The hypocrisies of Victorian imperialism is the theme of the next presentation in the Jackson Distinguished Lecture Series at West Virginia University Monday, March 10.
Philippa Levine, a professor of history at the University of Southern California, will presentNaked Colonialism: Nudity and the Imperial Imagination,from 12:30-1:30 p.m. in 130 Colson Hall on WVU s Downtown Campus.
The free, public lecture is sponsored by the English and history departments in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences.
Levine will focus on how nudity was a troubling issue for the Victorians.
Proper clothing was a must for polite society, but despite the elaborate draping we tend to associate with this era, the reality is a lot more complex,Levine said.In fact, the Victorians were fascinated by nudity, and their colonial possessions allowed them to explore that fascination without letting go of their propriety.
Levine will discuss how Victorians viewed depictions of colonial nudity as signs of European and British superiority.
Levine is the author of nine books, includingThe British Empire: Sunrise to Sunset,andBeyond Sovereignty: Britain, Empire and Transnationalism, 1860-1950.Her most recent publications examine race and sexuality in the British Empire, with a particular focus on sexually transmitted diseases and prostitution.
Levine has also published extensively on Victorian feminism and the development of professional history in 19th century Britain. She is now at work on a study of evolution, eugenics and colonialism, as well as a book on the debates around evolutionary theory from the late 18th to the early 21st centuries.