the police story is true, a regular gambling venue). "I was in the backroom and I talked just with my child.... I tell you the truth--I had no time to go into the street looking. I attend to the store and must attend ..." (p. 130).

Similarly, in Harlem, Martha Robinson watched a street fight from her apartment window and had to explain her indulgence in such dubious pleasures. She had to go to the window at any noise, she said, in case it might be a fire (NYGS, 3517 21.3.1921: 245). Her presence at the window was linked to a duty to police the boundaries of domestic space. However, other sources describe how poverty led to an enforced mutuality that rendered such boundaries porous (Greenberg, 1997:177). Women's emphasis in court on their occupation and control of domestic space lays claims to respectability and recurs particularly where respectability might be questioned. Nevertheless, trial transcripts might also show something of how not seeing or not speaking, or reinforcing domestic boundaries, could be practices aimed at maintaining bodily and personal space in a highly congested living environment in which so much of everyday life was open to scrutiny.

Occupying the City

New York's administration, including its police, were part of the system of voter management and job distribution, controlled through Democratic Party headquarters at Tammany Hall; most police were Irish-American. It was understood that payoffs and perquisites made up a substantial part of police remuneration. It cost $300 to become a patrolman, though the starting salary in 1901 was no more than $800 a year (Binder and Reimers, 1995: 100). Monkkonen (1983) argues that police attention had shifted from social control to crime control, and in the process further distanced the police from working-class culture. Nevertheless, station houses colonized tenement neighborhoods and uniformed patrolmen were on post with a surveillance remit over territories of around half a block. In my sample of cases, only in Irish neighborhoods do people know the police by name or is police responsiveness to the community comparable to that which Vonhoffman (1992) finds for Boston. In Harlem, police arrested an innocent man they knew as Shine, not knowing (or not caring) that this was a very common nickname for dark-complexioned black men (NYGS 3517, 21.3.1921). When an agitated Ukrainian asked for police help after a shooting, the patrolman (who could not understand Russian) simply walked away (NYGS, 9696, 21.6.1921).

Aided by the rational spatial organization of the street plan, the watching patrolmen obtained an extensive, but highly situated visual knowledge of people and events. Frank Garritano had shot Willie Sperdutti on Mott Street one summer evening (NYGS, 3660, 8.2.1922). Detective Maher knew them "from seeing them in the neighborhood," but could not say whether he had seen them together (p. 42). Garritano also knew Officer Cashman, "but not to speak to" (p. 53). If visuality was significant, what signifiers were being read? Postmortem evidence shows that Sperdutti was 25 years old, five feet, five inches tall, and around 130 pounds--a small man by modern standards (pp. 26-27). A sharp dresser, he wore a mohair suit with a white silk shirt. Thus, his body surface refused poverty, though an old chronic pleurisy of the left lung inscribed a history of poor health. To the extent that identity was embodied, the dynamic interchanges between performativity and the official gaze informed the structuration of habitus, of the possibilities of being (and of being criminalized).

Of course, the police were not the only ones who watched. People watched the police, and they watched each other. Women's testimony frequently involves knowledge acquired through their occupation of domestic spaces, their own and those of friends and kin. When they were in the street, they were going somewhere. By contrast, male witnesses described the streets (saloons, stores, and restaurants) as leisure and business space. Men talk about hanging out. It was not unusual not to know where someone lived, but to know where you could find him. Such differences probably obscure as much as they reveal about actual gendered uses of public urban space, but they do speak to the complexities of people's mental maps. Because courts wanted precise topographies of violence, the gridded street plan is a frequent point of reference. Witnesses were certainly "prepped," but they were often much more confident about orientations to the street grid than about calculating timings or distance (Hale, 2002: 41). Describing an indoor shooting in a tenement kitchen, one witness was asked: "Q: What side of the table were you on? A: I was on the side towards 7th Avenue, like; more near towards the backyard, but over at the corner like of the table" (NYGS, 3651, 11.1.1922: 28).

