MIT Press Podcast

“I did It for The Uplift of Humanity and The Navy”: Same-Sex Acts and The Origins of The National Security State, 1919–1921

September 18, 2018

Sherry Zane, Associate Director of the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at the University of Connecticut, discusses her recent article, “’I did It for The Uplift of Humanity and The Navy’: Same-Sex Acts and The Origins of The National Security State, 1919–1921”, published in the June 2018 issue of The New England Quarterly.

Abstract:

This essay explores U.S. national security interests on the World War I home-front from 1917-1921 in Newport, Rhode Island when Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt's covert operatives attempted to restrict same-sex acts through methods of entrapment. It argues that World War I provided government officials new opportunities to expand security concerns as it policed and punished gender and sexual non-conformity well before the Cold War.