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Women's Studies, Gender, and Sexuality > Gender Studies

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City Requiem, Calcutta Cover

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City Requiem, Calcutta

Gender And The Politics Of Poverty

Ananya Roy

Housing developments emerge amid the paddy fields on the fringes of Calcutta; overflowing trains carry peasant women to informal urban labor markets in a daily commute against hunger; land is settled and claimed in a complex choreography of squatting and evictions: such, Ananya Roy contends, are the distinctive spaces of a communism for the new millennium-where, at a moment of liberalization, the hegemony of poverty is quietly reproduced. An ethnography of urban development in Calcutta, Roy’s book explores the dynamics of class and gender in the persistence of poverty.

City Requiem, Calcutta
emphasizes how gender itself is spatialized and how gender relations are negotiated through the everyday practices of territory. Thus Roy shows how urban developmentalism, in its populist guise, reproduces the relations of masculinist patronage, and, in its entrepreneurial guise, seeks to reclaim a bourgeois Calcutta, gentlemanly in its nostalgias. In doing so, her work expands the field of poverty studies by showing how a politics of poverty is also a poverty of knowledge, a construction and management of social and spatial categories.


Codes of Misconduct Cover

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Codes of Misconduct

Regulating Prostitution in Late Colonial Bombay

Ashwini Tambe

Across the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, legislators in Bombay passed a series of repetitive laws seeking to control prostitution. During the same time, Bombay’s sex industry grew vast in scale. Ashwini Tambe explores why these remarkably similar laws failed to achieve their goal and questions the actual purpose of such lawmaking.

Against the backdrop of the industrial growth of Bombay, Codes of Misconduct examines the relationship between lawmaking, law enforcement, and sexual commerce. Ashwini Tambe challenges linear readings of how laws create effects and demonstrates that the regulation and criminalization of prostitution were not contrasting approaches to prostitution but different modes of state coercion. By analyzing legal prohibitions as productive forces, she also probes the pornographic imagination of the colonial state, showing how regulations made sexual commerce more visible but rendered the prostitute silent.

Codes of Misconduct engages with debates on state control of sex work and traces how a colonial legacy influences contemporary efforts to contain the spread of HIV and decriminalize sex workers in India today. In doing so, Tambe’s work not only adds to our understanding of empire, sexuality, and the law, it also sheds new light on the long history of Bombay’s transnational links and the social worlds of its underclasses.

Color of Rape Cover

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Color of Rape

Gender and Race in Television's Public Spheres

Through an analysis of television images of rape, this book makes important contributions to theories of the public sphere as well as feminist theories of rape. It shows how issues pertaining to race and gender are integrated in television discussions of rape, and how ideas of race, stereotypes of black (male and female) sexuality, and the perceived threat of miscegenation continue to shape contemporary attitudes toward sexual violence.

Conceiving Masculinity Cover

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Conceiving Masculinity

Male Infertility, Medicine, and Identity

In Conceiving Masculinity, Liberty Walther Barnes puts the world of male infertility under the microscope to examine how culturally pervasive notions of gender shape our understanding of disease, and how disease impacts our personal ideas about gender. 

 

Taking readers inside male infertility clinics, and interviewing doctors and couples dealing with male infertility, Barnes provides a rich account of the social aspects of the confusing and frustrating diagnosis of infertility. She explains why men resist a stigmatizing label like "infertile," and how men with poor fertility redefine for themselves what it means to be manly and masculine in a society that prizes male virility. Conceiving Masculinity also details how and why men embrace medical technologies and treatment for infertility.

 

Broaching a socially taboo topic, Barnes emphasizes that infertility is not just a women's issue. She shows how gender and disease are socially constructed within social institutions and by individuals. 

