Dr Catherine Phipps

DPhil, MSt, BA

  • BS8 1TB

Personal profile

Research interests

My research examines experiences of French imperial rule in North Africa through the body, sexuality and emotions. Colonial sexuality was regulated to maintain imperial power, racial boundaries and hierarchies. This included the French regulationist system of prostitution in Morocco, which was rigidly divided by racial categories when implemented in North Africa. This system was also tied to migration, specifically the illegal movement by French military authorities of hundreds of Moroccan women to France to work in military brothels to limit the possibility of consensual interracial sex.

At the same time, the French colonial state attempted to expell European women from Morocco for sexual relationships with Moroccan men, in addition to attempting to regulate their emotions and sexual desire by  censoring romance films that sexualised Moroccan men. My research examines historic and contemporary experiences of and attitudes towards mixed marriage and migration in Morocco. Finally, I also compared this to how imperial power allowed certain queer individuals to explore their sexuality in Morocco, in ways that often exploited young Moroccans.

My work argues that French imperialism sought to dominate the most intimate aspects of people’s lives: whom they desired and what they thought about whom they desired.


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