Frank Garritano, who had shot Willie Sperdutti, had himself been wounded, falling at the junction of Mott and Canal. He claimed to be going to see his mother, but this was not on his direct route. The judicial imperative to test the reliability of his story elicits from him detail of how young men knew and traversed their territories of socialization. After visiting his mother, he was going to hang out with a friend and was stopping off on the way to tell the friend to wait for him in the candy store further down Mott. Both men lived more than six blocks further north, but they chose to hang out where there were particular concentrations of southern Italian residents. Garritano was adamant that he was not talking about the corner of Mott and Bayard, which was Sperdutti's turf. He knew Sperdutti to say hello to, that was all. The prosecution argued that the two were friends who had held up a gambling game and were quarrelling over the spoils. Sperdutti's parents lived at 70 Mott. Rose Sperdutti, Willie's 17-year-old sister, conclusively linked the two men. Sperdutti was married and lived in another neighborhood, though he hung out where he grew up. Rose, with her authoritative ability to speak of domestic space, revealed that one night she had seen Garritano and Sperdutti together in "my brother's mother-in-law's home" (p. 135).

Speech Acts

Courtroom utterances called for the performative adoption of situated subject positions. Caterina Sparaco, 47, had lived in the U.S. for 28 years. She was a registered midwife with an office and a round of Italian patients in the Bronx and Manhattan. In the winter of 1918-1919, the influenza pandemic was causing many miscarriages. The Riccos lived at E. 89th in Manhattan. Maria Ricco, 38 years old and four months pregnant, lived with her husband John (probably a bootblack), six children, and her mother, Louisa Filomena. None of the adults in this case spoke English and only the children could use a telephone. Maria had called out the midwife, as she had been ill with back pains and bleeding for some days. Despite Caterina Sparaco's nursing and the attendance of two doctors, septicemia developed and around a week later Maria Ricco died in hospital. Sparaco was tried in February 1920 for first-degree manslaughter (NYGS, 3286 2.2.1920).

The comparative success of Caterina Sparaco in occupying and traversing the city, in shaping a coherent "modern" identity, and in speaking in court contrasts with the apparent incoherence, implausibility, diminished spatial autonomy, and "unmodernity" of the dead woman's mother, Louisa Filomena, the chief prosecution witness. Louisa was 65 and had been in the U.S. for 22 years. In the witness box, she was voluble and performative. "I was crying all the time and that was the time my daughter was taken into hospital" (p. 25). The whole family's vulnerability at that moment was inscribed on, and in court represented over, the mother's suffering body--about which the testimony provides explicit description. Louisa Filomena claimed that Sparaco was a "bloody witch" who had used scissors to "cut a piece" out of her daughter. Sparaco had "run away; she was afraid I would beat her." She repeated that her daughter had been "crippled up," miming by "placing both hands up across her chest closing her fists, raising up her legs to abdomen" (p. 26).

The court complained at her lack of direct answers and on cross-examination her evidence was thoroughly shaken. If we refuse what was the court's view of her as foolish, over-emotional, and unreliable, we can perhaps see Louisa Filomena's story as describing not a factual, but an emotional reality, in which attributions of guilt arose less out of events but out of the intensity of her grief in reaction to them. She was not speaking from a position of power. "My son-in-law would not allow me to go out because there would not be anybody there to take care of the family" (p. 26). This is not to ignore the power that motherhood and seniority could accrue to women in southern European peasant societies, or the extent to which such powers could be exercised within immigrant communities. It does not even assume that Louisa Filomena always did what her son-in-law told her. In fact, it was she who had taken matters outside the family and called in the law, again performatively--she had taken the bloody cotton waste that the midwife had used to clean her daughter's bleeding "to the law the justice." Yet she misjudged the ways in which the law would understand her utterances. In court, she self-presented as the embodiment of her family, but the hurt of her daughter's death was not something the law could assuage per se.

