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Modernity, Medicine, and Colonialism: The Contagious Diseases Ordinances in Hong Kong and the Straits Settlements

Modernity, Medicine, and Colonialism: The Contagious Diseases Ordinances in Hong Kong and the... tentious to argue that C D laws were one of the principal arenas for the codification of female sexuality in the British colonial context.’ Nor will it sound innovative to insist that such codification was determinedly racial in its distinctions and boundaries. What I want to explore here, however, is how we might connect these questions of race, gender, and sexuality to the broader project of modernity so rhetorically central to late British colonialism. CD legislation reveals an interesting contradiction between the legal fiction of modernity authored by the colonial state and the less “modern” and not infrequently coercive practices colonial peoples experienced as the state effected its route toward the “modern.” CD acts were first introduced to island Britain in 1864, and the legislation was extended and amended in 1866 and again in 1869. T h e 1869 act, suspended in I 883 after vigorous protests inaugurated mainly by feminists, was finally repealed in 1886. Operable only in those military and naval districts identified by the statute, the acts made women prostitutes but not their customers liable to medical examination and detention. Women suspected of prostitution were subject to arrest for the purposes of examination and, once http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png positions asia critique Duke University Press

Modernity, Medicine, and Colonialism: The Contagious Diseases Ordinances in Hong Kong and the Straits Settlements

positions asia critique , Volume 6 (3) – Dec 1, 1998

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 1998 by Duke University Press
ISSN
1067-9847
eISSN
1527-8271
DOI
10.1215/10679847-6-3-675
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

tentious to argue that C D laws were one of the principal arenas for the codification of female sexuality in the British colonial context.’ Nor will it sound innovative to insist that such codification was determinedly racial in its distinctions and boundaries. What I want to explore here, however, is how we might connect these questions of race, gender, and sexuality to the broader project of modernity so rhetorically central to late British colonialism. CD legislation reveals an interesting contradiction between the legal fiction of modernity authored by the colonial state and the less “modern” and not infrequently coercive practices colonial peoples experienced as the state effected its route toward the “modern.” CD acts were first introduced to island Britain in 1864, and the legislation was extended and amended in 1866 and again in 1869. T h e 1869 act, suspended in I 883 after vigorous protests inaugurated mainly by feminists, was finally repealed in 1886. Operable only in those military and naval districts identified by the statute, the acts made women prostitutes but not their customers liable to medical examination and detention. Women suspected of prostitution were subject to arrest for the purposes of examination and, once

Journal

positions asia critiqueDuke University Press

Published: Dec 1, 1998

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