Added: June 4, 2016 – Last updated: June 4, 2016


Authors: Jennifer M. Kilty and Sylvie Frigon

Title: The Enigma of a Violent Woman

Subtitle: A Critical Examination of the Case of Karla Homolka

Place: London and New York, NY

Publisher: Routledge

Year: 2016

Pages: 160pp.

ISBN-13: 9781472471956 (hbk.) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat | ISBN-13: 9781472471963 (ebk.) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat | ISBN-13: 9781472471970 (EPUB) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat

Language: English

Keywords: Modern History: 20th Century | American History: Canadian History | Cases: Offenders / Karla Homolka; Offenders: Women



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Sylvie Frigon, Department of Criminology, University of Ottawa

Jennifer Kilty, Department of Criminology, University of Ottawa


  List of Illustrations
  1 Introduction
  2 Dissecting the Gaze: The Contradictory Constructions of Karla Homolka as in Danger and Dangerous
  3 Ideal Victims and Inconsistent Offenders: Notes on the Effects of Whiteness, Gender, Space, and Class on the Cultural Fixation on Karla Homolka
  4 Breaking Boundaries: Notes on the Effects of Taboo and Disgust on the Cultural (Re)Presentations of Karla Homolka
  5 Apologies and Iced Cappuccinos: Examining Media and Juridical Interpretations of Karla Homolka's Remorse Performative
  6 Conclusion
  Appendix: Methodology


»Karla Homolka has proven to be a figure of enduring interest to the public and media for the last 20 years. However, despite the widespread Canadian and international public commentary and media frenzy that has encircled this case, Homolka herself remains an enigma to most who write about her.
In contrast to much of the contemporary discussion on this case, this book offers a comprehensive and detailed examination of the legal, public and media understandings and explanations of Homolka’s criminality. Drawing from multiple fields of study and varied bodies of critical literature, the book uses Homolka as an object lesson to interrogate some of the narratives and conceptualizations of ‘violent women’, the problematic normative constructions of womanhood and ‘acceptable femininity’, leniency in sentencing, taboo and disgust, and questions of remorse.
The authors address broad questions about how women convicted of violence are typically constructed across four sites: the courts; the academy; the mainstream media; and public discourse. This unique text is extremely important for feminist criminology and socio-legal studies, offering the first comprehensive academic effort to engage in dialogue about this important and fascinating case.« (Source: Routledge)

Wikipedia: History of the Americas: History of Canada / History of Canada (1982–92), History of Canada (1992–present) | Rape in Canada: Karla Homolka