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Howard Brown
April 6th, 2011, 08:33 PM
Casebook member "The Grave Maurice" sent me a message about the following Fall event to be held here in Philadelphia this October.

I left a message for the professor (via voicemail) in charge of coordinating the event and hopefully I'll be able to provide further information for all interested parties tomorrow.

Many thanks to TGM for the heads up.


http://i908.photobucket.com/albums/ac287/HowieNina/2011%20Forums/drex.jpg

Howard Brown
April 6th, 2011, 08:59 PM
Online local news report :

http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/20110406_The_nine_lives_of_Jack_the_Ripper.html

The nine lives of Jack the Ripper

By FRED J. ABBATE & PAULA MARANTZ COHEN
ONE HUNDRED and twenty-three years ago yesterday, a London prostitute named Emma Smith died of wounds suffered several days earlier. Those who follow true crime know that she was initially thought to be the first victim of the notorious serial killer Jack the Ripper.
But this dubious distinction was short-lived.
Smith's death did not fit the pattern that would become associated with the Ripper's technique: strangulation, followed by evisceration with a sharp knife. Despite being a prostitute who frequented the same area of London where the Ripper practiced his appalling butchery, Smith was raped and beaten, not strangled; she reported more than one attacker; and she was sexually assaulted, not with a knife, but with a blunt instrument.
Yet the initial placement of Smith as a Ripper victim is not all that surprising. She was a victim in Whitechapel, in the impoverished East End, where human life was cheap and murder not an unexpected event. Indeed, a second murder on Aug. 7 of Martha Tabram, also a prostitute, and killed in a manner closer to what came to be viewed as the Ripper style, remained for some time in the Ripper "canon," despite the fact that a bayonet was used, not a knife, and no strangulation was involved.
You could say that the Jack the Ripper case existed before it had even gotten started. Once Smith and Tabram had been killed, the police, the press and the public became attuned to the idea of a madman in their midst and alert to discovering a method to his madness.
Fascination with the violent death of prostitutes began to mount. After five subsequent horrific murders over the next three months - of Mary Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Kelly - all displaying marked similarities, Smith and Tabram were dropped by most official investigators from the list of Ripper victims.
And yet their initial inclusion in the case reflects a basic human need to find a pattern in a group of events and to link that pattern to a singular responsible agent.
As students of philosophy and literature, we have long been interested in what the Jack the Ripper case demonstrates about how we cope with the mysteries of life - how we try to arrange events, particularly violent ones, into coherent narratives, wrap them in a cloak of conspiracy, and turn them into myths.
During the Ripper's killing spree, much of London was thick with beliefs about subversive foreign intrigue, claims of police and political coverup, allegations of a secret Jewish plot and rumors of involvement by the Crown itself.
We've seen many other examples of such mythmaking in recent years. The assassination of JFK, the death of Princess Diana, even the attacks of 9/11 have instigated them. These cases have attracted ardent apostles of one theory or another because they contain so many suggestive but indefinite variables. Their very lack of verifiability has fueled belief that they harbor important hidden meanings.
Some theorists of the Ripper case have never given up the conviction that the earlier murders of Smith and Tabram were connected to it.
One famous member of the Metropolitan Police continued to insist that Smith was the Ripper's first victim. At least two Scotland Yard inspectors thought it a mistake to eliminate Tabram, and a number of profiling experts recently argued for her re-inclusion. Thus do the parameters of the case shift and change depending upon who is making the assessment and how a different perspective shows old facts in a different light.
Cases like that of Jack the Ripper serve as our secular myths. They stand in for religious myths, which are usually less flexible, less open to speculation. Through these mystery narratives we seek to understand our fates while nonetheless confronting the essential incomprehensibility of life and death.
Jack the Ripper gives us a place to exercise our desire for knowledge, our need to understand a world seemingly gone awry, and yet to nourish the equally pressing desire to keep the mystery alive.
Smith, whose painful death happened yesterday in 1888, might no longer be a part of the Jack the Ripper myth. She will, however, inescapably remain linked to a larger and more powerful human one. Fred J. Abbate and Paula Marantz Cohen, professors at Drexel University, are co-organizers of the upcoming "Jack the Ripper through a Wider Lens: An Interdisciplinary Conference" (drexel.edu/honors/conferences/jtr/).

Howard Brown
April 6th, 2011, 09:03 PM
I forgot to leave a link to the first post....

http://drexel.edu/honors/conferences/jtr/

Howard Brown
April 6th, 2011, 09:05 PM
Chris Scott provided this link some time back regarding Paula Cohen's fiction novel. Ms. Cohen is also part of the Drexel team...

http://www.jtrforums.com/showthread.php?p=119354&highlight=paula+cohen#post119354

Chris G.
April 7th, 2011, 09:10 AM
Chris Scott provided this link some time back regarding Paula Cohen's fiction novel. Ms. Cohen is also part of the Drexel team...

http://www.jtrforums.com/showthread.php?p=119354&highlight=paula+cohen#post119354

I wrote a review of Dr. Paula Marantz Cohen's novel What Alice Knew: A Most Curious Tale of Henry James & Jack the Ripper for the latest issue of Ripperologist, due out today.

All the best

Chris

Howard Brown
April 7th, 2011, 04:46 PM
CG:

Regarding your pm...I'm going to attend for certain.

Here is the prompt reply from Mr Abbate ,one of the coordinators of the event :

Hi, Howard and Nina,

My name is Fred Abbate and I'm co-chairing Drexel's Jack the Ripper Through a Wider Lens Conference with my faculty colleague Paula Marantz Cohen. I'm certainly familiar with the Forum, and very pleased that you're interested in more information about the event. Thank you also for your offer of help.
We're still in the process of assigning speakers and topics, since the registrations so far have been slow as have the submitted papers. As the website notes, we're mostly interested in exploring some of the broader themes suggested by the Ripper case over the years, and our hope is that we'll get a wide range of responses--including short film submissions.

Registration and submissions for the Conference are open to anyone interested in the Ripper case. (Although the registration page asks for an institutional affiliation, a simple 'N/A' will move the process along.) We'd also be thankful if you would list information about the event on your Forum website. Our site is http://drexel.edu/honors/conferences/jtr/ (http://drexel.edu/honors/conferences/jtr/)

I've attached the press release about the event. Please let me know if there is any other information I can supply. Hope to hear back from you.

Fred Abbate
The Pennoni Honors College

Howard Brown
April 7th, 2011, 04:54 PM
Further information...

By the way, we had quite a few people clamoring for a convention late last year and at the beginning of this year.

Now is your chance to plan ahead...come to the greatest city in..uh...Southeastern Pa....and give a lot of consideration to attending this event.


