White Slave Crusades : Race Gender And Anti Vice Activism Essay

852 Words Mar 7th, 2015 4 Pages
In his book, White Slave Crusades: Race Gender and Anti-Vice Activism 1887-1917, Brian Donovan analyzes the role of the white slavery narratives and anti-vice movements in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in the construction of racial boundaries and inequalities in Chicago, New York, and San Francisco. Donovan centers on sexuality and gender as explanations for the cultural construction of race, racial categories, and inequalities rather than studying race as an independent category. Thus, this book challenges contemporary scholarship on racial inequality by underlining “the ontological relationship between race, gender, and sexuality and the interconnections between material inequality and culture (p. 132).”
Donovan approaches anti-vice activism in an intersectional and comparative manner, and he indicates how these culturally-produced narratives were deployed by various white, native-born Americans from different regions to respond to social changes such as “rapid urbanization, the rise of women in workforce, and the changing racial composition of American cities” during the Progressive Era (1900-1920) in the United States (p. 1). The cases from Chicago, San Francisco, and New York City demonstrate that white slavery narratives followed a similar manner: Innocent native-born white girls, leaving their safe homes behind to come to big cities in search for employment, were abducted by unscrupulous procurers, frequently immigrant from southern and eastern…

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