Rape Hysteria and the Sexual Economy of Race: French Accusations against African-American G.I.s, 1944-1946
In October 1944, the Army Chief of Police presented a list of crimes committed by G.I.s in France since the landings the previous June. At the top of the list was the offense of rape. Many more black soldiers were not only accused but also found guilty of rape than were white men. Among the men who met their death by hanging, almost all were African American soldiers. Why were so many rape charges aimed at African American soldiers? How did rape become a “Negro” crime in France? This talk will explore how the French and the Americans became deadly allies in racism, sending innocent men to their death.
Mary Louise Roberts is the Distinguished Lucie Aubrac and Plaenert-Bascom Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin–Madison She is the author of What Soldiers Do: Sex and the American GI in World War II (2013), won the American Historical Association’s George Louis Beer Prize and the French Historical Studies’s Gilbert Chinard Prize. The book has appeared in French, Chinese, Japanese and Czech, and forms the basis of a French documentary film “Les Femmes de la libération” produced by Maha Productions, Paris.