Rachel Bennett is currently in the final year of her PhD which has been conducted as part of the Wellcome Trust funded project, Harnessing the Power of the Criminal Corpse. Her thesis investigates the use of capital punishment in Scotland in the eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries. A central area of her research questions the uses, meanings and treatment of the criminal corpse beyond the point of physical death.
A key question I have repeatedly asked myself in the researching and writing up of my PhD thesis, and one that permeates the Criminal Corpse project, asks why punish the dead? The 1752 Murder Act placed the post-mortem punishment of the corpse at the centre of the criminal justice system in Britain as it stipulated […]