Ruby Ray Daily is a PhD student in History at Northwestern University.
Her project argues for the twentieth century development of an “Anglo-world” sexual culture by looking at migration, trans-national fetish communities, and international responses to the work of Alfred Kinsey.
From 1824 to 1930 twelve million people emigrated from Britain, most moving within North America and the Antipodes. Within this “Anglo world,” print media was also increasingly egalitarian and accessible due to cheap modes of production, increasing literacy, and newly inexpensive postal services. In concert with these well-explored trends, Ruby’s project argues the twentieth century was also a key period in which a self-consciously “Anglo” sexual culture emerged. The life and professional achievements of John Alexander Coutts, or “John Willie,” offer one example among many: born in Singapore, a citizen of Britain, and migrating across the Anglo-world from Australia to Canada and the US, his seminal magazine Bizarre had a profound impact on North American fetish culture. Amateur erotica in the Kinsey library also speaks to contemporary fantasies about the differences between “American” or “British” sexuality; and letters held by the Kinsey institute indicate the ways laypeople in Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand reacted to, and made use of, Kinsey’s scientific discoveries.
It is often asserted that transnational sexual identities are unique to the internet age. Yet, in her project, Ruby hopes to show how twentieth-century sexual identities and networks often formed and diffused within a global “Anglo” culture.
Demetrios Psihopaidas is a PhD candidate in Sociology at the University of Southern California.
The story that he is developing sheds new light on the following questions: how do public problems worthy of health policymaker attention emerge and diffuse globally? How do particular orientations to those problems gain and sustain credibility across organizations and local, national, and international policy arenas? Under what conditions can marginalized groups shape the policies that affect them?
With the support of the 2016 John Money Fellowship, Demetrios will return to the Kinsey Institute to review the John Money collection. This collection contains essential data for understanding how the “field” of knowledge production about gender transgression first gained a sense of scientific credibility.
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