Lisa Z. Sigel, "The People's Porn: A History of Handmade Pornography in America" (Reaktion Books, 2020)

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The People's Porn: A History of Handmade Pornography in America (Reaktion Books, 2020) is a beautifully written and groundbreaking historical study of homemade, handmade and amateur pornographic artifacts. Covering everything from erotic scrimshaw to amateur videos on the web, Lisa Sigel offers a fascinating account of what ordinary people thought about sexuality and desire. This hidden chapter of American sexual history is not only a much-needed counterbalance to ahistorical arguments which dominate pornography today, it’s also a reminder of humanity’s prodigious tendency to create and communicate sexual desires. At times, the images and objects presented in this book might appear shocking, crude, grotesque, problematic, confrontational, unrestrained, unruly; but in the end they are deeply human.

Zachary Lowell holds an MA in global studies from Humboldts Universtität zu Berlin.

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