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The age of consent in India
Richard Philips

matched by South Australia the same year and echoed soon after in other parts of the Empire, including India, where it increased from 10 to 12 in 1891. And if, as Antoinette Burton puts it, ‘1885 was clearly the annus mirabilis of sexual politics in locations beyond London’, 1 this seems to have been more than coincidence. Evidence that English developments were originary, their colonial counterparts derivative, is apparently plentiful. The derivative hypothesis, which reads colonial sexuality politics as something England

in Sex, politics and empire
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.

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Fields of understanding and political action
Richard Philips

metaphorical reference to ‘mapping’ finds parallels in critical language, which Ann Laura Stoler, Philippa Levine, Rudi Bleys and others have used to explore and understand imperial sexuality politics. Exploring the promise inherent in these spatial suggestions, I have tried to envisage elements of a postcolonial geography, which potentially challenges and contributes to both postcolonial criticism and critical geography. Taking up questions for a postcolonial geography, posed by Alison Blunt and Cheryl McEwan, I have asked how

in Sex, politics and empire
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
Richard Burton’s interventions on sex between men
Richard Philips

Building pictures of the spatiality of contested imperialism and the ‘productivity of the margins’ in imperial sexuality politics, I have focused primarily on material spaces – the concrete geographies of colonial governance and power in Sierra Leone and Bombay, for instance. I have alluded to ways of seeing these spaces, but have deferred a more detailed investigation of imaginative geographies and the parts they played in imperial sexuality politics. This chapter juxtaposes the preceding material histories and

in Sex, politics and empire
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Introducing a stronger form of regulation in Bombay
Richard Philips

Colonies could be proactive as well as reactive sites of sexuality politics, generating new ideas and strategies. For instance, in the British Empire, CD laws made their first appearance in colonies, initially in the form of military customs and later in civil legislation. When CD Acts were finally passed for England, they were based on schemes and statutes applied in India, the Ionian Islands, Malta, Gibraltar and Hong Kong. 1 Building on the previous chapter, which concluded somewhat tentatively that the colonial

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

English people, metropolitan sexuality politics did not generally travel smoothly to Africa, this gives rise to questions about why this was the case and what, if anything, took their place. The previous chapter began to address these questions by showing how people in colonies used and forged agency with which to actively negotiate imperial precedents, not necessarily to oppose imperial fundamentals but certainly to reconfigure their situated expressions and mechanisms. This chapter explores the heterogeneity of imperial

in Sex, politics and empire
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Mapping the tyranny
Richard Philips

significant for those involved in this imperial sexuality politics – the movements against regulation and associated campaigns for and against aspects of sexual and moral law in the British Empire. These politics were dominated in the Victorian period by three areas of legislation: 0.2 The caption to this 1887 sketch by Alfred Dyer complained that ‘the tents of the Government harlots confront the troops from morning to night’ and are ‘in full view of the entrance to the native

in Sex, politics and empire
Creole interventions in Sierra Leone
Richard Philips

An editorial printed in the Artisan , a Creole newspaper published in Sierra Leone, suggests the generative power of ordinary colonial geographies – the real and imagined worlds of colonial subjects rather than government officials or metropolitan travel writers – within imperial sexuality politics. Here in the numerous dark approaches are imparted and received many first lessons in a course of error, hard to be removed, if even repented of. Perhaps unadvisedly, young and inexperienced

in Sex, politics and empire
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Australian activists on the age of consent and prostitution
Richard Philips

Two of the central claims of this book are that in the field of sexuality politics there was life beyond England, and that geographical perspectives can throw light on this by illuminating non-metropolitan sites of political action. Beginning with Malabari, I have suggested that people in colonies exercised some control over legal and political transplantation and transformation, and that this control was site specific, shaped (but not determined) by local conditions. To more fully develop this case, it helps to turn

in Sex, politics and empire