An Intimate Look at Prostitution in Late Imperial Russia with Siobhán Hearne

September 10th, 2021 · 49 mins 23 secs

About this Episode

Dr. Siobhán Hearne joins Katya to talk about her new book, Policing Prostitution: Regulating the Lower Classes in Late Imperial Russia, a social history of prostitution in last decades of the Russian Empire. Dr. Hearne uses archival research conducted in Moscow, St Petersburg, Arkhangelsk, Riga, Vilnius, Minsk, Kyiv and Tartu to examine how prostitution and its regulation functioned in different parts of the empire. We hope you enjoy!


Dr. Siobhán Hearne is a historian of gender and sexuality in the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. She currently holds a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures at Durham University. She earned her PhD from the University of Nottingham in 2017, and has completed postdoctoral research in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania since. Dr. Hearne uses sexuality as a lens to examine the relationship between ordinary people and the the Russian Imperial/Soviet state. Her new book Policing Prostitution: Regulating the Lower Classes in Late Imperial Russia (Oxford University Press, 2021) is a social history of prostitution in the final decades of the Russian Empire and draws extensively on materials produced by lower-class people. Her current project looks at Imperial Russia’s military and explores the impact of human and medical sciences on military masculinities. She is also one of the editors of Peripheral Histories, a collaborative digital history project exploring ‘peripheral’ spaces in the Russian Empire, Soviet Union, and post-Soviet world

Dr. Hearne’s other works include: “Prosecuting procurement in the Russian Empire” (2020); “Liberation and Authoritarianism in the Early Soviet Campaign to ‘Struggle with Prostitution’ in The Fate of the Bolshevik Revolution Illiberal Liberation, 1917-41 (2020); “To denounce or defend? public participation in the policing of prostitution in late Imperial Russia” (2018); “Sex on the Front : prostitution and venereal disease in Russia’s First World War” (2017); “The 'black spot' on the Crimea : venereal diseases in the Black Sea fleet in the 1920s” (2017)

Some English-language works on prostitution in the Russian Empire: Andrew A. Gentes on Sakhalin; Keely Stauter-Halsted on Poland; Yulia Uryadova on the Ferghana Valley; Dan Healey on same-sex male prostitution; Philippa Hetherington on the ‘traffic in women’

Producer's Note: This episode was recorded on August 10th, 2021 via Zoom.

Producer: Kathryn Yegorov-Crate
Associate Producer: Lera Toropin
Associate Producer: Cullan Bendig
Assistant Producer: Zach Johnson
Executive Assistant: Katherine Birch
Editing and Sound Design: Michelle Daniel, Charlie Harper

Music Producer: Charlie Harper (Connect: Instagram: @charlieharpermusic) (Main Theme by Charlie Harper and additional background music by Charlie Harper, Michelle Daniel Trio, Blue Dot Sessions, )

Executive Producer & Creator: Michelle Daniel (Connect: Instagram: @michelledaniel86)

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