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A Postcolonial Geography
Author: Richard Philips

The operation of the British model of imperialism was never consistent, seldom coherent, and far from comprehensive. Purity campaigns, controversies about the age of consent, the regulation of prostitution and passage and repeal of contagious diseases laws, as well as a new legislative awareness of homosexuality, were all part of the sexual currency of the late Victorian age. Colonial governments, institutions and companies recognised that in many ways the effective operation of the Empire depended upon sexual arrangements. They devised elaborate systems of sexual governance, but also devoted disproportionate energy to marking and policing the sexual margins. This book not only investigates controversies surrounding prostitution, homosexuality and the age of consent in the British Empire, but also revolutionises people's notions about the importance of sex as a nexus of imperial power relations. The derivative hypothesis, which reads colonial sexuality politics as something England did or gave to its colonies, is illustrated and made explicit by the Indian Spectator, which seemed simply to accept that India should follow English precedent. In 1885, the South Australian parliament passed legislation, similar to England's Criminal Law Amendment Act, which raised the age of consent from 13 to 16 and introduced a series of restrictions and regulations on sexual conduct. Richard Francis Burton's case against the moral universalism and sex between men are discussed. 'Cognitively mapping' sexuality politics, the book has traced connections between people, places and politics, exploring both their dangers and opportunities, which revolve in each case around embroilments in global power.

English newspapers, correspondents, travellers
Richard Philips

Like people and schools of criticism, ideas and theories travel – from person to person, from situation to situation, from one period to another. 1 English purity campaigners saw their own country as a net exporter of the ideas, laws and movements that drove sexuality politics around the world. Josephine Butler claimed that ‘England has been sending forth to all these parts of the world two streams, one pure and the other foul’. 2 She echoed the words of Ottobah Cugoano

in Sex, politics and empire
Laura Schwartz

’ critique of the CD Acts, blaming the evils of prostitution on the hypocrisy of the Christian marriage institution. The Freethinking emphasis on the sanctity of individual private judgement and moral autonomy also shaped attitudes towards the social purity campaigns that came out of repeal work, deterring some Secularists from endorsing the more repressive aspects of this movement. Remaining true to a longstanding, ultra

in Infidel feminism
Ronald Hyam

was launching his own purge, and broke the hold of the immigrant vice merchants. Prostitution in South Africa reverted once more to its indigenous base. Reversal of the trend towards turning the whole world into the white man’s brothel had begun. 31 The Purity Campaign We know no spectacle so ridiculous as the British public in one of

in Empire and sexuality
Ronald Hyam

the streets’, and that for only 1.5 per cent of them was an urgent necessity to support a family involved. The noted Purity campaigner Miss Ellice Hopkins also recognised that the most extensive cause of the increase in prostitution was ‘getting entangled with girls who are already lost … the sight of finery and luxury’ – a view strongly endorsed in the Select Committee’s report of 1882 on the

in Empire and sexuality
The British Experience
Author: Ronald Hyam

This book tries to show how sexual attitudes and activities influenced the lives of the imperial elite as well as the subjects of empire. It begins with an examination of the nature of sexuality and of its influence on individuals. The book argues that sexual dynamics crucially underpinned the whole operation of British empire and Victorian expansion. Sexual needs can be imperative, and people will go to extraordinary lengths to satisfy them. The book considers the behaviour of members of the imperial ruling elite, and examines their attitude to marriage and the relationship between their private lives and service of the empire. It looks at sexual opportunity in some different types of imperial situation, both formal and informal, in an attempt to see how sexual interaction underpinned the operative structures of British expansion. As the keeping of mistresses was not uncommon in eighteenth-century Britain, the keeping of a mistress in British India became a well-established practice. Europeans in India could flirt outrageously, but they must not fall in love or marry. To keep the women free from disease, Indian prostitutes were admitted to the cantonments, to the lal bazar after medical examination and registration, where they were given periodical checks. Official reaction against sexual opportunism began in earnest with the Purity Campaign launched in 1869, which changed the visible face of British life and attitudes. Undoubtedly there was thereafter more decorum, more chastity, less opportunity and less fun.

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Australian activists on the age of consent and prostitution
Richard Philips

career of South Australian social purity campaigner Reverend Joseph Coles Kirby (1837–1924) was equally derivative, at least on the surface. This section examines Kirby’s interventions, locating his political agency and tracing the strategies through which he exercised it, before assessing the extent to which these interventions either underpinned or resisted imperial hegemony. To consider the agency that facilitated Kirby’s intervention, it is necessary to position him (and other South Australian activists) within a

in Sex, politics and empire
Deciding against regulation in West Africa
Richard Philips

tendency to ignore areas where regulation had not been introduced or seriously proposed. Since regulation made little impression in British Africa, reactive purity campaigners did not pay much attention to the continent. But neither did their pro-active counterparts. 8 The CEPS, for instance, concentrated on North America, Australia and India, and only slowly moved to consider Africa, then mainly through its work among British military personnel posted in the region or off its coast. 9 Neither did English missionaries in

in Sex, politics and empire
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Sexuality, Irish moral politics and capitalist crisis,1920–40
Michael G. Cronin

religious philanthropists. The campaign gathered momentum during the 1870s, and achieved its goal of full repeal in 1886. By that stage, however, this repeal campaign had transmogrified into a third movement which, by contrast, was seeking greater rather than less regulation of sexuality by the state. Focusing on issues such as the age of consent, juvenile prostitution, trafficking of women (‘white slavery’) and male homosexuality, the first major success of the social purity campaigners was the 1885 Criminal Law Amendment Act. As SEXUALITY, MORAL POLITIC S AND

in Impure thoughts
Abstract only
Mapping the tyranny
Richard Philips

its will’. 9 But, while colonial companies and governments carefully formulated and enforced rules about who should, could or could not marry, and about who could or could not have sex with whom, where and when, they did not do so with a free hand. Activists such as Butler – known as purity campaigners – took an interest in the regulation of such intimate and morally charged areas of their own lives and the lives of others. The unfamiliar if not entirely original political idea that she proposed – framing abstract

in Sex, politics and empire