I’m seeking two papers for a panel exploring how moral reformers, political leaders, and/or the popular press have historically delegitimized and criminalized the working-class body.
My paper investigates an incident in early-twentieth-century California in which a gang of prizefighters sexually assaulted two “dance hall girls”—young women paid to dance with unattached men—prompting civic leaders to call for the abolition of both boxing clubs and commercial dance halls. I explore the conflict between those who considered boxing arenas and dance halls as important spaces for working-class pleasure, autonomy, and economic viability, and those who described boxers and dancers as sources of moral disorder.
I am interested in papers in U.S. and non-U.S. fields. Please send an abstract (no more than 300 words) to Matthew Andrews at firstname.lastname@example.org by Saturday, February 9 (the AHA deadline is February 15). Thanks.
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