Doctoral Thesis

Wright, Micah. “‘Protection against the Lust of Men’: Progressivism, Prostitution and Rape in the Dominican Republic under US Occupation, 1916–24.” Gender & History 28, no. 3 (November 1, 2016): 623–40. doi:10.1111/1468-0424.12242.
This article explains the disparity between the United States (US) military government’s efforts to defend and empower local women during the first occupation of the Dominican Republic (1916–24) and its reputation for tolerating sexual assault. It argues that US officials, inspired by a progressive ideology that linked the social, economic and political spheres, set out to reshape Dominican sexual and gender norms as a means to ensure political stability. Yet, these efforts fell victim to both Dominican and US Marines’ conceptions of gender and normative sexuality. Building upon a thriving body of scholarship that addresses the significance of US efforts to redefine Dominican gender norms, this article analyses the military government’s policies towards women and provost courts’ responses to sexual assault. It concludes that, combined with an aggressive anti-prostitution campaign, the military government’s reforms succeeded only in creating an atmosphere favourable to crimes against women. Moreover, rape and the way it was prosecuted revitalised the patriarchal norms that US officials had set out to transform, thus setting the stage for the regime of Rafael Leonidas Trujillo, whose thirty-year dictatorship depended on the conspicuous control of women. Thus, US policies and attitudes not only ensured the failure of progressive reform but also contributed to the ongoing subjugation of the very women the military government had pledged to empower.

Lobasz, Jennifer Kathleen. (2012). Victims, villains, and the virtuous: constructing the problems of “human trafficking”. University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. June 2012


Over the past two decades, human trafficking has come to be seen as a growing threat, and transnational advocacy networks opposed to human trafficking have succeeded in establishing trafficking as a pressing political problem. The meaning of human trafficking, however, remains an object of significant–and heated–contestation among transnational actors with opposing perspectives on prostitution, the appropriate balance between law enforcement and human rights protection, and migration. The outcomes of disputes over meaning are highly significant. Anti-trafficking discourses establish regimes of knowledge that set boundaries for how scholars, activists, legislators, and citizens conceive of human trafficking–they establish what trafficking is and who counts as trafficked, and create narratives that explain how trafficking has become a problem and what should be done to fix it. In this dissertation I conduct a genealogical discourse analysis of anti-trafficking advocacy, policy, and scholarship in the United States from the late 1970s to 2000, looking in particular at feminist and religious abolitionist advocacy networks, and the role they play in the creation of the U.S. Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000. I argue that “human trafficking” is better understood as a contested concept rather than as an objectively given problem. The meaning of trafficking is constructed rather than inherent, and inseparable from the political context through which it is produced.

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Escamilla Loredo, M. I. (2014). Developing safer sex negotiation skills among Latin American female sex workers working in Germany. Bielefeld: Bielefeld University.

Executive Summary.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV, are among the most important
causes of infertility, long-term disability and death in the world (WHO 2012).
Because of the particularities of their job, sex workers (SW) are at great risk of
acquiring HIV/STIs. It is estimated that around 400,000 sex workers are engaged in
Germany and approximately 1 million men look daily for sex workers’ services in the
country (TAMPEP 2010). In Germany, sex work is a commercial activity
predominantly conducted by migrants and by women (TAMPEP 2010, 2007a, 2007b,
2007d). The largest populations of migrant SW in the country are the groups from
Central and Eastern Europe, Asia and Latin America (TAMPEP 2010). Evidence
suggests that sex workers in Germany may not consistently practice protected sex
(RKI 2012; Bremer 2007, 2006; TAMPEP 2010, 2007b, 2007d). Among other
interventions to increase condom use among SW, it is recommended to improve sex
workers’ safer sex negotiation abilities. In this sense, the current study was
conducted to achieve two principal goals: 1) to identify negotiation strategies that
Latin American female sex workers working in Germany (LAFSWs) employ by
attempting to persuade clients resistant to using a condom; and 2) to identify skills
building approaches to teach sex workers condom use negotiation strategies.

Full document available here.