In contrast, Caterina Sparaco (about whose family and home life the transcript does not tell) had a professional identity (she had been licensed as a midwife since 1906), a network of contacts with doctors and hospitals, professional skills and judgment, and was able to traverse the city to visit her patients. She used a speculum appropriately. Her testimony demonstrated knowledge and control of acceptable narrative strategies and medical discourse. She gave her evidence through an interpreter, but the medical terminology was her own. She mentioned a detached placenta and the court checked that she knew the meaning of the word. She recognized the symptoms of advancing septicemia and took a good deal of trouble to find a hospital that would admit her patient (hospitals were crowded because of the influenza). Unsurprisingly, she was the far more convincing witness. Immigrant women inhabited the metropolis in different ways and their utterances were differentially heard in the neighborhood and in the court.

Here and There

The Jewish Communal Register estimated New York's Jewish population at some 1.4 million in 1917 to 1918 (Binder and Reimers, 1995: 115). By 1910, Russian Jews were already the largest immigrant group. Most settled in the Lower East Side, with migrants from different regions clustering around particular blocks. In June 1921, Julius Rossenwasser (known as Yiddle), a Ukrainian Jew, was tried for the murder of Jacob Mazzura (NYGS, 9696, 21.6.1921). That February, Mazzura had been killed in Yiddle's apartment at 125 Stanton Street. Mazzura and a companion, Vasil Gustyak, were gentiles, but from the same area as Yiddle (Podolia, in the disputed Polish-Russian territories). (2) They had spent the war years working in an ammunition factory in Pennsylvania and since then had done casual work in New York. They had saved respectively $1,000 and $2,000, and were about to return to Ukraine, with their savings sewn into their heavy (distinctively "Russian") winter clothes. Andrew Sevak was younger. A distant relation of Gustyak, from the same place, he claimed to be returning to Podolia with them, though his savings of $500 were less. Sevak also knew Yiddle and it was he who led them to Yiddle's apartment, apparently to meet up with Yiddle's sister, who had recently arrived from Ukraine and had news of Mazzura's wife.

Yiddle was out and his wife went to fetch him, leaving Gustyak playing with her baby. Then she took the baby to her mother's. Yiddle returned, not with his sister, but with Abe Kapiloff from the next tenement, as well as another man. They held up Mazzura and Gustyak for their money. Yiddle's defense claimed that Abe had brought in the extra muscle, but nobody expected this man to produce a gun. Gustyak escaped with a bullet in the arm and Mazzura was killed. Yiddle, Sevak, Kapiloff, and the unknown shooter made off. Sevak was soon picked up, protesting innocence of any conspiracy. Yiddle got as far as Boston before he was arrested a month later. He was found guilty of first-degree murder. Kapiloff and the other guy apparently disappeared.

The trial transcript demonstrates the folded, fluid identities of the people involved and the nuanced, contingent connections between Ukraine and the Lower East Side. It does not explain (though it implies) the effect of the recent warfare in Ukraine, which had been lost to revolutionary Russia in 1918, but subsequently saw fighting in the Russian Civil War and the Russo-Polish War. After a ceasefire the previous autumn, it was ceded to Poland on March 3, 1921. (3) Mazzura and Gustyak were returning home at the first opportunity. The $1,000 would have made them substantial men in Podolia in 1921. No wonder that Gustyak, locked up in the House of Detention awaiting the trial, despaired: "when we started to talk about the case, I started to cry. Because I was suffering for nothing on account of this case" (p. 52).

Religious and linguistic divisions, which produced axes of difference in New York, were probably more divisive in Russia. (4) Mazzura (the murder victim), Gustyak, and Sevak were Christian and spoke Russian. Sevak was illiterate and had learned only a few words of English after eight years in the U.S. Yiddish was spoken among Jews in both locations. Yiddle spoke good English and may have had some Russian. His Polish wife, Sadie, spoke Polish, Yiddish, and some English. They had married in New York in 1919. Sadie Rossenwasser was known in New York as Sadie Rothman, Rothman being her mother-in-law's maiden name. Her evidence emphasizes her self-identification as Jewish and as linked closely to female networks of kin. Yiddle's sister had been in New York for weeks, staying nearby with her mother. Though Yiddle had hardly seen her, Sadie met up with her almost daily. Sadie was not that pleased to have three male, gentile visitors to her apartment on Shabbat, particularly since they could not understand Polish, Yiddish, or English. The robbery and the murder were fairly much men's business, but had taken place in (her) domestic space.

