The main goal of my research is to attempt a comprehensive analysis of sexual crimes punishable by the death penalty, such as bigamy, adultery, rape, incest and sodomy (understood today as homosexuality and zoophilia), committed by town and village inhabitants in the eighteenth century in the then Ruthenian voivodeship . The cases described in court books kept in 41 cities and 43 villages will be analyzed.
Many Western European researchers have already dealt with the issue of sexual crime, as evidenced by numerous publications. Unfortunately, this topic has not yet met with as much interest in Poland as abroad. While Polish researchers are keenly interested in this type of issues (for example, in the area of the Kraków voivodeship), I have the impression that the Ruthenian voivodeship is still not thoroughly researched. Moreover, they mainly focus on urban or rural crime, without trying to compare these groups with each other. My goal is to investigate both urban and rural crime. Researching the sources in this respect will also allow for a comprehensive overview of the situation in the peasant community, because for “common” crimes, such as adultery or incest, they could be tried in the rural justice system, however, in the case of sodomy or bigamy, they were sent to municipal courts, which had the right to the sword.
The innovative nature of this project is based on the analysis of the phenomenon of sexual offenses in terms of the choice of penalties and the principles of their administration by both secular and ecclesiastical courts, as well as the dynamics in the manner of punishment resulting from changes in the system in this area. The eighteenth century is particularly interesting due to the changes in the law of that time, which resulted from the incorporation of these lands into the Austrian partition in 1772. It is therefore necessary to follow the changes that occurred in this area before and after 1772, until 1795. Another issue worth exploring, while increasing the value of this project, is the ethnic diversity in these areas and the coexistence of two religious rites functioning side by side: Catholic and Orthodox. Researchers may also be interested in the motives and circumstances of the crimes committed, or the formation of public opinion on the crimes analyzed.