This project examines the international legal regime prohibiting the production and international distribution of pornography, from its emergence with a set of international conventions at the outset of the twentieth century through its unraveling in the 1960s and 1970s to various attempts in recent decades to revive it. The project focuses on a range of actors involved in the making and unmaking of this prohibition regime: women’s rights and Christian activists campaigning against obscenity, legal experts and international bureaucrats in the League of Nations and United Nations charged with building a workable legal regime, and the publishers and distributors who sought variously to comply with and evade restrictions.
My dissertation examines the development and internationalization of criminal police forces, charged with investigating crimes such as murder, theft, and fraud, in Europe from the late 19th to the mid-20th centuries. The detectives of these forces developed a professional identity based around common aspirations and practices reaching across European borders. While working at the IWM, I will be researching the International Criminal Police Commission (now known as Interpol), an organization founded in Vienna in 1923 to coordinate the activities of various national forces.