By Ashwini Tambe

Around the 19th and 20th centuries, legislators in Bombay handed a chain of repetitive legislation looking to keep an eye on prostitution. throughout the comparable time, Bombay’s intercourse grew titanic in scale. Ashwini Tambe explores why those remarkably related legislation didn't in achieving their objective and questions the particular objective of such lawmaking. opposed to the backdrop of the commercial development of Bombay, Codes of Misconduct examines the connection among lawmaking, legislation enforcement, and sexual trade. Ashwini Tambe demanding situations linear readings of the way legislation create results and demonstrates that the law and criminalization of prostitution weren't contrasting ways to prostitution yet assorted modes of country coercion. by means of studying felony prohibitions as effective forces, she additionally probes the pornographic mind's eye of the colonial nation, displaying how laws made sexual trade extra noticeable yet rendered the prostitute silent. Codes of Misconduct engages with debates on kingdom keep an eye on of intercourse paintings and strains how a colonial legacy impacts modern efforts to include the unfold of HIV and decriminalize intercourse staff in India this present day. In doing so, Tambe’s paintings not just provides to our realizing of empire, sexuality, and the legislation, it additionally sheds new gentle at the lengthy heritage of Bombay’s transnational hyperlinks and the social worlds of its underclasses.

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Additional resources for Codes of Misconduct: Regulating Prostitution in Late Colonial Bombay

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The greatest emphasis lies on bringing colonies into the ambit of imperial sexual history and considering the implications of colonial formations for metropolitan centers. Given this emphasis, as well as the drawbacks of the theoretical approach mentioned earlier, it appears that there is a small but important way in which Foucault’s formulation remains to be extended to the context of colonial India: in identifying features of Indian bourgeois t h e co lo n i a l s tat e , l aw, a n d s e x ua l i t y 23 sexual norms that were a consequence of colonial contact, as well as in histories of those who were not immediately privy to interracial encounters.

It was possible to focus opprobrium on the prostitute because she was neither an ideal woman in nationalist rhetoric nor one for colonial policy. Several scholars have analyzed the opprobrium focused on the prostitute in the Indian colonial context, but most have conceptualized prostitutes’ sexuality as a thing, an object of control (Srinivasan 1988; Oldenburg 1990; Rege 1996). The women they analyze are presumed to have a preformed sexuality that was then harnessed to specific ends or repressed by the state, community, religion, or patriarchy in general.

The phases of laws on prostitution—regulation in the late nineteenth century, antitrafficking in the early twentieth century, and abolitionism in the 1920s and 1930s—map broadly onto the phases of high and late colonialism. The phases of regulation and antitrafficking correspond to a time when Britons viewed their country’s role as a dominant imperial power in increasingly racialized terms, drawing t h e co lo n i a l s tat e , l aw, a n d s e x ua l i t y 3 distinctions between competing imperial powers during the period of high colonialism.

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