In the testimony of other witnesses, Sadie Rossenwasser fades from the story when she goes to fetch Yiddle. In her own (and her husband's) evidence, she returns with him and a row takes place between husband and wife in the bedroom, with the other five men in the adjoining room. The substance of the row is that she wanted to take their baby to the doctor--the child was constipated--and Yiddle wanted the child to remain and took off its outdoor clothes. He wanted her to stay and they would both go to the doctor later. She countered that after sunset (after Shabbat), it was too cold to take the baby out. If Yiddle was persuading her to stay either to prevent the robbery or to implicate her in it, Sadie's narrative removes her from any involvement for an entirely respectable reason--a mother's duty to her child. She left and went to her mothers (who dosed the baby with castor oil). Yiddle, she said, wanted her to make tea for the guests. In his testimony, he claims that he was later making the tea and so did not see who shot Mazzura. He seeks to represent himself as marginal, feminized, nonviolent, and thus blameless because he was doing women's work.

Sadie Rossenwasser was positioned marginally by ethnicity and gender not only against other witnesses, but also against the criminal justice system. Nevertheless, she was assertive under pressure in court and her perspectives from the margins make her testimony a productive place to address questions of identity. The prosecution was hostile, challenging her on answers in her police statement, which she claimed had been made under duress, late at night, with the police shouting and banging the table; she was crying and fainting. Sadie Rossenwasser claimed that at the police station, emotion, fear, and her poor command of English had eroded her rationality and consequently her trial evidence was more reliable than her statement. She made tactical use of dynamics of spatiality and temporality to assert that in the courtroom (here and now), she was rational and accurate. The prosecution tried to make her look foolish by challenging her assertion that she was 24 years old. She used constructions of alterity to explain that by the Jewish calendar, she was counted as in her 24th year. She acknowledged the nature and purpose of the courtroom as a formal, forensic, and American space. Asked whether she could speak English, she said she could speak a few words, but here in court "where you must use good language, I can't speak" (p. 235), though she was also answering counsel's questions put in English.

Sadie Rossenwasser also explained how she negotiated difference in race and gender. She disapproved of the visitors because they were speaking Russian and could not understand her, but also because they were Christian.

"Q: Well, how did you know that they were Christian people? A: What do you think I am, that I don't know the difference between a Christian and a Jew? If they were Jews, they could have spoken Yiddish to me ... it is very easy to recognize a man, whether he is a Jew or a Gentile.... There is a difference between American people and foreigners. The American people, you can't distinguish at all; they all look alike, Jews and gentiles, but foreigners you can recognize immediately.... I never had any business with foreign gentiles.... No gentiles came up to my house before" (p. 253).

Sadie Rothman's canny analysis drew on her skills of urban living. She emphasized the legitimacy of her Jewish identity and family networks. She tactically deployed self-representations of her own past speech as less reliable when under threat by the police, but refused this identity in the "here and now" of the courtroom. There, she positioned herself as rational and American as against the oddities of the "foreign gentiles," who, in the domestic space that she controlled, were unable to speak and met violence at men's hands, but only once she had left.


