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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/25637

Title: Radical Intimacies: Affective Potential and the Politics of Love in the Transatlantic Sex Reform Movement, 1900-1930
Authors: Hustak, Carla Christina
Advisor: Murphy, Michelle
Department: History
Keywords: gender
sexuality
Issue Date: 1-Jan-2011
Abstract: This dissertation explores the transatlantic shaping of the early twentieth century sex reform movement as a pivotal moment in the history of affect. I focus on a set of influential white middle class British and American radical intellectuals who emphasized emotions, instincts, and energies as transformative forces that could politically, socially, and materially alter the world. Crucially, this dissertation shifts historical attention on this period as a watershed in sexual practices toward the lens of a politics of love that informed sex reformers' construction of discourses and practices. I argue that sex reformers' politics of love amounted to the emergence of new registers of organizing bodies along the lines of gender, race, class, and sexuality by differentiating these bodies in terms of what I call their affective potential to achieve love. By examining the sex reform movement through this lens of a politics of love, I highlight the multiple ways that sex reformers radicalized the domain of intimacy as an arena of intense concern in matters of both social and political organization as well as ontological questions of spiritually and ecologically relating to the world. Each of this dissertation's chapters aims to take the reader on a journey thorugh the multiple worlds that took shape as sex reformers looked to develop scientific, spiritual, social, political, and economic strategies to engineer relationships defined by love. This journey spatially and temporally situates sex refomers' bodies as affective compasses that moved through and constructed historically specific worlds out of Darwinian maps of cities and nations, bohemian living arrangements, 'modern' schools and playgrounds, Edenic gardens, plant breeding and animal sex research laboratories, and imagined eugenic utopias of future species and races.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/25637
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Department of History - Doctoral theses

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