Reproducing Empire: Race, Sex, Science, and U.S. Imperialism in Puerto Rico / Edition 1

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Overview

Original and compelling, Laura Briggs's Reproducing Empire shows how, for both Puerto Ricans and North Americans, ideologies of sexuality, reproduction, and gender have shaped relations between the island and the mainland. From science to public policy, the "culture of poverty" to overpopulation, feminism to Puerto Rican nationalism, this book uncovers the persistence of concerns about motherhood, prostitution, and family in shaping the beliefs and practices of virtually every player in the twentieth-century drama of Puerto Rican colonialism. In this way, it sheds light on the legacies haunting contemporary debates over globalization.

Puerto Rico is a perfect lens through which to examine colonialism and globalization because for the past century it has been where the United States has expressed and fine-tuned its attitudes toward its own expansionism. Puerto Rico's history holds no simple lessons for present-day debate over globalization but does unearth some of its history. Reproducing Empire suggests that interventionist discourses of rescue, family, and sexuality fueled U.S. imperial projects and organized American colonialism.

Through the politics, biology, and medicine of eugenics, prostitution, and birth control, the United States has justified its presence in the territory's politics and society. Briggs makes an innovative contribution to Puerto Rican and U.S. history, effectively arguing that gender has been crucial to the relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico, and more broadly, to U.S. expansion elsewhere.

Author Biography: Laura Briggs is Assistant Professor in the Department of Women's Studies at the University of Arizona.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520232587
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 1/20/2003
  • Series: American Crossroads Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 289
  • Sales rank: 604,078
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Laura Briggs is Assistant Professor in the Department of Women's Studies at the University of Arizona.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction. Colonialism: Familiar Territory 1
1 Sexuality, Medicine, and Imperialism: The International Traffic in Prostitution Policy 21
2 Sex and Citizenship: The Politics of Prostitution in Puerto Rico, 1898-1918 46
3 Debating Reproduction: Birth Control, Eugenics, and Overpopulation in Puerto Rico, 1920-1940 74
4 Demon Mothers in the Social Laboratory: Development, Overpopulation, and "the Pill,' 1940-1960 109
5 The Politics of Sterilization, 1937-1974 142
6 "I like to be in America": Postwar Puerto Rican Migration, the Culture of Poverty, and the Moynihan Report 162
Epilogue. Ghosts, Cyborgs, and Why Puerto Rico Is the Most Important Place in the World 193
Notes 211
Bibliography 243
Index 267
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