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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Bounded justice: gender, space and the law in early twentieth century Vancouver Boyer, Laura Kate


This thesis represents a selective consideration of the relationships between gender, space and the law in early twentieth century Vancouver, based largely on the cases of sexual violence against women heard before the B.C. Supreme Court in the years between 1915 and 1925. Within these parameters, constructions of space and gender are addressed at three levels. Part one considers how both women and men were situated within early twentieth century legal discourse in the context of trials for sexual violence. Part two suggests how gendered understandings of urban space in early urban Vancouver were produced and reinforced within, and beyond, legal discourse. Finally, part three situates these processes within a wider context of statemaking in early twentieth century British Columbia. It is argued that legal processes were one mechanism by which space in fledgling Vancouver was coded in gendered and sexualized terms, and further, that these social meanings of space were fundamentally bound up with prevailing conceptions of race and class.

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