The History of River Town Brothel Culture

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Program Type: Guest Speaker
Age Group: Adults

Event Details

In this talk, Dr. Ashley Barnes-Gilbert will discuss the emergence of river town brothel culture in the Midwest and American South between the 1870s and 1920. Specifically, she will explore the rise in brothels during this period, the social influence of madams, and the structures of brothels themselves, including décor, work hours, and means of entertainment. Dr. Barnes-Gilbert’s work explores how brothel culture reflects social constructions of sexuality, gender, race, and class during this era, demonstrating the social construction of desire and aspirations for workers and clients in Memphis, St. Louis, and Kansas City. Dr. Barnes-Gilbert is a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater where she currently teaches a number of courses, including Feminist Theories, Women: Race & Ethnicity, Women & Work, and Queering American History.