An appreciation of Nicole Rafter ( 1939- 2016)
By Frances Heidensohn
Nicole Rafter, who has died suddenly at the age of 76, was an outstanding criminologist, a feminist and a community activist as well as a warm and lively friend and colleague. She spent most of her academic career at the College of Criminology and Criminal Justice, North Eastern University, Boston, but she also held fellowships and visiting posts at universities all over the world, including Oxford, Melbourne, Austria and all the Nordic nations. She contributed to at least three major areas of criminology:
- feminist criminology, where she and I edited a collection on international perspectives (1995) and her study Partial Justice (1990 ) is a classic work on women's prisons in the US;
- crime films-Shots in the Mirror and Criminology Goes to the Movies
- biological and eugenic approaches exemplified by The Criminal Brain and her translations of Lombroso's key texts, the first full versions ever to be published in English.
She was as active and engaged as ever up to her death: her The Crime of All Crimes, a criminological approach to genocide has just appeared.
Nicky's achievements were rightly recognised by many honours and awards; she was a Fellow of the American Society of Criminology, received the Sutherland Award of the ASC and was a Fullbright scholar. She was one of the founders of the Division on Women and Crime of the ASC, acted as its chair and won its Senior Scholar award.
Her record of research, publication and the highest international recognition is notable and exemplary, but above all, she was a most generous friend, mentor and encourager of others. She was a lively, sought after teacher and was endlessly kind and patient with younger colleagues.
Notwithstanding her high level of publication, she lived a full and varied family and cultural life at home in Boston's North End and on numerous adventures with her devoted husband of over 50 years, Robert Hahn, in the US and abroad. Visits with them to art galleries and museums around the world were always remarkable in the fresh insights gained and the new perspectives they suggested on their favourite painters. She had an amazing gift for friendship from which I and many other benefitted. She will be very greatly missed by Rob, their son, daughter & daughter in law and a host of friends.