The unique liberal arts environment at F&M has been Charles A. Dana Professor of Sociology Joel Eigen’s academic home for decades. His pioneering work in the field of criminal justice, made possible by financial support from F&M alumni, parents and friends, has taken him on a journey into the depths of legal and medical archives, all in the pursuit of revealing how medical experts argued their way into the criminal courtroom.
Initially intrigued by the trial of would-be presidential assassin John Hinckley Jr., Eigen has spent countless hours researching and gaining insight into crime and the evolution of legal strategies designed to address issues of criminal responsibility among the mentally ill.
His work has earned him several honors and awards, most recently an NEH year-long fellowship to complete the third volume in his study of criminal insanity, 1760–1910. The fellowship takes him initially to the University of Melbourne in Australia, where he will begin writing and lecturing on the subject this summer.
Eigen shares his unique perspectives and insights with students as Don of Ware College House, as well as through a variety of courses and collaborative research efforts.