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The Sexual Question


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Table of Contents

1. Regulating prostitution; 2. Protecting men; 3. Policing women; 4. Medicalizing sin; 5. Combating venereal disease; 6. Abolishing vice.

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Exploring links between sexuality, society, and state formation, this is the first history of prostitution and its politics in Peru.

About the Author

Paulo Drinot is Associate Professor of Latin American history at University College London. He is the author of The Allure of Labor: Workers, Race, and the Making of the Peruvian State (2011); editor of Che's Travels: The Making of a Revolutionary in 1950s Latin America (2010), Peru in Theory (2014), and La Patria Nueva (2018); and co-editor of Mas alla de la dominacion y la resistencia (2005), The Great Depression in Latin America (2014), Comics and Memory in Latin America (2017), and The Peculiar Revolution: Rethinking the Peruvian Experiment under Military Rule (2017).


'The value of Drinot's The Sexual Question is not just as a history of prostitution and venereal disease control over the course of a century in Peru, but in the dialogue that he establishes with related fields such as gender and sexuality, medicine, public health, and the state itself. I highly recommend it.' Peter Klaren, Professor Emeritus, George Washington University
'The Sexual Question is an admirable monograph by one of the leading historians of modern Peru. Based on both extensive original research and a sophisticated theoretical framework, Drinot addresses a hitherto understudied topic and illuminates the complex relationship between sexuality, culture, science, urban dynamics, and politics in the making of modern Peru. This is a path-breaking study that deserves wide readership.' Carlos Aguirre, University of Oregon
'In this rich analysis, Paulo Drinot ferrets out and pieces together an impressive range of sources from medicine, literature and much more, to show the shifting contours of 'the sexual question' in Peru. In addition to a wide-ranging analysis of urban processes in Lima, he also explores images of and policies about venereal disease among the Indigenous population and military conscripts from rural areas. It will be of great interest to scholars of Latin American politics, culture and history, as well as those interested in the history of sexuality and public health.' Kim Clark, author of Gender, State and Medicine in Highland Ecuador: Modernizing Women, Modernizing State, 1895-1950

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