Thursday, May 9, 2013

Landau reviews Schafer, "Brothels, Depravity, and Abandoned Women"

Via H-Law, we have word of a review of Brothels, Depravity, and Abandoned Women: Illegal Sex in Antebellum New Orleans (Louisiana State University Press, 2011), by Judith Kelleher Schafer (Tulane University). According to reviewer Emily Epstein Landau (University of Maryland, College Park), it is "a serious book about prostitution and the law in antebellum New Orleans," by "a recognized expert on antebellum Louisiana legal history." Here's more:
Brothels, Depravity, and Abandoned Women is organized thematically into nine chapters, plus a brief introduction and conclusion, exploring the relationship between commercial sex and Louisiana law; interracial sex; the sexual exploitation of children; “infamous public women”; crime among and between prostitutes; violence in prostitutes’ lives; the (rare) trial of a prostitute’s murderer, providing a revealing look into social and legal attitudes toward women, gender roles, sexuality, and prostitution; the business of brothel keeping; and a final chapter on the passage of what is known as the Lorette Ordinance, a failed attempt in 1857 to regulate some, and criminalize other, aspects of prostitution. The book brims with stories: wonderful, awful, intriguing, maddening stories about women with nicknames like “Judy Come Home with the Soap,” and is itself a primer on how to conduct archival research, especially in court records.
Read on here. The review was commissioned and published by H-Histsex.

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