Browse Exhibits (27 total)

Prostitution in Algeria: Free or Forced?

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This exhibit examines the polarized and contradictory depictions of Algerian women's agency at the time of French conquest, as described in the second edition of On Prostitution in the City of Paris (1857).

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Sex Work And Public Health: Then and Now

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This exhibit illustrates the substantive lack of change in discourse regarding sexually transmitted infections (STIs), public health, and sex work, which shows a larger pattern of sex work stigmatization that has stayed mostly the same. Public health is a discipline that has evolved over centuries of scientific advances and the development of new health scares, but many of these changes are reflections of the past. Though there are certainly inherent differences, HIV/AIDS in modern sex work communities is very much a reflection of syphilis in 19th century Parisian sex work communities.

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Prostitution and Stigma Cross-Culturally: Paris, Nairobi, and California


This exhibit compares the stigmatization of indoor prostitution with that of outdoor prostitution. These two forms of prostitution carry significant (but varied) meanings with regard to stigma in that they are reflective of class lines.  To explore this comparison more deeply, I juxtapose three different cultures: Paris in the 1830s, Nairobi in the 1900s, and California in the late 1990s-early 2000s.  In doing so, I examine how the dominant attitudes affiliated with indoor and outdoor prostitution inform kinship and living structures for female prostitutes in each of these places and time periods.  The patterns and differences between these three cases demonstrate that stigma (like prostitution) varies across cultures.

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Prostitution and Colonialism: A Comparative Analysis of Algeria and North India

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This exhibit examines prostitution in a colonial context by comparing Algeria under French rule and North India under British rule. In addition to identifying similarities in these two cases that stem from the colonial context, this exhibit also highlights France and England's differing colonial philosophies, which in large part account for the differences in how prostitutes were viewed and how prostitution was regulated.

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The Policies and Politics of Prostitution: Contrasting 19th Century Paris with Present-Day Legislative Strategies

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This exhibit contrasts the state of legislation on prostitution in 19th century Paris with the legislative ideologies regarding prostitution today.

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Sex Work, Regulation, and Social Class: Policing Bias at the Expense of Lower-Class Prostitutes

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This exhibit examines the intersection of policing and a prostitute's social class, comparing nineteenth-century Paris and the twenty-first century United States. From lower-class streetwalkers to upscale private escorts, the social stratification of prostitutes has influenced the likelihood of and manner in which a sex worker faces prosecution, both historically and cross-culturally. This inconsistency can be attributed to a number of different factors, including cultural stigma, relative visibility, and the agenda of law enforcement officials. 

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The Politics of Motherhood: Do Prostitutes Deserve to be Mothers?


This exhibit highlights the way that respectability politics have been used to socialize women. Mothers who are prostitutes are seen as living outside of the boundaries of the trope of the "good mother", and therefore, by society, should not be able to be mothers. 

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Prostitution Discourse: How do we talk about sex work?

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Over time, discourses relating to prostitution have seen little change. This exhibit will look at specific groups (researchers, workers’ agency and the public) related to prostitution and explore how the discourses from 1830’s France reflect similar discourses used today. 

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Whiteness, “Othering”, and Prostitution: Intersections in 1830s Paris and Modern Areas


This exhibit explores the various ways that Whiteness interacts with a racialized other that is also a sex worker, a comparison of French colonized Algeria, 1830s Sub-Saharan Africa, and modern Dominican Republic reveals that a process of exotification and "othering" still occurs and links the realities of prostitution in these places across time.

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The Business of Sex Work


This exhibit shows how sex work is a legitimate business, from its existence in an economic market, and should therefore be decriminalized. Decriminalization would benefit both sides of the market for sex work. Along with decriminalization, laws should still exist to create safer circumstances for the women and enact better business practices for the market. 

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