Philadelphia —Drexel University’s Pennoni Honors College and the College of Arts and Sciences will host an interdisciplinary conference on Jack the Ripper. Unlike many conferences aimed principally at investigating the identity of the infamous 1888 serial killer of prostitutes in the East End of London, the Drexel event will explore a much broader range of issues. The conference will be held on October 28 and 29, at Drexel’s Edmund D. Bossone Research Enterprise Center (Market Street, between 31st and 32nd Streets).
Co-chaired by Drexel professors Paula Marantz Cohen and Fred J. Abbate, the conference, “Jack the Ripper Through a Wider Lens,” will examine topics such as the economic and social conditions of women in late 19th century England, the logic behind the theories of detection at work in the attempts to capture the Ripper, what films and other fictionalized versions of the Ripper case reveal about how society appraises both killer and victims, the role the media played in fueling fear and why people continue to be fascinated by the case more than twelve decades later.
“We are interested in making the conference truly interdisciplinary, and so we are hoping to get a diverse set of responses in our call for papers,” Cohen said. "We are also holding a short film competition on Ripper-related themes. Those entries judged exceptional will be shown during the meetings and awarded cash prizes."
Cohen, Distinguished Professor of English at Drexel, recently published the novel What Alice Knew which puts the Ripper murders at the center of a mystery involving Henry and William James.
Abbate, who teaches philosophy in the Honors College, will be introducing a course in the fall term on the philosophical and logical problems of criminal detection using the Ripper murders as the model. “There have been countless books, articles and films about the Whitechapel murders,” Abbate said. “Several were published in the very year of the brutal slayings but none have really explored the logic behind the approach to the killer's identity. The course should give some interesting challenges to our Honors students, since they will also have to make a strong case for their best Ripper candidate.”
The conference’s opening session will feature an overview of the Ripper case, a discussion by experts on criminal investigation and an evening reception for registered guests. More information about the conference, registration, paper submission guidelines and hotel accommodations is available at http://drexel.edu/honors/conferences/jtr/

Howard Brown
April 7th, 2011, 05:34 PM
From Mr. Abbate :

DREXEL UNIVERSITY
PENNONI HONORS COLLEGE
FALL 2011


The Jack the Ripper Case and the Logic of Criminal Detection
Professor Fred J. Abbate

SUMMARY:
The brutal Whitechapel murders in the East End of London in 1888 have fascinated novelists, historians, criminal investigators, film makers and others for decades. The identity of the killer is still a topic of impassioned debate, and candidates for the "Jack the Ripper" moniker get more numerous by the year.
This course will use the Ripper case to examine some broader logical and philosophical questions raised by the frantic quest to solve the murders, issues that are embedded in the very methods of all criminal investigation. Among the topics: the canons of inductive reasoning, the logic of hypothesis formation, competing theories of explanation, evaluating claims of evidence, mental states and levels of responsibility, and the pragmatics of warranted probability claims. In addition to these issues, the course will also give students an opportunity to join the ranks of the millions of armchair detectives who have weighed in on the notorious case.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES:
At the successful conclusion of this course students should have:
● comprehended the differences of logical type among factual assertions and how evidence for
them is connected with the analysis of field invariant and field dependent standards of coherence;
● understood the nature of induction, deduction, confirmation and explanatory inference, and see
in what ways they serve as the foundations of methods of criminal analysis and detection;
● learned what factors strengthen or weaken the soundness of explanatory models, especially the
subtler traps to avoid in assessing the probabilities of conclusions;
● recognized the underlying assumptions about mental states at work in criminal profiling, its
limitations, and how the practice connects with scientific explanation and legal reasoning;
● become knowledgeable about the history and essentials of the Whitechapel murders and the
theories that were at work in the police attempts to solve the murders;
● researched, proposed and defended--as members of a team--a comprehensive case that argues for a
particular suspect as the infamous "Jack the Ripper."

APPROACH:
Class sessions will be a combination of lecture and discussion, beginning with the facts of the case itself, including the victims, principal ( and anomalous) suspects, witnesses, coroner findings, investigative methods used by the Metropolitan Police, and media (newspaper) coverage. Each major area of the Ripper case will give rise to a discussion of a particular logical or wider philosophical issue.

WORK REQUIREMENTS:
Students will be graded both individually and as members of assigned teams of three or four (depending upon class size). (1) As individuals, they will be required to be fully prepared to lead a discussion in each class on the day's topic, take the mid-term examination and complete a written assignment; the latter two will require knowledge of the logical and philosophical questions our class discussions have been addressing. (2) Each team will make a formal presentation to the instructor and to the entire class as their final course project; it must be a well-researched and coherent case for a particular suspect as the most probable candidate for the Whitechapel serial killer. The teams will be expected to answer questions about their methodology and to defend their conclusions against challenges.

COURSE MATERIALS:
There will be two required texts for the course: Philip Sugden's The Complete History of Jack the Ripper and Stephen Toulmin's The Uses of Argument. Supplementary readings, problems, exercises and internet sites appropriate to the logical topics being examined will also be supplied. These will range from the classics of logic and philosophy of science (e.g., John Stuart Mill's System of Logic, Ernest Nagel's Logic and Scientific Method, John Dewey's Logic: The Theory of Inquiry) to some contemporary works on forensics (e.g., Cyril Wecht's Mortal Evidence, Dorothy Lewis's Guilty by Reason of Insanity.) In addition, several recent documentaries about the Ripper case will be viewed and discussed.

GRADING BASIS:
Final grades for the course will be determined as follows: class preparedness and participation- 10%; mid-term examination-30%; written assignment-20%; final team project- 40%

INSTRUCTOR
Fred J. Abbate holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Columbia University, a Master’s degree from Boston College, and an A.B. from Fairfield University. His play, The Idea of Edison, was produced by New Jersey Public Television, and in 1992 he wrote, directed, and performed in Keeping Time, a play presented by the New Jersey State House Bicentennial Commission. He is the author of two books on political theory and contemporary philosophy, and has published numerous articles on decision-making, politics, legal theory, educational reform, and strategic planning. His mystery novel, A Perfectly Logical Murder, was published in late 2006.

He has held positions on the faculties of philosophy at Rutgers University, Iona College, and in the New York City University system. He currently teaches in the Pennoni Honors College of Drexel University in Philadelphia, and was given the College's inaugural Outstanding Teaching Award in 2010. With Professor Paula Marantz Cohen he will be co-chairing a special conference at Drexel in October entitled , Jack the Ripper Through a Wider Lens: An Interdisciplinary Conference.

Howard Brown
April 7th, 2011, 05:53 PM
In page 21 of the Wednesday,April 6th Philadelphia Daily News, Mr. Abbate & Ms. Cohen were featured in the Opinion Column. I'll scan it and put it up later.

Its a very well written piece. One remark found in the article where the authors discussed myths developed during the time and often still found in the Case studies...was that there were allegations of a secret Jewish plot ( the murders as part of some plan to subvert Gentile justice ) afoot in the capital city..
However, this really must refer to the allegations of blood ritual ( making candles out of the victim's organs and/or fat ) which appeared during the skein and were counterpointed by Rabbi Herman Adler in several newspapers in London...and a few in the U.S. as well...rather than some cadre of Jews hellbent on bringing down the Empire.

I hope the social atmosphere in London will be on the front burner at the Drexel Convention...and that you will be there along with me and Nina to take it all in.

Howard Brown
April 14th, 2011, 04:31 PM
This just in from the coordinators of the upcoming Drexel University Ripper Convention....

Many thanks to Mr. Abbate for sending us a copy of their promotional poster !
****************************

http://i908.photobucket.com/albums/ac287/HowieNina/2011%20Forums/drexelposter.jpg

Howard Brown
April 22nd, 2011, 01:12 PM
This just in from Mr. Abbate on the Drexel Ripper Conference :


The following have committed to making presentations at Drexel's Jack the Ripper Through a Wider Lens: An Interdisciplinary Conference to be held on October 28 and 29th, 2011:

Drew D. Gray, Senior Lecturer in the History of Crime at the University of Northampton in the UK. Among other writings, he is the author of London's Shadows: The Dark Side of the Victorian City, which uses the Jack the Ripper murders as a focal point for the history of London's East End.

Martin Fido, now Senior Lecturer at Boston University and formerly Research Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford. He has written The Crimes, Detection and Death of Jack the Ripper and co-authored The Complete Jack the Ripper A to Z and The Official History of Scotland Yard.

