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dc.contributor.advisorBurke, Diane Mutti
dc.contributor.authorTrafton, Elizabeth Rose
dc.date.issued2022
dc.date.submitted2022 Summer
dc.descriptionTitle from PDF of title page, viewed August 24, 2022
dc.descriptionThesis advisor: Diane Mutti Burke
dc.descriptionVita
dc.descriptionIncludes bibliographical references (pages 46-49)
dc.descriptionThesis (M.A.)--Department of History. University of Missouri--Kansas City, 2022
dc.description.abstractIn the early twentieth century, when American authors of so-called “white slavery” literature wrote about their fear of white middle-class young women being sexually enslaved and trafficked, they also revealed their fears around the wider changes sweeping through American society. During the Progressive Era, a new moral panic was engulfing the United States. The movement against what reformers described as “white slavery” was one prominent response to Americans’ fears. In the 1980s, historians debated the myth verses reality of so-called “white slavery.” Later, historian Mara L. Keire reinterpreted the movement against the purported trafficking of white women when she viewed the fiction reformers wrote in response to the problem with the same credibility as vice commissions. This project compares literature by these authors in terms of purity-based rhetoric against modernity. This project will examine four works of what scholars have described as “white slavery” literature written between 1909 and 1912. These white, male middle-class authors exhibited a deep uneasiness for modernity and, as a result, the developments they saw as connected to it: increased urbanization, changing cultural norms, and changes in women’s societal roles. They feared the erosion of the traditional American way of life as people lost sight of “appropriate” morals going into a new American era. They defined “white slavery” as a modern urban problem that was hidden behind an enticing urban glamour. In contrast, these authors portrayed rural life, and the people that lived there, as the antithesis to urban life, and thus modernity, in order to invoke connotations for their audiences of a simpler, more positive imagined past.
dc.description.tableofcontentsIntroduction -- Imagined womanhood -- Urban nightmares -- Pastural dreams -- Conclusion
dc.format.extentvii, 50 pages
dc.identifier.urihttps://hdl.handle.net/10355/91332
dc.subject.lcshHuman trafficking -- United States -- History -- 20th century
dc.subject.lcshSex role -- United States -- History
dc.subject.otherThesis -- University of Missouri--Kansas City -- History
dc.titleModern Woes: Early Twentieth-Century American Reformers’ Critique of the “New Woman” and Modern Urban Life in Anti-Sex Trafficking Fiction
thesis.degree.disciplineHistory (UMKC)
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Missouri--Kansas City
thesis.degree.levelMasters
thesis.degree.nameM.A. (Master of Arts)


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