Selling Sex in the City: A Global History of Prostitution, 1600s-2000s


Selling Sex in the City offers a worldwide analysis of prostitution that takes a long historical approach which covers a time period from 1600 to the 2000s. The overviews in this volume examine sex work in more than twenty notorious “sin cities” around the world, ranging from Sydney to Singapore and from Casablanca to Chicago. Situated within a comparative framework of local developments, the book takes up themes such as labour relations, coercion, agency, gender, and living and working conditions. Selling Sex in the City thus reveals how prostitution and societal reactions to the trade have been influenced by colonization, industrialization, urbanization, the rise of nation states, imperialism, and war, as well as by revolutions in politics, transport, and communication.

Contributors are: Pascale Absi, Dlila Amir, Deborah Bernstein, Francesca Biancani, Thaddeus Gregory Blanchette, Amalia L. Cabezas, Susan P. Conner, Satarupa Dasgupta, Mfon Umoren Ekpootu, Raelene Frances, Pamela Fuentes, Sue Gronewold, Hanan Hammad, Shawna Herzog, Philippa Hetherington, Nicole Keusch, Liat Kozma, Julia Laite, Nomi Levenkron, Mary Linehan, Maja Mechant, Fernanda Nuñez, Marion Pluskota, Cristiana Schettini, Hila Shamir, Yvonne Svanström, Isabelle Tracol-Huynh, Michela Turno, Elise van Nederveen Meerkerk, and Mark David Wyers.
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Magaly Rodríguez García, Ph.D. (2008), is Lecturer of contemporary history at the KU Leuven, Belgium. She has published on the International Labour Organization, the League of Nations' campaigns against trafficking and child labour, the history and definitions of prostitution and coerced labour.

Lex Heerma van Voss, is director of the Huygens Institute for the History of the Netherlands (KNAW) and professor in the History of Social Security at Utrecht University. He has published on the international comparative history of work.

Elise van Nederveen Meerkerk, Ph.D. (2007), is a global labour and gender historian, working as Associate Professor at Wageningen University, the Netherlands. She has published on women’s and children’s work, and participated in several projects comparing the history of workers worldwide.
"It provides a densely rich and complex look at five hundred years of social, economic, and political entanglements that will fascinate global and world historians, as well as those interested in colonial, urban, and migration history. In providing novel approaches to understanding the contested theories and practices around sold sex, Selling Sex in the City is an essential, even if very large, handbook for activists and political actors engaged in debates around sex work and human trafficking". Ruth Ennis, in Comparativ, vol. 29(6), (2019).
List of Illustrations

1 Selling Sex in World Cities, 1600s–2000s: An Introduction
Magaly Rodríguez García, Elise van Nederveen Meerkerk and Lex Heerma van Voss

Part 1: Urban Overviews

Section 1: Europe

2 Selling Sex in Amsterdam
Marion Pluskota
3 Selling Sex in a Provincial Town: Prostitution in Bruges
Maja Mechant
4 Sex for Sale in Florence
Michela Turno
5 A Global History of Prostitution: London
Julia Laite
6 Prostitution in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia
Philippa Hetherington
7 The Paradoxes and Contradictions of Prostitution in Paris
Susan P. Conner
8 Prostitution in Stockholm: Continuity and Change
Yvonne Svanström

Section 2: Africa and the Middle East

9 Prostitution in Cairo
Hanan Hammad and Francesca Biancani
10 Colonial and Post-Colonial Casablanca
Liat Kozma
11 Selling Sex in Istanbul
Mark David Wyers
12 Sexualizing the City: Female Prostitution in Nigeria’s Urban Centres in a Historical Perspective
Mfon Umoren Ekpootu
13 Sex Work and Migration: The Case of Tel Aviv and Jaffa, 1918–2010
Deborah Bernstein, Hila Shamir, Nomi Levenkron and Dlila Amir

Section 3: The Americas

14 A Social History of Prostitution in Buenos Aires
Cristiana Schettini
15 Prostitution in the us : Chicago
Mary Linehan
16 Prostitution in Havana
Amalia L. Cabezas
17 Facing a Double Standard: Prostitution in Mexico City, 1521–2006
Fernanda Nuñez and Pamela Fuentes
18 The Future of an Institution from the Past: Accommodating Regulationism in Potosi (Bolivia) from the Nineteenth to Twenty-first Centuries
Pascale Absi
19 Sex Work in Rio de Janeiro: Police Management without Regulation
Thaddeus Blanchette and Cristiana Schettini

Section 4: Asia-Pacific

20 Commercial Sex Work in Calcutta: Past and Present
Satarupa Dasgupta
21 Prostitution in Colonial Hanoi (1885–1954)
Isabelle Tracol-Huynh
22 Prostitution in Shanghai
Sue Gronewold
23 Selling Sex in Singapore: The Development, Expansion, and Policing of Prostitution in an International Entrepôt
Shawna Herzog
24 Prostitution in Sydney and Perth since 1788
Raelene Frances

Part 2: Thematic Overviews

25 “We Use our Bodies to Work Hard, So We Need to Get Legitimate Workers’ Rights”: Labour Relations in Prostitution, 1600–2010
Marion Pluskota
26 Working and Living Conditions
Raelene Frances
27 Migration and Prostitution
Nicole Keusch
28 Prostitution and Colonial Relations
Liat Kozma
29 Seeing Beyond Prostitution: Agency and the Organization of Sex Work
Thaddeus Gregory Blanchette
30 Coercion and Voluntarism in Sex Work
Mark David Wyers
31 A Gender Analysis of Global Sex Work
Elise van Nederveen Meerkerk
32 The Social Profiles of Prostitutes
Maja Mechant

Part 3: Conclusion

33 Sex Sold in World Cities, 1600s–2000s: Some Conclusions to the Project
Elise van Nederveen Meerkerk, Magaly Rodríguez García and Lex Heerma van Voss
Students, and junior and senior researchers interested in the history of prostitution and the history of female labour, as well as anyone concerned with contemporary debates on sex work and human trafficking.
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