Licentious Worlds: Sex and Exploitation in Global Empires
Julie Peakman


Hardback | Nov 2019 | REAKTION BOOKS | 9781789141405 | 368pp | 234x156mm | GEN | AUD$59.99, NZD$69.99

Licentious Worlds is a history of sexual attitudes and behaviour through five hundred years of empire-building around the world. In a graphic and sometimes unsettling account, Julie Peakman examines colonisation and the imperial experience putting women back in the picture, showing their role in the building of empires, but also how marginalised men and women were almost invariably exploited.

 Women acted as negotiators, brothel-keepers, traders and peacekeepers, but they were also oppressed, forced into marriages and raped. The book describes daily life in Turkish harems, Mughal zenanas and Japanese geisha houses, as well as in royal palaces, private households and on board ships. The stories are drawn from many sources – from captains’ logs, missionary reports and cannibals’ memoirs to travellers’ letters, traders’ accounts and reports on prostitution. From debauched clerics and hog-sodomising Pilgrims to sexually fluid cannibals and homosexual samurai, Licentious Worlds takes history where it has never been before.