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When Sex Threatened the StateIllicit Sexuality, Nationalism, and Politics in Colonial Nigeria, 1900-1958$
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Saheed Aderinto

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780252038884

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252038884.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM ILLINOIS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.illinois.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Illinois University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ISO for personal use.date: 21 September 2021

The Sexual Scourge of Imperial Order

The Sexual Scourge of Imperial Order

Race, the Medicalization of Sex, and Colonial Security

(p.93) Chapter 4 The Sexual Scourge of Imperial Order
When Sex Threatened the State

Saheed Aderinto

University of Illinois Press

This chapter argues that sex had broader implications for the future of the British Empire, while also showing that the generalization that women were the moral scourge of the empire whose sexuality needed to be curtailed must be qualified. The African rank-and-file of the colonial army, like women, became another demographic whose sexuality was treated as dangerous. Indeed, the colonialists' perception of the effect of sexual savagery and their methods of dealing with it were class specific and were constantly in a state of flux. This disequilibrium to a large extent was based on the weighting of the medical consequences of gonorrhea and syphilis against other communicable diseases like influenza. The chapter then shows that the medicalization of sex reflected the quest by colonial medics to appropriate the panic over prostitution as a means of repositioning themselves as a vital tool of civilization.

Keywords:   British Empire, African women, sexual savagery, women's sexuality, gonorrhea, syphilis, prostitution

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