Conceiving the Future Cover

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Conceiving the Future

Pronatalism, Reproduction, and the Family in the United States, 1890-1938

Laura L. Lovett

Through nostalgic idealizations of motherhood, family, and the home, influential leaders in early twentieth-century America constructed and legitimated a range of reforms that promoted human reproduction. Their pronatalism emerged from a modernist conviction that reproduction and population could be regulated. European countries sought to regulate or encourage reproduction through legislation; America, by contrast, fostered ideological and cultural ideas of pronatalism through what Laura Lovett calls “nostalgic modernism,” which romanticized agrarianism and promoted scientific racism and eugenics. Lovett looks closely at the ideologies of five influential American figures: Mary Lease's maternalist agenda, Florence Sherbon's eugenic “fitter families” campaign, George Maxwell's “homecroft” movement of land reclamation and home building, Theodore Roosevelt's campaign for conservation and country life, and Edward Ross's sociological theory of race suicide and social control. Demonstrating the historical circumstances that linked agrarianism, racism, and pronatalism, Lovett shows how reproductive conformity was manufactured, how it was promoted, and why it was coercive. In addition to contributing to scholarship in American history, gender studies, rural studies, and environmental history, Lovett's study sheds light on the rhetoric of “family values” that has regained currency in recent years. Lovett examines how nostalgic idealizations of motherhood, the family, and the home were used to construct and legitimate policies that promoted reproduction in the early 20th-century U.S. In Europe, countries sought to regulate or encourage reproduction through legislation. America, by contrast, fostered ideological and cultural ideas of pronatalism through what Lovett terms “nostalgic modernism,” which romanticized agrarianism and promoted scientific racism and eugenics. She looks closely at five historical figures and policies: Elizabeth Lease’s maternalist agenda; Florence Sherbon’s eugenic “Fitter Families” campaign; George Maxwell’s “Homecroft” campaign of land reclamation and home building; Theodore Roosevelt’s campaign for conservation and country life; and Edward Ross’s sociological theory of race suicide and social control. Understanding the historical circumstances that associated agrarianism, racism, and pronatalism, she demonstrates how reproductive conformity was manufactured, how it was promoted, and why it was coercive. In addition to contributing to scholarship in American history, gender studies, rural studies, and environmental history, Lovett’s study also sheds light on current “family values” rhetoric. Through nostalgic idealizations of motherhood, family, and the home, argues Laura Lovett, influential leaders in early twentieth-century America constructed and legitimated a range of reforms that promoted human reproduction. Their pronatalism emerged from a modernist conviction that reproduction and population could be regulated. European countries sought to regulate or encourage reproduction through legislation; America, by contrast, fostered ideological and cultural ideas of pronatalism through what Lovett terms “nostalgic modernism,” which romanticized agrarianism and promoted scientific racism and eugenics. Through nostalgic idealizations of motherhood, family, and the home, influential leaders in early twentieth-century America constructed and legitimated a range of reforms that promoted human reproduction. Their pronatalism emerged from a modernist conviction that reproduction and population could be regulated. European countries sought to regulate or encourage reproduction through legislation; America, by contrast, fostered ideological and cultural ideas of pronatalism through what Laura Lovett calls “nostalgic modernism,” which romanticized agrarianism and promoted scientific racism and eugenics. Lovett looks closely at the ideologies of five influential American figures: Mary Lease's maternalist agenda, Florence Sherbon's eugenic “fitter families” campaign, George Maxwell's “homecroft” movement of land reclamation and home building, Theodore Roosevelt's campaign for conservation and country life, and Edward Ross's sociological theory of race suicide and social control. Demonstrating the historical circumstances that linked agrarianism, racism, and pronatalism, Lovett shows how reproductive conformity was manufactured, how it was promoted, and why it was coercive. In addition to contributing to scholarship in American history, gender studies, rural studies, and environmental history, Lovett's study sheds light on the rhetoric of “family values” that has regained currency in recent years.