Richard Walter, internationally known criminal profiler and one of the founders of The Vidocq Society, the criminal detection experts who specialize in solving cold cases. The work of the Society and Mr. Walter's expertise are profiled in The Murder Room, the recent study by Michael Cappuzzo.

Howard Brown
April 22nd, 2011, 01:55 PM
The Vidocq Society is located in Philadelphia.

Howard Brown
April 29th, 2011, 09:13 PM
Two things....

1. We have registered one of the committee members of the Drexel Convention to the Forums. They have expressed pleasure in our attempts to support and augment this upcoming event in the city of Philadelphia.

Over the next 5 and 1/2 months, until the Drexel Ripper Convention unfolds, please use this thread for any and all questions you may have regarding what appears to be a highly professional and all encompassing Ripper related event.

I will be in touch with their personnel from now until the Convention starts and if we here on JTR Forums or elsewhere for that matter can get enough people together, it ought to be a terrific time for us all. You know I know good food, so thats a plus.


2. It might be a good place to promote your books ( I can think of at least 6 people who have Ripper related works from the East Coast alone....J.Malcolm,Rob House, Martin Fido,Chris George's pending work, S.Ryder,Stan Russo) and encourage and influence the next generation of scholars/students/aficianados of our beloved field.

Thank you.

Howard Brown
May 15th, 2011, 05:23 PM
Bump Up

Just spoke with one of the coordinators at Drexel and they're lining up what appears to be a well orchestrated affair.

Please give it some consideration to attend. :thumb:

Howard Brown
July 26th, 2011, 04:56 PM
Its only a few months away..........

Latest information from Mr. Abbate :

Dear Howard :
The deadline for submitting an outline of a panel presentation for our Jack the Ripper Conference at Drexel has been extended to September 6. You might want to let some of your colleagues know about the extension, as well as advise them to register as soon as they can as participants so we can get a clearer picture for our logistical planning. Professor Paula Marantz Cohen and I look forward to seeing you there and continue to thank you for your great help over the past few months.

Again, the website is: http://drexel.edu/honors/conferences/jtr.

Fred Abbate
Pennoni Honors College
Co-chair, Jack the Ripper Through a Wider Lens

Howard Brown
July 26th, 2011, 07:42 PM
Nina and I will be sending in our registrations in August.
If you have plans on attending, drop me a line.

JDombrowski89
August 19th, 2011, 05:46 PM
How,

I'll possibly be attending.

Regards,
Justin

Howard Brown
August 19th, 2011, 05:51 PM
Sounds good JD.
We haven't registered yet, but will be doing so shortly.

Chris G.
August 19th, 2011, 09:21 PM
Hi How and Justin

Here is information I've received from Fred Abbate on what I will be contributing to the conference:

"I'm really pleased to tell you that your outline as a panel participant at our Drexel University Jack the Ripper Through a Wider Lens Conference has been accepted. The panel topic is 'Images of the Ripper' and we know your presentation on early theatrical depictions of the Whitechapel killer will be a great contribution.

"Paula Marantz Cohen, my co-chair for the Conference, and I really look forward to seeing you in October. For your information, we have paired you on the panel with John Curra, Professor of Sociology at Eastern Kentucky University, who will speak on 'Seriality, Sexuality and Murder: Jack the Ripper as Folk Devil.'

"I have no doubt that the dialog will be extremely interesting. You should plan to speak for 15 or so minutes to allow as much time as possible for questions and comments. Since the deadline for submission of papers is September 6, we will certainly let you know if we install a third panelist."

Howard Brown
October 4th, 2011, 05:19 PM
Bumpin' the thread up to remind one and all of the pending Conference which is 24 days away.

I'm registered and rarin' to go...

Tom_Wescott
October 4th, 2011, 08:13 PM
There are exactly two major Ripper forums. One of them is mastered by a guy living in Philidelphia. Someone decides to have a Ripper conference in Philidelphia, but the webmaster has to hear about it second hand. Still trying to figure this out. But good luck to them and I look forward to hearing about it.

Yours truly,

Tom Wescott

Howard Brown
October 4th, 2011, 08:17 PM
Go figure huh ?
:noidea:

Howard Brown
October 17th, 2011, 05:02 PM
There's still time folks....:cheer2::cheer2:

Here's the agenda at Drexel :

Conference Agenda


Friday, October 28: 3:30 to 5:30 PM Conference Opening Session
Greetings from the Co-chairs
Opening Panel: "Shadow and Substance: The Pursuit of the Serial Killer"
Richard Walter, Katherine Brown, John Maxwell 6:00 to 7:00 PM The Provost's Welcoming Reception
Saturday, October 29: 8:00 to 9:00 AM Full Breakfast 9:00 to 10:30 AM Panel 1: Images of Jack the Ripper ▪ Christopher George, "Early Theatrical Depictions of Jack the Ripper"
▪ John Curra, "Seriality, Sexuality and Murder: Jack the Ripper as a Folk Devil"
▪ Carla E. Anderton, "Our Continued Fascination with the Ripper" 10:30 to 10:45 PM Morning Break 10:45 to 12:15 PM Panel 2: The Ripper Investigation: Police, Life Stories and Dead Souls ▪ Martin Fido, "The Policing of the Ripper Crimes"
▪ Craig Monk, "Optograms, Autobiography and the Image of Jack the Ripper"
▪ Jean Hantman, "The Serial Killer in Everyday Life" 12:45 to 2:00 PM Lunch
Luncheon Talk: "The Ripper Case in Broader Historical Persepective"
Prof. Drew D. Gray, Northampton University
2:00 to 3:30 PM Panel 3: The Ripper and "Outsider" Issues and Themes ▪ Richard Conti, "Perceptions of Insanity in Victorian England and the Hunt for Jack the Ripper"
▪ Deirdre McMahon, “The Condition of Women and the Ripper Case”
▪ David Sterritt, The Ripper, the Avenger, the Outsider 3:30 to 3:45 PM Afternoon Break 3:45 to 5:15 PM Panel 4: Narratives of Mystery, Murder and the Ripper ▪ Mikita Brottman, "Fiction as Scalpel: My Obsession with From Hell"
▪ Cordelia Frances Biddle, “Writing about Murder and Mayhem in 19th Century Philadelphia”
▪ Matthew Kaulfold, "The Ripper in Four Colors" 5:30 to 7:00 PM Closing Reception
Among the presenters

Drew D. Gray, Senior Lecturer in the History of Crime at the University of Northampton in the UK. Among other writings, he is the author of London's Shadows: The Dark Side of the Victorian City, which uses the Jack the Ripper murders as a focal point for the history of London's East End.
Martin Fido, now Senior Lecturer at Boston University and formerly Research Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford. He has written The Crimes, Detection and Death of Jack the Ripper and co-authored The Complete Jack the Ripper A to Z and The Official History of Scotland Yard.
Richard Walter, internationally known criminal profiler and one of the founders of The Vidoq Society, the criminal detection experts who specialize in solving cold cases. The work of the Society and Mr. Walter's expertise are profiled in The Murder Room, the recent study by Michael Cappuzzo.

Chris G.
October 18th, 2011, 09:56 AM
Sounds like a great line-up. Thanks, How. Looking forward to seeing you and Nina.

All the best

Chris http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3553/3480259031_abf7f5973d_o.gif

Chris G.
October 19th, 2011, 01:05 PM
Bump up.

Chris G.
October 26th, 2011, 08:29 AM
Looking forward to seeing some of you there.

