Document Type

Review Article

Publication Date

Summer 8-23-2011

Journal / Book Title

History of the Human Sciences


Assassins are often regarded as ahistorical figures of evil. In this article, I contest this view by analyzing the assassination of President William McKinley by Leon Czolgosz in 1901. There are two purposes to this article. The first is to situate McKinley’s assassination within the history and development of the social sciences, principally sociology, rather than assume that the assassin is a trans-historical representation of willful irresponsibility. The second is to describe and critique the discourse that made Czolgosz into a rational agent once he entered history as an assassin.


Published Citation

Federman, Cary. "Between structure and agency: assassination, social forces, and the production of the criminal subject." History of the human sciences 24, no. 5 (2011): 73-88.