The Concubine, the Princess, and the Teacher Cover

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The Concubine, the Princess, and the Teacher

Voices from the Ottoman Harem

Translated and edited by Douglas Scott Brookes

In the Western imagination, the Middle Eastern harem was a place of sex, debauchery, slavery, miscegenation, power, riches, and sheer abandon. But for the women and children who actually inhabited this realm of the imperial palace, the reality was vastly different. In this collection of translated memoirs, three women who lived in the Ottoman imperial harem in Istanbul between 1876 and 1924 offer a fascinating glimpse “behind the veil” into the lives of Muslim palace women of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The memoirists are Filizten, concubine to Sultan Murad V; Princess Ayse, daughter of Sultan Abdulhamid II; and Safiye, a schoolteacher who instructed the grandchildren and harem ladies of Sultan Mehmed V. Their recollections of the Ottoman harem reveal the rigid protocol and hierarchy that governed the lives of the imperial family and concubines, as well as the hundreds of slave women and black eunuchs in service to them. The memoirists show that, far from being a place of debauchery, the harem was a family home in which polite and refined behavior prevailed. Douglas Brookes explains the social structure of the nineteenth-century Ottoman palace harem in his introduction. These three memoirs, written across a half century and by women of differing social classes, offer a fuller and richer portrait of the Ottoman imperial harem than has ever before been available in English.

Contemporary Maritime Piracy in Southeast Asia Cover

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Contemporary Maritime Piracy in Southeast Asia

History, Causes and Remedies

Adam J Young

This book explores contemporary maritime piracy in Southeast Asia, demonstrating the utility of using historical context in developing policy approaches that will address the roots of this resurgent phenomenon. The depth and breadth of historical piracy help highlight causative factors of contemporary piracy, which are immersed in the socio-cultural matrix of maritime-oriented peoples to whom piracy is still a “thinkable” option. The threats to life and property posed by piracy are relatively low, but significant given the strategic nature of these waterways that link the Pacific and Indian Oceans, and because piracy is emblematic of broader issues of weak state control in the littoral states of the region. Maritime piracy will never be completely eliminated, but with a progressive economic and political agenda aimed at changing the environment from which piracy is emerging, it could once again become the exception rather than the rule.

Contested Paternity Cover

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Contested Paternity

Constructing Families in Modern France

Rachel G. Fuchs

This groundbreaking study examines complex notions of paternity and fatherhood in modern France through the lens of contested paternity. Drawing from archival judicial records on paternity suits, paternity denials, deprivation of paternity, and adoption, from the end of the eighteenth century through the twentieth, Rachel G. Fuchs reveals how paternity was defined and how it functioned in the culture and experiences of individual men and women. She addresses the competing definitions of paternity and of families, how public policy toward paternity and the family shifted, and what individuals did to facilitate their personal and familial ideals and goals. Issues of paternity and the family have broad implications for an understanding of how private acts were governed by laws of the state. Focusing on paternity as a category of family history, Contested Paternity emphasizes the importance of fatherhood, the family, and the law within the greater context of changing attitudes toward parental responsibility.

Contested Waters Cover

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Contested Waters

A Social History of Swimming Pools in America

Jeff Wiltse

From nineteenth-century public baths to today's private backyard havens, swimming pools have been a provocative symbol of American life. In this social and cultural history of swimming pools in the United States, Jeff Wiltse relates how, over the years, pools have served as asylums for the urban poor, leisure resorts for the masses, and private clubs for middle-class suburbanites. As sites of race riots, shrinking swimsuits, and conspicuous leisure, swimming pools reflect the tensions and transformations that have given rise to modern America.

Contesting Realities Cover

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Contesting Realities

The Public Sphere and Morality in Southern Yemen

Susanne Dahlgren

As a resident of Aden for more than three years spanning the late years of Marxist South Yemen, Dahlgren presents the reader with an intimate portrait of Yemeni men and women in the home, in the factory, in the office, and in the street, demonstrating that Islamic societies must be understood through a multiplicity of social spheres and morality orders. Within each space, she examines the range of legal, political, religious, and social regulations that frame gender relations and social dynamics. Highlighting the diversity of women’s and men’s positions as a continuum rather than as distinct areas, Dahlgren presents a vivid picture of this dynamic society, providing an in-depth background to today’s political upheavals in Yemen.

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