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Long, Alecia P. 1966–

Long, Alecia P. 1966–

PERSONAL:

Born 1966. Education: University of Tennessee, B.A., 1988; Ohio University, M.A., 1991; University of Delaware, Ph.D., 2001.

ADDRESSES:

Office—Department of History, Louisiana State University, 223B Himes Hall, Baton Rouge, LA 70803. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer, educator. Louisiana State Museum, New Orleans, historian and writer, six years; Georgia State University, Atlanta, former assistant professor of history; Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, assistant professor of history, 2007—.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Wilbur Owen Sypherd Prize, University of Delaware, 2001, for outstanding doctoral dissertation in the humanities; Julia Cherry Spruill Publication Prize, Southern Association of Women Historians, 2005, for The Great Southern Babylon: Sex, Race, and Respectability in New Orleans, 1865-1920.

WRITINGS:

The Great Southern Babylon: Sex, Race, and Respectability in New Orleans, 1865-1920, Louisiana State University Press (Baton Rouge, LA), 2004.

Contributor to Southern Journeys: Tourism, History and Culture in the Modern South. Contributor to Journal of American History.

SIDELIGHTS:

Alecia P. Long is an assistant professor of history at Louisiana State University where she teaches courses in Louisiana history and the history of sex in the United States. She has also taught at Georgia State University and was formerly a writer and historian with the Louisiana State Museum, where she curated exhibits on Louisiana history.

Long writes about Louisiana history in her 2004 book The Great Southern Babylon: Sex, Race, and Respectability in New Orleans, 1865-1920. In this study, she presents a history of prostitution in New Orleans that examines not only the city's tolerance of sexual behavior but also its intolerance of racial mixing. She particularly looks at Storyville, a section of New Orleans officially set aside as a vice district. Each chapter of Long's book is built around a court case involving such aspects of the city's sexual subculture as brothels, dance halls, and cabarets. "Relying on cases involving male and female entrepreneurs who trafficked in sexuality," wrote Melinda Chateauver in the Journal of African American History, "Long reads into these documents, and particularly into their ellipses, the patterns of interaction that governed sexual relations between women and men in a city where ‘black’ and ‘white’ were under constant reconstruction." "Long's book," wrote the critic for the American Historical Review, "concerns itself less with sex and sexual practices per se than it does with exploring the complex interaction and tensions among the sexual culture, evolving notions of race and race relations, and emerging conceptions of middle-class respectability in this notoriously decadent city between the Civil War and 1920." "In her book, whose clear, workmanlike prose should appeal both to the general reader and the scholar," Allan Turner wrote in the Houston Chronicle, "Long examines a series of legal cases arising from the city's libidinous irregularities…. Long escapes the scholar's temptation to be dryly academic, enlivening her book with unexpected and entertaining love stories."

Lisa Lindquist Dorr in the Journal of Social History called The Great Southern Babylon "an enjoyable and lively book…. Long has presented a compelling picture of shifting ideas about race, gender, respectability, and sexuality in that Great Southern Babylon." "Although Long does an excellent job of putting the creation of Storyville in historical context, her most provocative insights come in her discussion of how the vice district functioned," wrote Gaines M. Foster in the Journal of the History of Sexuality. Foster concluded that the book "makes an important contribution to the history of the South and sexuality." "This fine book fills a very important gap that overlaps and intertwines with a range of fields, providing a social and cultural history of prostitution in New Orleans from the conclusion of the Civil War to the end of the Progressive Era," Kevin White in the Historian wrote of The Great Southern Babylon. He concluded that the book was "a compelling and original contribution to the histories of sexuality, of women, of race relations, and of the American South." Anne Valk, writing in H-Net Reviews, argued that "Long's fascinating history of New Orleans in the decades following the Civil War provides important evidence to understand the city's complexity and its place in the nation's imagination…. An important resource for historians interested in urban development, race and sex relations, and the history of this all too American city."

In her preface to the book, Long comments: "I began this book with two objectives: first, to understand the history of Storyville, and second, to explain how it came into existence in the first place. I also wanted to learn about the lives of the women who lived and worked in the district…. In this work, I hope simply to revise the discussion and deepen the dialogue about sex, race, and respectability in one of the American South's most important but least understood locales."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

American Historical Review, April, 2005, review of The Great Southern Babylon: Sex, Race, and Respectability in New Orleans, 1865-1920.

Historian, winter, 2005, Kevin White, review of The Great Southern Babylon, p. 759.

Houston Chronicle (Houston, TX), June 27, 2004, Allan Turner, review of The Great Southern Babylon, p. 17.

Journal of African American History, fall, 2005, Melinda Chateauver, review of The Great Southern Babylon, p. 432.

Journal of Social History, summer, 2005, Lisa Lindquist Dorr, review of The Great Southern Babylon, p. 1118.

Journal of the History of Sexuality, January-April, 2005, Gaines M. Foster, review of The Great Southern Babylon, p. 219.

ONLINE

H-Net Reviews,http://www.h-net.org/ (June, 2006), Anne Valk, review of The Great Southern Babylon.

Louisiana State University, Department of History, Web site,http://www.artsci.lsu.edu/hist/ (May 28, 2008), biography of Long.

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