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CCU professor to expound on gender, crime and infanticide

February 26, 2013

Keira Williams, a lecturer in Coastal Carolina University's Women's and Gender Studies and Honors Programs presents "Susan Smith and the Mommy Myth: Infanticide and the Politics of Gender" on Monday, March. 4, at 4:30 p.m. in the James J. Johnson Auditorium. Williams will also host a 30-minute Q&A session following the discussion. The public is invited to this free event.

William's first book, "Gendered Politics in the Modern South," will form the focus of this event by looking at the cultural and political meanings of gender and crime throughout American history.

"I'll focus on the idealization of motherhood in the 1990s and how representations of motherhood determined the initial reactions to the Susan Smith infanticide case of 1994," says Williams.

Susan Smith of Union, S.C., captured the world's attention when she reported her two young sons kidnapped by an African-American male carjacker on Oct. 25, 1994. She made more headlines on Nov. 9 by confessing to their murder by rolling her car, with the boys strapped safely in their car seats, into a local lake. Smith's story became national news, trumping even the O.J. Simpson case, for the better part of a year.

Legal experts, psychiatrists, politicians and journalists speculated widely about what could drive a mother to commit this most heinous crime. Williams places the Smith case within the historical context of the changing politics of gender at the end of the 20th century.

For more info, contact Williams at 843-349-6664