Diverse economies (of labor, housing, commerce, and pleasure) mapped the city's unknowabilities across differentiated urban space, recognizing, criminalizing, and, as Knopp (1995: 162) argues, eroticizing particular neighborhoods. At the same time, working people's social identities within the city were heavily complicated (or folded) through practices, relationships, and cultural imaginaries deriving from other locations. This heterology (in De Certeau's terminology), or multiplicity of knowledges of the city, was shaped by overlapping spatialities (between people's places of origin and the New York neighborhood) and temporalities (between past and present lives of individuals and groups). In a society that prioritized social mobility and the achievement of American identity, migrants were comparatively marginalized. When and if their already difficult lives were marked by fatal violence, their vulnerabilities were made visible by the operation of the law. If they spoke from pretty powerless positions before the law, they were not simply its victims. The courtroom thickened space and time (in Bakhtin's sense, it was a chronotope). It asked people to explicate their tactics of metropolitan living, the passes, the mimicries (Lahiri, 2003), and the aspirations. Witnesses had to translate everyday relationships, circumstances, and violent events into a narrative acceptable in a combative judicial forum, whose culture and often whose language was not their own. Some failed hopelessly, of course, but others, who could take up legible and acceptable subject positions, had greater narrative success. They had no power over the law, but they grasped some residual and tactical agency over their own speech acts.


(1.) Compare the different developments of cities with plenty of littoral space for expansion, e.g., Los Angeles (Davis, 1990).

(2.) Many migrants then came from Ukraine. The transcript specifies "Podolska, Butchiakomen," which is not directly traceable on modern maps. This was an inscription of names relayed via a translator. Podolia is named Podole in Russian. These people are probably from the Podolian town of Kamianets-Podil's'kyi (Kumenets-Podolsk in Yiddish).

(3.) An Armistice had been signed at Riga on October 12, 1920, though the peace treaty was not finalized until March 1921 (Mawdsley, 1987: 250).

(4.) Ukraine was within the Pale of Settlement for Jews under the Russian Empire and had seen anti-Jewish pogroms in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and by 1900 there was evidence of Zionism (Treadgold, 1995: 22-23; 46). The fertile Ukraine was important to Russia, and hence the revolutionary government's unsuccessful military attempts to regain it after 1918. Ukraine had particularly exploitative rural social relations and commercial farming, and saw rural revolts in 1905 and 1917. Only 2.6% of the 1897 population were Russian, compared to 75.1% Ukrainian, 12.3% Polish, and 12.3% Jewish (Wandycz, 1974: 248).


Anderson Benedict 1983 Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. London: Verso.

Binder, Frederick M. and David M. Reimers 1995 All the Nations Under Heaven: An Ethnic and Racial History of New York City. New York: Colombia University Press.

Cappetti, Carla 1993 Writing Chicago: Modernism, Ethnography, and the Novel. New York, Chichester: Columbia University Press.

Crang, Mike and Nigel Thrift (eds.) 2000 Thinking Space. London: Routledge.

Davis, Mike 1990 City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles. London: Verso.

D'Cruze, Shani and Anupama Rao 2004 "Violence and the Vulnerabilities of Gender." S. D'Cruze and A. Rao (eds.), Violence, Vulnerability, and Embodiment, a special issue of Gender & History 16,3 (forthcoming).

Friedman, Lawrence M. 1993 Crime and Punishment in American History. New York: Basic Books.

Greenberg, Cheryl Lynn 1997 Or Does It Explode? Black Harlem in the Great Depression. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Grillo, R.D. 2000 "Plural Cities in Comparative Perspective." Ethnic and Racial Studies 23,6: 957-981.

Haag, P. 1992 "The Ill Use of a Wife: Patterns of Working-Class Violence in Domestic and Public New York City, 1860-1880." Journal of Social History 25,3: 447-477.

Hale, Jonathan 2002 "Cognitive Mapping, New York vs. Philadelphia." N. Leach (ed.), The Legible Metropolis: Hieroglyphics of Space. London: Routledge: 31-42.

Knopp, Lawrence 1995 "Sexuality and Urban Space, a Framework for Analysis." D. Bell and G. Valentine (eds.), Mapping Desire. London: Routledge: 149-161.

Lahiri, S. 2003 "Performing Identity: Colonial Migrants, Passing, and Mimicry Between the Wars." Cultural Geographies 10,4: 408-423.

