Vassar Professor Speaks To An Aspect Of The Kavanaugh Hearings

Oct 17, 2018

Justice Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court has a history professor in our region reflecting upon the role of male privilege and entitlement. Vassar College’s Dr. Mita Choudhury is an expert on sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. She spoke with WAMC’s Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Allison Dunne about the correlations she saw at play during the Kavanaugh hearings.

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her more than 30 years ago. Kavanaugh denied it, and is now on the high court. Professor Choudhury says the pages of history show that masculinized privilege and entitlement are common threads used to silence accusations of sexual assault.

In her book “The Wanton Jesuit and the Wayward Saint,” Choudhury investigates a scandalous 1731 trial in which a 21-year-old woman accused her Jesuit confessor of seduction, heresy, abortion and bewitchment. She is now starting a book on sexual assault and violence in the Catholic Church in 17th and 18th century France. Professor Choudhury teaches early modern Europe and Old Regime France, specializing in gender and sexuality, at Poughkeepsie-based Vassar College.