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The devil's chain : prostitution and social control in partitioned Poland / Keely Stauter-Halsted.

  • Stauter-Halsted, Keely, 1960-
  • Books

About this work


"In the half-century before Poland's long-awaited political independence in 1918, anxiety surrounding the country's burgeoning sex industry fueled nearly constant public debate. The Devil's Chain is the first book to examine the world of commercial sex throughout the partitioned Polish territories, uncovering a previously hidden conversation about sexuality, gender propriety, and social class. Keely Stauter-Halsted situates the preoccupation with prostitution in the context of Poland's struggle for political independence and its difficult transition to modernity. She traces the Poles' growing anxiety about white slavery, venereal disease, and eugenics by examining the regulation of the female body, the rise of medical authority, and the role of social reformers in addressing the problem of paid sex"--


Ithaca : Cornell University Press, 2015.

Physical description

x, 379 pages : black and white illustrations ; 25 cm

Bibliographic information

Includes bibliographical references (pages 347-369) and index.


Introduction : reforming the national body -- Out of the shadows -- On the abyss : the turn to paid sex -- Sex in the bourgeois family -- Narratives of entrapment -- Trafficking and human migration -- The devil's chain -- Female activism and the shadow state -- The physician and the fallen woman -- Purity and danger : prostitution reform and the birth of Polish eugenics -- Sex in the new republic -- Conclusion : prostitution and the shaping of the national community.



  • English

Where to find it

  • LocationStatus
    History of Medicine
    Open shelves

Permanent link



  • 9780801454196
  • 0801454190