Chris

Howard Brown
October 28th, 2011, 08:24 PM
Just came home from the first night of the gig....

I'll have a report when I'm a little more sober...it was terrific meeting Martin & Chris...Ken & his wife all the way from Saskatoon ( The Grave Maurice)...and some folks who I had the pleasure to converse with.
Well-orchestrated event...Professor Cohen is a doll and Professor Abbate has it together . Really nice folks.

It started off pretty awful...as the entire sole of my work boot decided to fall off in the parking lot across the street from Drexel U.
I dealt with it...hobbled to a nearby tappy.....had two or three Guinnesses...got my mind right....and went back to the Convention.

Howard Brown
October 29th, 2011, 06:00 AM
Up and rarin' to go for day 2...located my snow shovel just in case I have to do some shovelin' today...as we expect some of the white stuff.

But first...a word from the two fine folks who organized the event :

http://www.philly.com/philly/video/BC1246982519001.html

Funny...to be around more than one or two people with an interest in the WM...and not witness a single dispute. Maybe some of this civility I'm being exposed to will rub off on me, I dunno...but it was a very nice atmosphere.

Howard Brown
October 29th, 2011, 07:55 PM
Just back from the Convention....

I'll give a report of the event tomorrow...but for now I can say that it was a great time and met some really nice people.

A big thanks to The Grave Maurice & wife Sheila...for suggesting that I leave when I did to beat the rush on the dismal drive home. What should have taken me 30 minutes took over an hour or so because of the really bad road conditions.

Martin and Chris gave superb presentations...and along with Ken Weatherly ( The Grave Maurice ) and myself were the only members of either The Forums or Casebook at the event.

More tomorrow...I'm beat.

Howard Brown
October 30th, 2011, 07:24 AM
They say it's a small world...and my fat self will attest to that in a New York minute.

For instance....

I introduced myself to one of the attendees...and was amazed that he recognized me...by my voice.
The gentleman is a big fan of JMenges' Rippercast....and from the broadcasts, he first heard my dulcet tones...
Even more amazing is that this man lives in the same county and not far from where Nina and I live.

Here's a quick Halloween bit for you on what's turned out to be a sad day for some local people.
I called Nina from the Convention between speakers...and learned that the power went off for 5 minutes. It eventually went back on.
However, residents of Collegeville, which is only 5 minutes from here in majestic Eagleville, still have their power off.
Collegeville,Pa., as many American members will know, used to be the place where they produced Halloween costumes back in the1960's...and I mean the place. However, Collegeville Costumes is no longer in business...

Another 'small world' slice o' life materialized at the Drexel Convention when I met Cornelia Frances Biddle, an acclaimed novelist whose "Martha Beale" suspense novels are set in Victorian Philadelphia.
Her great grandmother and mine both were "society ladies" over a century ago and knew each other, as I have seen articles in Philadelphia papers from the period which mentioned both women appearing at the same venue. The Biddles are a very well known family in Philadelphia and have made numerous contributions to its development for quite a long time.
A very warm person and very entertaining...here is a link to her site :

http://www.cordeliafrancesbiddle.com/

I learned a few things from her speech on Victorian Philadelphia which I hadn't known before.

Howard Brown
October 30th, 2011, 08:07 AM
Article in the latest Philadelphia Daily News

http://www.philly.com/philly/columnists/kevin_riordan/20111030_Kevin_Riordan__At_Drexel__a_Jack_the_Ripp er_conference.html

Howard Brown
October 30th, 2011, 08:12 AM
The organizers and two very courteous and highly professional people, Paula Cohen & Fred Abbate ( pronounced Abbott).

http://i908.photobucket.com/albums/ac287/HowieNina/Autumn%202011/paulaandfred.jpg

Paul
October 30th, 2011, 10:31 AM
Article in the latest Philadelphia Daily News

http://www.philly.com/philly/columnists/kevin_riordan/20111030_Kevin_Riordan__At_Drexel__a_Jack_the_Ripp er_conference.html

‘"We wanted to attract scholars as well as [amateur] Ripperologists," says author and philosopher Fred J. Abbate…"’

'"And Scotland Yard still refuses to release many of the records."'

"There are two new books out, with two new suspects. It happens every year...,"'

Mmmmm...

Howard Brown
October 30th, 2011, 12:17 PM
Paul:

I can't speak for CG, but I am pretty sure that most of those who participated ( again there were only 4 message board members that I'm sure of...5 now) are cognizant of the work that people like yourself and Debs and Chris Scott and everyone else who rolls their sleeves up does for the field.

It would be terrific if even just a few of those who are proficient in their respective fields who were there would join the Forums or elsewhere as I think it would be a benefit to the field as a whole.

I don't think that quote about 'amateur Ripperologists' really reflects the attitude of those in charge of holding the event.

Howard Brown
October 30th, 2011, 01:53 PM
A breakdown of the 17 areas covered during the Convention

Some ( marked with an asterisk ) were directly-Ripper related, while others dealt with the respective subjects in general.

psychoanalytical-----------1
**media-------------------2 (Ripper comic books in general/From Hell)
feminist/women in LVP------1
psychology/deviant behavior--1
police---------------------1
**autobiographies---------1
**film---------------------1
profiling-------------------1
**east end studies--------1
**theatre-----------------1
**policework--------------1
criminology----------------1
**LVP psychiatry----------1
**signature analysis-------1
vic. social life philadelphia--1
**ripper fiction------------1

JTRSickert
October 30th, 2011, 02:19 PM
Hey Howard,

I'm so envious of you. I really wanted to go but due to financial constraits from school tuition and various other necessities, it became something I had to sacrifice. I guess I'll just have to read about the features of the conference on here.

Also, if you have Comcast Ondemand, on BBC America, the Whitechapel miniseries is on. My father and I were watching the first 2 episodes last night.

Maria Birbili
October 30th, 2011, 02:42 PM
I wonder if organizer Fred Abbate is related to musicologist Carolyn Abbate, currently appointed at the Uni. of Pennsylvania, but probably not.

"There are two new books out, with two new suspects. It happens every year...,"'
Huh? Where? The Rob House book certainly didn't sell a NEW suspect, and it was the sole serious suspect-oriented publication to come out this year.

Howard Brown
October 30th, 2011, 03:07 PM
JT:

Check out the shoe I was telling you about on the cellphone :


http://i908.photobucket.com/albums/ac287/HowieNina/Autumn%202011/shoe.jpg

I hadda walk around with the entire sole off until I split ( 6 1/2 hours ) on Friday....so I wore sneakers yesterday. Anything else and I would have probably gone back home for a new pair.

When I was waiting for the event to begin on Friday, I asked the bartender where the nearest shoestore ( 10 blocks or so...all the way to Sansom St.) was because I had already paid for parking ( $ 20 ) and you know how much of a bitch it is to go back all the way to the other side of Norristown from center city at 1:00...and expect to get back into the city at that time of day....I'd have never made it back on time. So I hung tough and walked sparingly.
Funny thing is, is that I think Martin had a spare pair of shoes...but he has little feets.

Howard Brown
October 30th, 2011, 03:11 PM
Maria:

Can't speak for Fred Abbate, but I'm sure he meant that in the way that many of the researchers/posters on the boards describe or have described how new suspects have been foisted into the public eye.
Mann and Feigenbaum, one unrealistic and the other out of a hat, were recently suggested within the last two years...so he isn't off by much.

Chris G.
October 30th, 2011, 03:12 PM
I wonder if organizer Fred Abbate is related to musicologist Carolyn Abbate, currently appointed at the Uni. of Pennsylvania, but probably not.



