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Margaret Ross (PhD Candidate) publishes article in the Journal of the History of Sexuality

Maggie Ross (PhD Candidate) has published '"Your Town is Rotten": Prostitution, Profit, and the Governing of Vice in Kingston, Ontario, 1860s-1920s" in the Journal of the History of Sexuality 32, no. 2 (May 2023). 

This article examines the link between moral uplift and civic governance, showing how the city of Kingston profited both economically and politically through programs against prostitution, vice, and sexual pleasure. Using Michel Foucault’s writings on prostitution, she tracks a historical shift in sex work regulation from nineteenth-century law and punishment to a disciplinary-administrative regime in the early twentieth century. Her work documents how actors as varied as politicians, reformers, and landlords came to exploit the profits of sex work to serve personal and civic ends. Maggie’s paper also centres the lived experiences and resilience of Kingston women, demonstrating that their labour sustained a vibrant underground sex economy. 

Maggie Ross is a PhD candidate in the Department of History at Queen's University. Her research interests include the history of gender and sexuality in Canada and legal regulation over women’s bodies. 

Maggie's dissertation, co-supervised by Dr. Karen Dubinsky and Dr. Steven Maynard, examines the history of sex work in late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century Ontario. It explores how women navigated sexual labour across the province and how regional communities developed distinctive methods of regulating and profiting from the existence of local sex trades. 


Department of History, Queen's University

49 Bader Lane, Watson Hall 212
Kingston ON K7L 3N6




Queen's University is situated on traditional Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe territory.