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Title: James Stansfeld & the debates about the repeal of the Contagious Diseases Acts in Britain and British India 1860s-1890s
Author: Ramsey, Christine July
ISNI:       0000 0004 5357 5254
Awarding Body: Birkbeck (University of London)
Current Institution: Birkbeck (University of London)
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis examines the life of James Stansfeld, (1820-1898), and in particular his contribution to the political reform of the Contagious Diseases Acts (CDAs) in England and in India. Stansfeld was a Liberal MP from a Unitarian (non-conformist) background who represented his native borough of Halifax during the Gladstone era. From the early 1870s onwards, eschewing high cabinet office, Stansfeld was a major force in the Commons parliamentary debates about the CDAs and their Indian equivalent. His political strategies included the building up and sustaining of popular support for repeal whilst simultaneously supporting repeal in the political arena. The thesis maps Stansfeld’s complex and radical arguments about women’s rights, particularly those of prostitutes, and his advocacy of, and practical support for, repeal of the CDAs both in England and India. It presents new archival research on Stansfeld and other materials relating to the Contagious Diseases Acts and their rescindment. The archival materials are read alongside nineteenth-century published sources including memoirs, political writings and newspaper articles, and analysed in dialogue with scholarship on nineteenth-century sexual debates in England and India. By focusing on James Stansfeld’s advocacy of the repeal effort in England, and his role in the subsequent shift of the debate to British India, then, the thesis adds new research on the complex issues at stake in debates about the repeal of the CDAs and Indian CDAs, and it considers what these debates tell us about the role of female sexuality in nineteenth-century political debates in England and the Indian empire.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available