The Dirt on "White Slavery": The Construction of Prostitution Narratives in Early Twentieth-Century American Newspapers

Erin Gallagher-Cohoon

Abstract


The paper "The Dirt on 'White Slavery': The Construction of Prostitution Narratives in Early Twentieth-Century America" analyses the development of white slavery discourses in Progressive Era newspapers, reform books and trial records. White slavery involved both gendered and racialized fears of coercive prostitution. These prostitution narratives are used to uncover early twentieth-century American  perceptions of appropriate femininity, inherent female weakness, and the sexual threat of racial and ethnic minorities. 


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