Hello Maria

I think you are correct. Fred was telling me that he and his wife had accessed the YouTube excerpt from my musical and she was interested in seeing it performed because of her musical interests.

Chris

Paul
October 30th, 2011, 05:30 PM
Paul:

I can't speak for CG, but I am pretty sure that most of those who participated ( again there were only 4 message board members that I'm sure of...5 now) are cognizant of the work that people like yourself and Debs and Chris Scott and everyone else who rolls their sleeves up does for the field.

It would be terrific if even just a few of those who are proficient in their respective fields who were there would join the Forums or elsewhere as I think it would be a benefit to the field as a whole.

I don't think that quote about 'amateur Ripperologists' really reflects the attitude of those in charge of holding the event.

I'm sure they are cognizant, it's difficult to see how they could fail to be, it's just a pity that quotes like this sound like sheer arrogance, them looking down on us, unprofessional and unscholarly little people; amateur Ripperologists - are there any professional Ripperologists? Personally, I don't give a damn, but it's a pretty consistent attitude, right from the "Media, Culture, History" book through the Docklands Exhibition and book to Drexel. And so often the info the academics have isn't on target, such as the implication that Scotland Yard is sitting on 'many of its records', which it isn't, or has a Druitt related letter hidden in a safe.

Chris G.
October 30th, 2011, 05:40 PM
Article in the latest Philadelphia Daily News

http://www.philly.com/philly/columnists/kevin_riordan/20111030_Kevin_Riordan__At_Drexel__a_Jack_the_Ripp er_conference.html


‘"We wanted to attract scholars as well as [amateur] Ripperologists," says author and philosopher Fred J. Abbate…"’

'"And Scotland Yard still refuses to release many of the records."'

"There are two new books out, with two new suspects. It happens every year...,"'

Mmmmm...

Yes but it looks to me as if the newspaperman added the word "amateur" and that Fred Abbate did not actually say that. So it's a judgement that the press writer made, and we all know about the reliability of press reports don't we?

Chris :rolleyes:

Chris G.
October 30th, 2011, 05:52 PM
Hi all

Howard and I will be writing a full report of the Drexel event for the upcoming issue of Ripperologist but for now let me say that we got quite a lot of nice publicity both for the Rip as well as receiving acknowledgement from the speakers. Martin Fido in beginning his presentation said he felt nervous talking about the case with Ripperologists Howard Brown and Chris George in the audience! Of course, I don't think Martin has to defer to anybody in terms of his knowledge of the field, although he admits that these days with his full time post as Senior Lecturer in the Boston University writing program, he feels that he has to brush up on his knowledge before speaking on his case, by reading the forums. He did make the statement by the way that there were no Jewish policeman in 1888, and I was able to make the point after his talk about the case of P.C. Richard Brown, the Jewish E division Met policeman who committed suicide in Hyde Park on November 16, 1888 that I cover in my Casebook blog (http://blog.casebook.org/chrisgeorge/2011/09/22/the-mysterious-life-and-death-of-pc-richard-brown/) after my earlier 2003 article in Ripperologist.

All the best

Chris

Howard Brown
October 30th, 2011, 08:40 PM
Dr. David Sterritt was one of the speakers.
His topic was "The Ripper, The Lodger, The Avenger, The Outsider".
I enjoyed his presentation because he was passionate in his delivery and he knew his stuff about the films he covered during the talk.

http://blog.unl.edu/dixon/2011/09/15/david-sterritt-on-the-informant-2009-and-hitchcock/

Chris G.
October 30th, 2011, 08:44 PM
Dr. David Sterritt was one of the speakers.
His topic was "The Ripper, The Lodger, The Avenger, The Outsider".
I enjoyed his presentation because he was passionate in his delivery and he knew his stuff about the films he covered during the talk.

http://blog.unl.edu/dixon/2011/09/15/david-sterritt-on-the-informant-2009-and-hitchcock/

At the closing reception I was asked by an attendee what I thought was the highlight of the convention, and I responded that I thought in terms of entertainment value and laughs elicited, Dr Sterritt's presentation was the best. It came at a good time as well, toward the end of the convention, when one usually feels drained, so it helped to lift the spirits at the right time. :wave:


Chris

Howard Brown
October 30th, 2011, 08:57 PM
CG:

You'll remember that when the last two panels of three were speaking, I sat waaaay back near the exit ( to check on weather, call Nina and contact my daughter ) but I didn't budge when Mr. Sterritt spoke.

Paul
October 30th, 2011, 11:43 PM
Yes but it looks to me as if the newspaperman added the word "amateur" and that Fred Abbate did not actually say that. So it's a judgement that the press writer made, and we all know about the reliability of press reports don't we?

Chris :rolleyes:

Oh, I don't know, Chris, there is a definite 'them and us' thread running through most of the thinking behind and comments about the conference. In one article written by Paula Marantz Cohen she begins by saying, 'The case of Jack the Ripper has long captivated amateur true-crime enthusiasts. Now scholars too have become enthralled by him, but why?' And she goes on to speak of 'Buffs are everywhere, populating groups like the Whitechapel Society and Internet sites like the JTR Forums and Casebook: Jack the Ripper'. The case, she says, has 'long been dominated by these so-called Ripperologists, with academic involvement lagging behind.' And she speaks of planning 'a scholarly conference’ and of 'academic respectability for the Ripper ' being traced back to Martin's book. So I am not sure that 'amateur' wasn't conveyed to the journalist by Mr Abbate, but whether it was or not, a distinction between 'scholars' and 'Ripperologists' has clearly been drawn, which is the point I am making.

Don't you find it just slightly worrying that we are looking at the beginning in Ripper studies of a process by which the non-academic is being marginalised? That the voices that matter are those of academics? Cohen's article refers to various people who have written on the subject, but doesn't refer to Sugden, Evans, Rumbelow, Wilson... all of whom are tacitly dismissed as 'buffs', and Martin's book is singled out as giving the subject 'academic respectability' but Don's apparently doesn't.. Why?

Paul Kearney A.K.A. NEMO
October 30th, 2011, 11:50 PM
I totally agree with Paul

It reminds me of Cornwell gracing us with her presence

Definitely a class divide in their mind I think

Bloody toffs!

Paul
October 31st, 2011, 01:43 AM
I totally agree with Paul

It reminds me of Cornwell gracing us with her presence

Definitely a class divide in their mind I think

Bloody toffs!

Whilst reminiscent, I think Patricia Cornwell's case is different and having spent time with her I know that she has acknowledged making mistakes. What bothers me about the academics moving in on Ripper studies is the fairly consistent way Ripperologists have been sidelined, be it at Docklands or Drexel. For me the great thing about Ripper studies is that everyone can - and many people frequently do - make valuable contributions to our knowledge and understanding of the crimes and their milieu, but so many subjects are now academicised to the point where non-academic contributions aren't wanted, let alone welcomed. It isn't so much the academics are muscling in on our territory and looking down their noses at us, as the way we are disregarded. Thus Martin gives Ripper studies academic respectability, but Don doesn't. I'm not sure about the logic or truth behind an assertion like that, and neither, I suspect, are Martin or Don.

Paul Kearney A.K.A. NEMO
October 31st, 2011, 03:24 AM
In any line of work I've been in, a practical men are always preferred to academics who often appear naive within their field and certainly have no monopoly on intelligence just due to certification

I was particularly concerned that someone of the stature Stewart Evans would have his comments on Anderson disparaged because of a comparison between his knowledge and Martins

Forbes Winslow is a favourite academic of mine - Who feels they are qualified enough to criticise such a learned man's comments on lunacy and the Ripper?

