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Exorcising a demon?: Why History needs to engage with the Whitechapel Murders and dispel the myth of ‘Jack the Ripper’

Gray, D. (2018) Exorcising a demon?: Why History needs to engage with the Whitechapel Murders and dispel the myth of ‘Jack the Ripper’. Humanities. 7(2), p. 52. 2076-0787.

Item Type: Article
Abstract: This article reflects on the current paucity of academic research into the Whitechapel Murders of 1888. Notably it suggests that there has been a tendency for historians of crime in particular to ignore the case and it argues that this has created an unwanted vacuum that has been filled (and exploited) by amateur history and the entertainment industry. This has consequences for how the public view both the murders and the killer, and the entire late Victorian period. The cultural phenomenon of ‘Jack the Ripper’ has been allowed to emerge as a result of this lack of academic engagement and this fuels an industry that continues to portray the murderer, the murdered and the area in which these killings occurred in a manner that does a terrible and ongoing disservice to the women that were so brutally killed. Moreover, the ‘celebration’ of the unknown killer has provided a role model for subsequent misogynist serial murderers and abusers. This article argues that it is time for historians of crime address this situation.
Additional Information: This article belongs to the special issue The Victorian Art of Murder
Uncontrolled Keywords: Jack the Ripper, Crime History, History, Public History, Mythology, Ripperology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology > HV6001 Criminology > HV6774 Crimes and criminal classes > HV6950.L7 London
Creators: Gray, Drew
Publisher: MDPI
Faculties, Divisions and Institutes: University Faculties, Divisions and Research Centres - OLD > Faculty of Education & Humanities > History
Faculties > Faculty of Education & Humanities > History
Date: 23 May 2018
Date Type: Publication
Page Range: p. 52
Journal or Publication Title: Humanities
Volume: 7
Number: 2
Language: English
ISSN: 2076-0787
Status: Published / Disseminated
Refereed: Yes
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