Archive for November, 2015

Five Women in Whitechapel

November 21, 2015

The Honest Courtesan

I am down on whores and I shant quit ripping them till I do get buckled. –  From a letter to the Central News Agency of London,  postmarked September 27th, 1888 and signed “Yours truly, Jack the Ripper”

There has been enough written about the notorious serial killer known as “Jack the Ripper” to fill a small library, but as one might expect 99.99% of it dwells lovingly on the gruesome details of the murders or speculates (either methodically or wildly) on the identity of the killer; few of these (invariably male) “Ripperologists” seem remotely concerned with the women who were so brutally butchered.  Since October is a month for all things dark and creepy, and since this week marks the 122nd anniversary of the height of the Ripper hysteria in London, I have decided to give short (because so little is known of them) biographies of…

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Magic is the Revolution

November 19, 2015


In attempting to draw out the much needed political message and insights of a pagan theology and metaphysics (here, here, and here) in previous posts I have come to concern myself more fully with a certain difficulty most theology in general, including pagan theology, faces in its application to politics. Put simply, most theology has come to us shining through the lens of monarchical times. We find in it, whether it be monotheistic or otherwise, kings and queens, servants and masters, and generally all the trappings of hidebound hierarchies. I have often argued, primarily in debates with friends or students, that monotheism has unavoidable tendencies that conflict with egalitarian or liberty loving societies. As far back as Plato’s Republic it has been argued that a just society must mirror the structures of cosmic order. If the universe is ruled by one mighty king, lord, etc. why should…

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The Historical Significance of November 13th in Islam

November 15, 2015

Terror Trends Bulletin


On November 13, 1918 the Allied troops occupied Constantinople, the capital of the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman Empire was the Caliphate, the Islamic State of its day.

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Working It: An Interdisciplinary Conference on Sex, Work and Performance

November 10, 2015

Working It: An Interdisciplinary Conference on Sex, Work and Performance

This interdisciplinary conference explores the connections and relationships between these three terms. How do we perform sex, perform at work, work at sex, and work at performing sex?

Drawing on theories of social reproduction and aspects of queer thought, we want to reflect on the terms sex, work and performance together in order to demystify a certain romanticism that often underpins their evocation.

Conference Schedule

Location: Film and Drama Studio, Arts Two, Mile End Campus, Queen Mary, Mile End Rd, London E1 4NS

Thursday 12 November

6.30pm                       Keynote Film Screening and Discussion

Keynote Speaker: Professor Nicola Mai

Chair: Dr Ros Murray

7.45pm                       Wine reception

Friday 13 November

10am                          Sites and Connections of Resistance

– Dr P. Solomon Lennox and Dr Fiona Pettit, Performing Connection: A performative ethnographic approach to understanding the lives of online sex workers

– Nat Raha, Queer Social Reproduction and the work of Street Transvestite Action…

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INTERVIEW: Re-Considering the Source (Gordon Kennedy Talks More About Eden Ahbez and the California Nature Boys)

November 10, 2015


The last time I spoke to author Gordon Kennedy, his book Children of the Sun was out of print.

To date, it remains the authoritative text on the California Nature Boys and the transference of alternative culture from Germany to the deserts and shores of California during the early 20th century.

Recently, Kennedy’s book was reissued. It is available here. I sat down with the author/researcher to continue what has so far been one of the most popular interviews at the Eden’s Island Blog.

Brian Chidester, 06/24/2015


The Health Hut, an organic emporium owned by California Nature Boy Gypsys Boots, became the new hang out in L.A. in the late 1950s for alternative types. Eden Ahbez shows his appreciation here, playing for organic fruits in between royalty checks from ASCAP. The Health Hut, an organic emporium owned by California Nature Boy Gypsy Boots, became the new hang out in L.A. in the late 1950s for alternative types. Eden Ahbez shows his appreciation here, playing for organic fruits in between royalty checks from ASCAP.

Brian Chidester: The last interview we did was in 2010. Update me on where your research has gone…

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Do John Schools Really Decrease Recidivism?

November 7, 2015

Sex Work Research

Rachel Lovell and Ann Jordan, “Do John Schools Really Decrease Recidivism? A methodological critique of an evaluation of the San Francisco First Offender Prostitution Program”. Published online, July 2012

A growing number of governments are creating “john schools” in the belief that providing men with information about prostitution will stop them from buying sex, which will in turn stop prostitution and trafficking. John schools typically offer men arrested for soliciting paid sex the opportunity (for a fee) to attend lectures by health experts, law enforcement and former sex workers in exchange for cleared arrest records if they are not re-arrested within a certain period of time. A 2008 examination of the San Francisco john school, “Final Report on the Evaluation of the First Offender Prostitution Program,” claims to be the first study to prove that attending a john school leads to a lower rate of recidivism or re-arrest (Shively et…

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