Prison Intimacies

August 22, 2008
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The August 21 edition of the Times Higher Education includes a review of Regina Kunzel’s new book, Criminal Intimacy: Prison and the Uneven History of Modern American Sexuality. The THE‘s Lynne Segal writes:

Being a product of “situational” aberrations, same-sex activity in prisons is of little interest to historians of sexuality, the psychiatrist and historian Vernon Rosario believes. He is quite wrong, according to feminist historian Regina Kunzel. In her latest book, Criminal Intimacy, Kunzel argues persuasively that the increasingly open secrets of prison life, although usually officially buried, expose the perennial fault-lines of many of our understandings of modern sexuality. As she illustrates, the hallmark of modern discourses of sexuality is the move from sexual acts, seen as decent or indecent, to sexual identities, seen as normal or perverse, generated from within. Sex behind bars, however, has always provided evidence that fails to mirror this account, leaving its occurrence apparently cut off in some anachronistic space all its own.

Read the review on the THE website.

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