Lee, M. et al. 2001 "Does Immigration Increase Homicide? Negative Evidence from Three Border Cities." Sociological Quarterly 42,4:559-580.

Martinez, R. et al. 2003 "Reconsidering the Marielito Legacy: Race/Ethnicity, Nativity, and Homicide Motives." Social Science Quarterly 84,2:397-411.

Mawdsley, Evan 1987 The Russian Civil War. Boston: Allen & Unwin.

Menjivar, C. and C. Bejarano 2004 "Latino Immigrants' Perceptions of Crime and Police Authorities in the United States: A Case Study from the Phoenix Metropolitan Area." Ethnic and Racial Studies 27,1: 120-148.

Monkkonen, E.H. 2001 Murder in New York City. Berkeley: University of California Press.

1983 "The Organized Response to Crime in 19th Century and 20th Century America." Journal of Interdisciplinary History 14,1: 113-128.

Park, Robert E., Ernest W. Burgess, and R.D. Mackenzie 1925 The City. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Patterson, James T. 1981 America's Struggle Against Poverty, 1900-1980. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Peiss, Kathy 1986 Cheap Amusements: Working Women and Leisure in Turn of the Century New York. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

Phillips, S. et al. 2002 "Brutality at the Border? Use of Force in the Arrest of Immigrants in the United States." International Journal of the Sociology of Law 30,4: 285-306.

Presdee, Mike 2000 Cultural Criminology and the Carnival of Crime. London: Routledge.

Robertson, S. 2002 "Making Right a Girl's Ruin: Working Class Legal Culture and Forced Marriage in New York City, 1890-1950." Journal of American Studies 36: 199-230.

Rodgers, Daniel T. 1998 Atlantic Crossings: Social Politics in a Progressive Age. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Rowland, E. 1980 Trial Transcripts of the County of New York, 1883-1927: A Historical Introduction with an Index to the Microfilm Collection. New York: CUNY.

Sante, Luc 1988 Low Life. London: Granta.

Stolberg, Mary 1995 Fighting Organized Crime: Political Justice and the Legacy of Thomas E. Dewey. Boston: Northeastern University Press.

Treadgold, Donald W. 1995 Twentieth Century Russia. Eighth edition. Boulder: Westview Press.

Vassilis, Karydis 1998 "Criminality or Criminalization of Migrants in Greece: An Attempt at Synthesis." V. Ruggiero et al., New European Criminology. London: Routledge: 350-367.

Veiller, Lawrence 1900 "The Tenement-House Exhibition of 1899." Charities Review 10: 19; 25. At

Vonhoffman, A. 1992 "An Officer of the Neighborhood: A Boston Patrolman on the Beat in 1895." Journal of Social History 26,2: 309-330.

Wandycz, Piotr S. 1974 The Lands of Partitioned Poland, 1795-1981. Washington: University of Washington Press.

Weissman, Joselit Jenna 1983 Our Gang: Jewish Crime and the New York Jewish Community, 1900-1940. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Wenger, Beth S. 1996 New York Jews and the Great Depression: Uncertain Promise. New Haven. CT: Yale University Press.

Wilson, Elizabeth 1991 The Sphinx in the City: Urban Life, the Control of Disorder and Women. Berkeley: University of California Press.

SHANI D'CRUZE is Reader ill the Department of Humanities and Applied Social Studies, MMU Cheshire, Manchester Metropolitan University, Hassal Road, Alsager, Cheshire ST7 2HL U.K.; e-mail: She is a National Committee Member of the Social History Society (U.K.) and the author of Crimes of Outrage: Sex, Violence and Victorian Working Women (1998).
COPYRIGHT 2005 Crime and Social Justice Associates
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2005 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:D'Cruze, Shani
Publication:Social Justice
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 22, 2005
Previous Article:From Santander to Camilo and Che: graffiti and resistance in contemporary Colombia.
Next Article:New arrivals: participatory action research, imagined communities, and "visions" of social justice.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2021 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters