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Purifying Empire: Obscenity and the Politics of Moral by Deana Heath

By Deana Heath

Purifying Empire explores the fabric, cultural and ethical fragmentation of the limits of imperial and colonial rule within the British empire within the past due 19th and early 20th centuries. It charts how a selected biopolitical venture, specifically the force to manage the obscene in overdue nineteenth-century Britain, used to be remodeled from a countrywide right into a international and imperial enterprise after which re-localized in assorted colonial contexts, India and Australia, to serve decidedly various ends. whereas a substantial physique of labor has confirmed either the function of empire in shaping ethical regulatory tasks in Britain and their version, transformation and, now and then, rejection in colonial contexts, this e-book illustrates that it's in reality in basic terms via a comparative and transnational framework that it's attainable to explain either the temporalist nature of colonialism and the political, racial and ethical contradictions that sustained imperial and colonial regimes.

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Additional info for Purifying Empire: Obscenity and the Politics of Moral Regulation in Britain, India and Australia

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Not only was Australia a ‘European’ nation moored in the ‘East’, but with an 8,000 mile coastline it had the most porous and unpoliceable border in the world. But that geography also gave Australia an immense advantage in attempting to create a new, model society through protecting it from contamination, and not just from those forms of contagion that were perceived to emanate from Asia. 82 While British ethnic identification actually increased in Australia in the late nineteenth century, quarantine became a knowledge-practice through which Australia was 78 79 80 81 82 Bashford, Imperial Hygiene, p.

9 The 1820s and 1830s were particularly pivotal decades, according to Anthony Budd, that marked the beginning of what he terms the ‘age of the sculpture machine’. 11 The rituals and restraints the bourgeoisie placed upon their own bodies were designed, in turn, to secure their hegemony over the social body. Securing such hegemony necessitated a wide programme of intervention into the culture and society of the labouring classes, which was achieved through the coming together of the state, medicine, evangelical religion and philanthropy with new professional knowledges and apparatuses, as well as procedures of social inquiry such as blue-book investigations into health and sanitation and reports from Poor Law commissions and factory inspectors.

2. ’, 31–48. As Leigh Gilmore argues in her analysis of two novels about lesbianism, Radclyffe Hall’s Bildungsroman The Well of Loneliness and Djuna Barnes’s experimental novel Nightwood, it was the form of Hall’s work that dictated the legal responses towards it and that enabled Barnes’s to evade legal action. Gilmore, ‘Obscenity’, 605–6. Nead, The Female Nude, p. 20. Chaudhary, ‘Phantasmagoric Aesthetics’, 90. 27 By the nineteenth century such arguments had come to be used to distinguish between art and obscenity, with the latter being denied the status of art because it not only invited interested rather than disinterested contemplation but, in promoting action or arousal, engendered embodied viewers or readers.

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