Historiography Lisa Sigel Summary

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Lisa Sigel’s, urge towards more historiography within the realm of pornography appears to be a vital response to the contestations concerning a comprehensive understanding of such a chaotic topic. To begin with, Sigel explores the discord revolving periodisation and delineation. She particularly looks at debates around the period the genre was formed as well as the challenges to formulate a single universal definition of pornography (pp. 223-224). Subsequently, her article veers towards research that has been conducted by other disciplines in the field, but it does so in correlation to what work historians should initiate in clearing the gaps that are left behind. Here, Sigel talks of the issues power and censorship has imbued on the research of pornography but she, moreover, examines how this could be corrected. She exemplifies the analyses of literary and art scholars, including Bradford Mudge, Sarah Leonard and Alyce Mahon, as a way forward for historians (pp. 227-231). Sigel goes on to argue that the result of historian work would help align pornography to specific socio-political contexts. She goes on to explore some of these contexts and insists that by continuing this contextualisation process a better understanding of pornography will be obtained (pp.231-233).
Sigel’s vast shifts from context to context appears to be somewhat unstructured but this notion in her writing is strategic. This is because it echoes the way pornography, as a topic, “refuses to follow

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