Historical Perspectives on Industrial Development, Mining, and Prostitution

Citation:

Laite, Julia Ann. 2009. “Historical Perspectives on Industrial Development, Mining, and Prostitution.” The Historical Journal 52 (3): 739–61.

Author: Julia Ann Laite

Abstract:

Prostitution has been linked by many historians and social commentators to the industrial development and capitalism of the modern age, and there is no better example of this than the prostitution that developed in mining regions from the mid-nineteenth century. Using research on mining-related prostitution, and other social histories of mining communities where prostitution inevitably forms apart, large or small, of the historian's analysis of the mining region, this article will review, contrast, and compare prostitution in various mining contexts, in different national and colonial settings. From the American and Canadian gold rushes in the mid-and late nineteenth century, to the more established mining frontiers of the later North American West, to the corporate mining towns of Chile in the interwaryears, to the copper and gold mines of southern Africa and Kenya in the first half of the twentieth century, commercial sex was present and prominent as the mining industry and mining communities developed. Challenging the simplistic images and stereotypes of prostitution that are popularly associated with the American mining frontier, historians have shown that prostitution's place in mining communities, and its connection to industrial development, was as complex as it was pervasive and enduring.

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Extractive Industries, Gender, Women, Governance, Livelihoods, Sexual livelihoods, Multi-national Corporations Regions: Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa, Americas, North America, South America Countries: Canada, Chile, Kenya, South Africa, United States of America

Year: 2009

© 2017 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at info@genderandsecurity.org.