The Age of Light, Soap, and Water: Moral Reform in English Canada, 1885-1925

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University of Toronto Press, 2008 - History - 205 pages
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BACK IN PRINT WITH A NEW INTRODUCTION

The turn of the last century saw a greatwave of moral fervour among Protestant social reformers in English Canada.Their targets for moral reform were various: sex hygiene, immigration policy,slum clearance, prostitution, and "whiteslavery."

Mariana Valverde's groundbreaking TheAge of Light, Soap, and Water examines the work and the ideas of moralistclergy, social workers, politicians, and bureaucrats who sought to maintain - orcreate - a white Protestant Canada. The morality idealized by evangelical,feminist, and medical activists was not, as is often assumed, completely repressiveand puritanical. On the contrary, the self-defined social purity movement atthe centre of this book talked endlessly about sex in order to create a healthsexuality among both native-born and immigrant Canadians. Sexual health was linkedto racial purity, and both of these were in turn linked to efforts to abolishurban slums by means of symbolic as well as physical "light, soap, andwater." Back in print with a new introduction by the author, this classicwork offers fascinating insights on the social history of Canada.

"learance, prostitution, and "white slavery."

Mariana Valverde's groundbreaking The Age of Light, Soap, and Waterexamines the work and the ideas of moralist clergy, social workers, politicians, and bureaucrats who sought to maintain - or create - a white Protestant Canada. The morality idealized by evangelical, feminist, and medical activists was not, as is often assumed, completely repressive and puritanical. On the contrary, the self-defined social purity movement at the centre of this book talked endlessly about sex in order to create a healthy sexuality among both native-born and immigrant Canadians. Sexual health was linked to racial purity, and both of these were in turn linked to efforts to abolish urban slums by means of symbolic as well as physical "light, soap, and water."

This study uncovers a little known dimension of Canadian social history and shows that moral reform was not the project of a marginal puritanical group but was central to the race, class, and gender organization of modern English Canada.

  

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Review: The Age of Light, Soap, and Water: Moral Reform in English Canada, 1885-1925

User Review  - Sharon - Goodreads

very interesting Read full review

Review: The Age of Light, Soap, and Water: Moral Reform in English Canada, 1885-1925

User Review  - BorisskaCat - Goodreads

Exellent book! I highly recommend it to anyone interested in getting a historical outlook on moral regulation of prostitution, poverty, and immigration. Sadly, but many raced and classed notions ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction to the 2008 Edition
3
Introduction
15
The Work of Allegories
34
Moral and Social Reform
44
The White Slavery Panic
77
Racial Purity Sexual Purity and Immigration
104
The City as Moral Problem
129
Philanthropy the State and Moral Regulation
155
Copyright

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About the author (2008)

Mariana Valverde is a professor in the Department of Criminology at the University of Toronto.

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