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Archaeology of Identity and DissonanceContexts for a Brave New World$
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Diane F. George  and Bernice Kurchin

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780813056197

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813056197.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FLORIDA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.florida.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Florida, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FLASO for personal use.date: 25 September 2021

Bodies under Scrutiny

Bodies under Scrutiny

Redefining Sex Worker Identity in Early Colonial Algiers

(p.67) 4 Bodies under Scrutiny
Archaeology of Identity and Dissonance

Lisa Geiger

University Press of Florida

After invading Algiers in 1830, French colonial administrators enacted policies intended to surveil and control local prostitutes. These regulations established sex worker registration logs, mandatory vaginal inspections, and forced treatments while redefining the primarily Muslim local women’s bodies as sites of disease. French medical workers used privileged technologies and clinical confinement to become the gatekeepers of women’s health. While French rhetoric stressed the benefits of new medical procedures and local acceptance of regulations, contemporary records suggest Algerian women resisted the new management policies. These women drew on pre-French social dynamics to evade surveillance and fashion new identities as sex workers within the shifted demographics of colonial Algiers, conceptualizing sex as a commodity to be drawn upon during economic crisis.

Keywords:   Colonial Algiers, Sex workers, Women’s health

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