I welcome input from "academics" but there is certainly no call for them to be condescending about it

I don't actually mind a distinction between work/research by the academics and the amateur Ripperologists as it enables a comparison to be made of worth

John Bennett
October 31st, 2011, 05:13 AM
Don't you find it just slightly worrying that we are looking at the beginning in Ripper studies of a process by which the non-academic is being marginalised? That the voices that matter are those of academics? Cohen's article refers to various people who have written on the subject, but doesn't refer to Sugden, Evans, Rumbelow, Wilson... all of whom are tacitly dismissed as 'buffs', and Martin's book is singled out as giving the subject 'academic respectability' but Don's apparently doesn't.. Why?

I keep thinking of the Monty Python 'Philosopher's Football match' sketch.

We all know the basics of football - the whistle blows and you start kicking the ball about with a common purpose, because the way the game is played is known.

Then along come the 'philosophers'. The whistle blows and they suddenly start ruminating and rubbing their chins in deep thought until Archimedes shouts "Eureka!!" and begins working with what everybody knew anyway.

Howard Brown
October 31st, 2011, 05:41 AM
One impression I came away with ( and one gent who attended the recent London Convention agreed wholeheartedly...he isn't a digger or trawler or researcher in the sense many of us are, nor was he proficient or certified in a specific field like the majority of speakers were ) ... is on the one hand they are a group of people who view the Case and its impact on society from the perspective of their respective milieus externally...while we participate in our respective areas of interests internally. By that I mean I don't see most of them spending time going through issues of the Belfast News Letter or hunting down the whereabouts of Anne Deary....but most of them, if not all, have read The Star and know that the Case as portrayed by From Hell isn't on the level.
I wasn't left with an impression that felt their interpretations of the Case are superior to ours. They certainly aren't, even if that is the case with one or more of those who participated. I could mention a few instances where more than one of those who participated were pretty critical of other speakers..and not just on one occasion...without any coaching or encouragement from me. In that, I see no difference in how some of us, including myself, consider other opinions from those in the field.

You know...the bottom line is, is that this past weekend was an opportunity for individuals from a wide range of interests to get together and expound on the Case and have fun....without a single person trying to trump the work that any of us do here or on Casebook or privately off either Message Board, in fact paying tribute to it within conversations I was privy to...and without a single one of them attempting to bring up their pet theory as to whodunit.

It was also held for the benefit of attracting young people & individuals who simply like learning what Ripperologists actually do or what is going on in the field from a distance.

Paul
October 31st, 2011, 05:49 AM
I keep thinking of the Monty Python 'Philosopher's Football match' sketch.

We all know the basics of football - the whistle blows and you start kicking the ball about with a common purpose, because the way the game is played is known.

Then along come the 'philosophers'. The whistle blows and they suddenly start ruminating and rubbing their chins in deep thought until Archimedes shouts "Eureka!!" and begins working with what everybody knew anyway.

Whilst there is a perceived truth in that sketch, the fact is that training, experience, and ability, better equips somebody to do a job, be it a historian or a plumber, so it's not unreasonable for academics to distinguish themselves or be distinguished from us, or to be accorded, at least initially, greater respect. I'm not trying to suggest otherwise. What concerns me is that the academic seems to exclude the non-academic, and not always justifiably.

Paul
October 31st, 2011, 06:01 AM
One impression I came away with ( and one gent who attended the recent London Convention agreed wholeheartedly...he isn't a digger or trawler or researcher in the sense many of us are, nor was he proficient or certified in a specific field like the majority of speakers were ) ... is on the one hand they are a group of people who view the Case and its impact on society from the perspective of their respective milieus externally...while we participate in our respective areas of interests internally. By that I mean I don't see most of them spending time going through issues of the Belfast News Letter or hunting down the whereabouts of Anne Deary....but most of them, if not all, have read The Star and know that the Case as portrayed by From Hell isn't on the level.
I wasn't left with an impression that felt their interpretations of the Case are superior to ours. They certainly aren't, even if that is the case with one or more of those who participated. I could mention a few instances where more than one of those who participated were pretty critical of other speakers..and not just on one occasion...without any coaching or encouragement from me. In that, I see no difference in how some of us, including myself, consider other opinions from those in the field.

You know...the bottom line is, is that this past weekend was an opportunity for individuals from a wide range of interests to get together and expound on the Case and have fun....without a single person trying to trump the work that any of us do here or on Casebook or privately off either Message Board, in fact paying tribute to it within conversations I was privy to...and without a single one of them attempting to bring up their pet theory as to whodunit.

It was also held for the benefit of attracting young people & individuals who simply like learning what Ripperologists actually do or what is going on in the field from a distance.

In no sense am I disparaging the event or those who participated or attended. Everyone who was there seems to have thought it was great and had an informative and enjoyable time. I hope that it is the first of many such events. However, I am simply observing that the published comments sideline Ripperologists. We're 'buffs', we don't provide any academic respectability, and so on. The guy who does spend hours sifting through the Belfast Telegraph isn't acknowledged. That's all.

SPE
October 31st, 2011, 07:36 AM
In no sense am I disparaging the event or those who participated or attended. Everyone who was there seems to have thought it was great and had an informative and enjoyable time. I hope that it is the first of many such events. However, I am simply observing that the published comments sideline Ripperologists. We're 'buffs', we don't provide any academic respectability, and so on. The guy who does spend hours sifting through the Belfast Telegraph isn't acknowledged. That's all.

I have to say that I agree with you on this Paul. I would imagine that if you and I, as a team, sat with two academics in a debate on the subject, no books, no references, everything off the top of our heads, we could lose them in two minutes, well maybe five at the most.

Maria Birbili
October 31st, 2011, 10:06 AM
Mann and Feigenbaum, one unrealistic and the other out of a hat, were recently suggested within the last two years...
Mann is da man among Ripper suspects.(Not.) :-)

Hello Maria
I think you are correct. Fred was telling me that he and his wife had accessed the YouTube excerpt from my musical and she was interested in seeing it performed because of her musical interests.
Chris
Hmmm... Maybe I should investigate this further. The musicologist I was referring to is a very good friend of my German Professor.

Thus Martin gives Ripper studies academic respectability, but Don doesn't. I'm not sure about the logic or truth behind an assertion like that, and neither, I suspect, are Martin or Don.
I understand the logic behind this assertion, but I believe it's possible to “reconcile“ Ripperology and academics. At any rate, non academic Ripperologists (apart from Sugden and Fido) were there first, so there is the issue about a pretty substantial amount of research and lit produced by non academic Ripperologists. Thus academics need to first get acquainted with all this substantial amount of information (produced mainly by non academics) before claiming to contribute to Ripperology.

John Bennett
October 31st, 2011, 11:13 AM
All this makes me wonder: What is an 'academic' in this context anyway?

I believe that many 'non-academic' Ripperologists approach the subject in a very academic and in-depth way, whether they write books/articles or just post on internet forums (or neither in some cases). The work done by these people is what keeps the subject alive and developing. I mean, just look at the amount of serious research that is done in what is assumed to be an 'amateur' field.

If these 'buffs' were 'academics' in the sense of having letters after one's name through achievement, there would be a LOT of PHd's in Ripperology.

Chris G.
October 31st, 2011, 11:34 AM
All this makes me wonder: What is an 'academic' in this context anyway?

I believe that many 'non-academic' Ripperologists approach the subject in a very academic and in-depth way, whether they write books/articles or just post on internet forums (or neither in some cases). The work done by these people is what keeps the subject alive and developing. I mean, just look at the amount of serious research that is done in what is assumed to be an 'amateur' field.

