A Conversation with Writer and Historian Lisa Sigel

Presented in conversation with SNMA Executive Director Hunter O’Hanian, Lisa Sigel discusses her book, The People’s Porn: A History of Handmade Pornography in America.

About The People’s Porn
The first history of American handmade and homemade pornography, The People’s Porn offers the backstory to the explosion of amateur pornography on the web. In doing so, it provides a much-needed counterweight to ahistorical and ideological arguments that dominate most discussions of pornography.
Critics tend to focus on mass-produced materials and make claims about pornography as plasticized or commodified. In contrast, eminent historian Lisa Z. Sigel looks at what people made, rather than what they bought, revealing how people thought about sexuality for themselves. She also explores periods when these sexual artifacts were pilloried, ransacked, and destroyed, providing a unique document of rare nineteenth- and twentieth-century objects. Whalers and craftsmen, prisoners and activists, African Americans and feminists—all made their own pornography. Ranging across the full sweep of this output, The People’s Porn challenges preconceptions as it tells a new and fascinating story about American sexual history.

About Lisa Sigel
Lisa Z. Sigel is a professor of history at DePaul University, Chicago. She researches on the history of sexuality, pornography, and censorship. Her new book, The People’s Porn: A History of Handmade and Homemade Pornography in America was published by Reaktion Press in association with the University of Chicago Press. Her three previous books, Governing Pleasures, International Exposure, and Making Modern Love, are available through Amazon.

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