April R. Haynes
is an assistant professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In Riotous Flesh: Women, Physiology, and the Solitary Vice in Nineteenth- Century America
(University of Chicago Press, 2015) Haynes shows how the campaign against masturbation redefined women's sexuality and reformulated the battle for political rights. Beginning with Sylvester Graham's "Lecture to Mothers" to reform-minded women to the black abolitionists Sarah Mapps Douglas's sex education lectures to African American women, masturbation became a topic with both gender and racial import. After a long history of neglect, it became tied to issues of purity, virtue and self-government. Through women reformers the proscriptions against masturbation were popularized and institutionalized. Haynes sheds light on the continued attention given to masturbation in American culture and the women's movement, demonstrating its political significance.
Lilian Calles Barger, www.lilianbarger.com, is a cultural, intellectual and gender historian. Her current book project is entitled
The World Come of Age: Religion, Intellectuals and the Challenge of Human Liberation.