If these 'buffs' were 'academics' in the sense of having letters after one's name through achievement, there would be a LOT of PHd's in Ripperology.

Hi John

No argument, John. I agree with you 100%. I think some academics might be surprised as to the "rigor" of the research done by people in the field. In fact, I can report that copies of Ripperologist that I have sent to university professors and others with various qualifications have elicited such a response from them.

And speaking personally, although I was sitting on a panel at the Drexel event with two academics I didn't feel in any way that it did not belong there, because I knew I had done the work to give a well-researched presentation.

Best regards

Chris

Maria Birbili
October 31st, 2011, 12:50 PM
All this makes me wonder: What is an 'academic' in this context anyway?
Strictly considered, an “academic“ is a person featuring a Ph.D. and teaching at University level. Which by a long shot doesn't mean said person cannot be a complete idiot, and I speak from experience. (Though I wasn't speaking about myself pertaining to “idiot“! :-))

I believe that many 'non-academic' Ripperologists approach the subject in a very academic and in-depth way
I think some academics might be surprised as to the "rigor" of the research done by people in the field. {...} And speaking personally, although I was sitting on a panel at the Drexel event with two academics I didn't feel in any way that it did not belong there, because I knew I had done the work to give a well-researched presentation.
ABSOLUTELY. Agree on all counts.

Howard Brown
October 31st, 2011, 04:25 PM
I have to say that I agree with you on this Paul. I would imagine that if you and I, as a team, sat with two academics in a debate on the subject, no books, no references, everything off the top of our heads, we could lose them in two minutes, well maybe five at the most.--SPE

An unfair challenge.
You and Paul are expert Ripperologists, period....none of them were and more importantly none there claimed to be or would claim to be.
**************************************


Originally Posted by Chris G
I think some academics might be surprised as to the "rigor" of the research done by people in the field

The ones I chatted with were certainly surprised.

Craig Monk
November 1st, 2011, 04:25 PM
I certainly cannot speak for everyone, and I would not claim to be representative of the "academic" community, but I would never make the kind of statement implied by the "[amateur]" adjective added by the journalist. Though when I have seen such a distinction made it is often meant, perhaps awkwardly, as a compliment. A great deal of important research in this field is done by people who are not paid to do it. I might use the word "enthusiasts," though I'd feel odd about using such a word for people -- myself included -- who are fascinated by things this ghastly!

Why I went to Philadelphia had to do with the varied audience. I genuinely thought that Ripperologists would be interested to see what their field does for me: how I use it to help teach and discuss autobiography as a literary practice. It was certainly never to suggest that I expected to add something of material value to Ripper questions. As one fellow suggested yesterday, I had nothing to offer on the three autobiographies that you do not know. If he had heard (or read) my paper, though, perhaps he would have looked at the issues that make them interesting just a little bit differently.

I am paid, in part, to research, conceptualize, and teach autobiography in a literature department. As I have said on other threads, I believe genuinely that the corner of Ripper studies relevant to this corner of literary studies would engage students and people who might never, for example, read Gertrude Stein's autobiography, an interesting example often written about and taught. I also realized that there was a great deal to learn to qualify myself as even an amateur who could invoke the research done by people like yourselves, and I tried to do that seriously and honour your contribution.

Arguably, the point implied in the press was not made fully or well, but it did touch on something important to the Drexel meeting. I would have been less interested in a stuffy academic meeting; I think that I have a responsibility to apply the things we do here to matters of popular interest. This should never, ever be done in a condescending way, and I thought that there was none on display at Philadelphia. That's one of the appeals of your field: who would dare suggest that they have it all figured out?

The question for you is whether you think matters of popular interest have space in the university? Some people say "no" because they don't think they are "serious" enough, and that's rubbish. But would you welcome the contribution of academics at meetings intended to recognize the passion of people who look at these questions on their own time? I don't know.

Jennifer Shelden
November 1st, 2011, 06:06 PM
Hi,

Academic or not who cares. Academic is a label for the study of something in a University setting as far as I am concerned, if i was the Professor of something or some phd id be an academic. But this is elitist. Would that make me anymore right, no. Increasingly we want to be seen as historians, fine all is good, but we will never be academics as a group. To me this is good. Wouldnt be here having this conversation if Ripperology was some Ivory Tower subject which could only be discussed at esteem insititutions. It is precisely because it is not like that, that some amazing things have been discovered and written. Ripperology touches on so many things, Jack of all trades and the Professor of none, we would be surprised what, as a group, we know about many things that a Professor of history is not required to know. It is snobbery to want to be considered academics. We should learn to be happy with the weirdness but research based work that is Ripperology. Respectable Ripperology observes all the rules of crediable history and research methodologies and writes fasinating and insightful books and articles into the past. We do not need labels or definitions to do excellent work, to write excellent books, or to be taken seriously. We are what we are

c'est la vie

Jenni

ps Hi Craig, just noticed your mention of Ivory Towers, just want to emphais it wasnt a dig at you there

Chris G.
November 1st, 2011, 06:34 PM
The question for you is whether you think matters of popular interest have space in the university? Some people say "no" because they don't think they are "serious" enough, and that's rubbish. But would you welcome the contribution of academics at meetings intended to recognize the passion of people who look at these questions on their own time? I don't know.

Hi Craig

I believe the answer to that is a resounding "yes"! Professor Drew D. Gray, Senior Lecturer on the History of Crime at Northampton University, who as you know was with us for the Drexel event, as well as East End expert Professor William J. Fishman, Senior Research Fellow of Queen Mary's University, have both addressed the Whitechapel Society in the past. In addition, Ripperologist has featured the contributions of a number of academics in the pages of our publication over the years.

All the best

Chris

Howard Brown
November 1st, 2011, 06:49 PM
Its most definitely yes, Craig.

Your responses throughout the day on the various threads were greatly appreciated....and again, we're very glad you decided to pitch in with us.

I don't know what's become of him, but one of the Forums members, Lavaughn Towell, of Tulsa, Oklahoma, is also a teacher and held a class specifically on the Whitechapel Murders at his school. He wrote an article about that class for the Rip.

SPE
November 1st, 2011, 07:49 PM
I have to say that I agree with you on this Paul. I would imagine that if you and I, as a team, sat with two academics in a debate on the subject, no books, no references, everything off the top of our heads, we could lose them in two minutes, well maybe five at the most.--SPE
An unfair challenge.
You and Paul are expert Ripperologists, period....none of them were and more importantly none there claimed to be or would claim to be.
**************************************


Oh, sorry, I thought that Martin Fido was there. I'm never quite sure what an 'expert Ripperologist' is supposed to be.

Howard Brown
November 1st, 2011, 08:06 PM
I was referring to those other than Mr. Fido, of course.

He's a babe magnet, lemme tell you. I believe every lady there sought him out to chat at some point.

Chris G.
November 1st, 2011, 08:19 PM
I was referring to those other than Mr. Fido, of course.

He's a babe magnet, lemme tell you. I believe every lady there sought him out to chat at some point.

Hey I sought him out to chat too! :photo:

Scott Nelson
November 1st, 2011, 11:19 PM
Hey,

Got any pictures of women Ripperologists, naked?

Stephen Thomas
November 2nd, 2011, 06:38 AM
I was referring to those other than Mr. Fido, of course.

He's a babe magnet, lemme tell you. I believe every lady there sought him out to chat at some point.

The Brit term is 'chat up', Howard.

