Geographies of Regulation: Policing Prostitution in Nineteenth-Century Britain and the Empire

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Overview

In the nineteenth century British authorities at home and abroad attempted to regulate prostitution in order to combat the spread of venereal diseases. Philip Howell examines in detail four sites of such regulated prostitution - Liverpool, Cambridge, Gibraltar and Hong Kong - and considers the similarities as well as the differences between colonial and metropolitan practices. Placing these sites within their local, regional and global contexts, the author argues that the British administration of commercial sexuality was deeper and more extensive than conventionally portrayed. The book challenges our understanding of what constitutes colonial regulation and also confronts imperial historiographies in which projects are simply translated from metropolis to periphery. By emphasizing both particular sites of regulated prostitution, and their place in the British imperial world, this book contributes not only to histories of gender and sexuality, but also to the revision of British imperial history.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"For specialists in Victorian history with an interest in prostitution at home or abroad, this volume makes a welcome contribution to the growing historiography about these issues." -Richard Cosgrove, H-Net

"Howell's work contributes to women's, imperial, and even military history in an innovative and engaging way and deserves wide readership." -Ginger Frost, American Historical Review

"the book will interest modern world historians who specialize in environment and technology, although colleagues outside of these subfields will be able to use this book as a readable and up-to-date introduction to the historical geography of imperialism." -Journal of World History

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Philip Howell is senior lecturer in the Department of Geography, Cambridge University and a Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge.

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Britain and the historical geography of regulationism; 2. Partial legislation and privileged places: the contagious diseases acts; 3. Liverpool, localisation and the municipal regulation of prostitution in Britain; 4. A private contagious diseases act: prostitution and the proctorial system in Victorian Oxbridge; 5. Sexuality, sovereignty and space: colonial law and the making of prostitute subjects in Gibraltar and the British Mediterranean; 6. Race and the regulation of prostitution in Hong Kong and the overseas empire; 7. Conclusions: mapping the politics of regulation.

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