Paul
November 2nd, 2011, 10:22 AM
I certainly cannot speak for everyone, and I would not claim to be representative of the "academic" community, but I would never make the kind of statement implied by the "[amateur]" adjective added by the journalist. Though when I have seen such a distinction made it is often meant, perhaps awkwardly, as a compliment. A great deal of important research in this field is done by people who are not paid to do it. I might use the word "enthusiasts," though I'd feel odd about using such a word for people -- myself included -- who are fascinated by things this ghastly!

Why I went to Philadelphia had to do with the varied audience. I genuinely thought that Ripperologists would be interested to see what their field does for me: how I use it to help teach and discuss autobiography as a literary practice. It was certainly never to suggest that I expected to add something of material value to Ripper questions. As one fellow suggested yesterday, I had nothing to offer on the three autobiographies that you do not know. If he had heard (or read) my paper, though, perhaps he would have looked at the issues that make them interesting just a little bit differently.

I am paid, in part, to research, conceptualize, and teach autobiography in a literature department. As I have said on other threads, I believe genuinely that the corner of Ripper studies relevant to this corner of literary studies would engage students and people who might never, for example, read Gertrude Stein's autobiography, an interesting example often written about and taught. I also realized that there was a great deal to learn to qualify myself as even an amateur who could invoke the research done by people like yourselves, and I tried to do that seriously and honour your contribution.

Arguably, the point implied in the press was not made fully or well, but it did touch on something important to the Drexel meeting. I would have been less interested in a stuffy academic meeting; I think that I have a responsibility to apply the things we do here to matters of popular interest. This should never, ever be done in a condescending way, and I thought that there was none on display at Philadelphia. That's one of the appeals of your field: who would dare suggest that they have it all figured out?

The question for you is whether you think matters of popular interest have space in the university? Some people say "no" because they don't think they are "serious" enough, and that's rubbish. But would you welcome the contribution of academics at meetings intended to recognize the passion of people who look at these questions on their own time? I don't know.

Hi Craig,
As I was the one who inadvertently raised this matter, it isn't whether academics are welcomed at Ripperologist's meetings and in their publications (they are and always have been and, indeed, have often been sought out), but whether non-academic Ripperologists are welcome at the meetings and in the publications of academics. That's what concerns me, although 'concern' is perhaps too strong a word, as it seems fairly consistent that they are not, or are only welcomed reluctantly. This is understandable, and Drexel wasn't exclusively academic, but certainly the emphasis in the pre-publicity was on the academic credentials of the conference. Ripperologists were described as 'buffs', it was Martin Fido's book which conferred 'academic respectability' on the subject, apparently because Martin is an academic, not because his book was particularly good, bad, or indifferent, and the conference was justified because academics were now becoming gripped by the subject, and so on. Already there are subjects where books are clearly defined, if not overtly, as serious and reliable (academic) and non-serious or popular (non-academic).

And if there is any chance that your paper could be published by Ripperologist, please let me know as I can guarantee we'd love to publish it.

Craig Monk
November 2nd, 2011, 02:33 PM
Thanks, Paul. You see, I view the matter differently. I had been waiting for some time to share this research with people who might be interested in it, and I wondered -- rightly, based on the comments of others -- whether people with a popular interest in the subject would be. Over-generalizing (dangerously), it does seem that people who are not paid to pursue this subject are understandably most interested in facts. And I encounter people who say, with some validity, that you cannot have an opinion on the facts unless you have been studying them for a long, long time.

Luckily, my sense of the academic pursuit is that we wonder more what can be done with the facts in order look at our disciplines a little differently. I would never, for example, offer an opinion on the suspects! And some people dismiss that kind of work: fair enough. That might come through sometimes on the boards, but I didn't feel it in Philadelphia.

Let me say, categorically, that enthusiasts are the absolute authority on the facts. I read and cited a wide range of you in my work, and I continue reading all I can find. When I work out the boards a little more, I'd like to have a discussion about how different people discern authority from the opinions shared in books, journals, and on the boards. I think the Ripper case is an interesting one for asking that question: some "academic" works are very weak, and stray comments that are not formally endorsed by you folks -- except by not flaming the poster -- are far better. That's an interesting phenomenon.

As I told Howard, I had copies of my paper with me in Philly. I'd be happy to share a pdf with anyone who wants one. Write me at my screen name, all lower case with a dot between my two names, at uleth.ca. It was published in a journal of English instructors, but after some of you folks help me correct any errors in fact, I'd be thrilled to get reprint permission from them if you'd like to consider it for your audience.

Craig

Paul
November 3rd, 2011, 04:14 AM
Thanks, Paul. You see, I view the matter differently. I had been waiting for some time to share this research with people who might be interested in it, and I wondered -- rightly, based on the comments of others -- whether people with a popular interest in the subject would be. Over-generalizing (dangerously), it does seem that people who are not paid to pursue this subject are understandably most interested in facts. And I encounter people who say, with some validity, that you cannot have an opinion on the facts unless you have been studying them for a long, long time.

Luckily, my sense of the academic pursuit is that we wonder more what can be done with the facts in order look at our disciplines a little differently. I would never, for example, offer an opinion on the suspects! And some people dismiss that kind of work: fair enough. That might come through sometimes on the boards, but I didn't feel it in Philadelphia.

Let me say, categorically, that enthusiasts are the absolute authority on the facts. I read and cited a wide range of you in my work, and I continue reading all I can find. When I work out the boards a little more, I'd like to have a discussion about how different people discern authority from the opinions shared in books, journals, and on the boards. I think the Ripper case is an interesting one for asking that question: some "academic" works are very weak, and stray comments that are not formally endorsed by you folks -- except by not flaming the poster -- are far better. That's an interesting phenomenon.

As I told Howard, I had copies of my paper with me in Philly. I'd be happy to share a pdf with anyone who wants one. Write me at my screen name, all lower case with a dot between my two names, at uleth.ca. It was published in a journal of English instructors, but after some of you folks help me correct any errors in fact, I'd be thrilled to get reprint permission from them if you'd like to consider it for your audience.

Craig

Hi Craig,
I appreciate what you are saying, but you are arguing slightly differently from me. As you say, right now it's the Ripperologists who know more, but there are subjects that like Ripperology were once the domain of the 'amateur' which have been academicised to the extent that the amateur is now pretty much excluded. Take King Arthur as an example. This is why it has been argued - Professor William D Rubinstein's book "Shadows Past" is an example - that non-academics (or even academics venturing beyond their specialisations) tend to study non-mainstream subjects like Jack the Ripper because mainstream is closed off to them. It is absolutely understandable when one has been trained to do something and has long experience in doing it that one doesn't want to be bothered with the naive, unoriginal, nit-picky, or off the wall. Ripperologists are the same when people turn up claiming to see signs and symbols in the victim photos, or advance conspiracy theories. But marginalising us as 'buffs' sort of characterises us as hobbyists, rather than the more dignified amateur historians or Ripper historians.

The Grave Maurice
November 6th, 2011, 12:45 PM
We have to bear in mind that Professors Marantz Cohen and Abbate had to sell the idea of the conference to its sponsors, the Pennoni Honors College and the College of Arts and Sciences at Drexel. To get the funding and facilities, they would have had to convince the powers-that-be of the academic content and value of the conference. This might account for some of the wording used by Marantz Cohen in her article publicizing the conference in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Still, I noticed no snobbishness at all among the academics at the conference. The ones I spoke with seemed genuinely happy to be mixing with Ripperologists and were eager to discuss their research and our reactions to it. It was a very stimulating weekend, I thought.