“Public Women: Prostitution in Early Modern Valletta” – Lecture by the Malta Historical Society

Date(s) - 16 May 2017

Lecture by Dr Christine Muscat

Date: Tuesday 16 May 2017

Time: 6.30pm

Place: Courtyard, 219, Republic Street, Palazzo de La Salle, Valletta

Public Women Lecture

Pursuing prostitution in early modern Valletta was a risky business. It involved taking difficult decisions, making choices and sacrifices, negotiating social opprobrium, circumventing legal restrictions, being in charge of one’s destiny and exploiting the economic environment. These entrepreneurial female aptitudes have rarely been acknowledged or acclaimed. In a society structured hierarchically by class and gender some women carved a comfortable niche for themselves and their beneficiaries through prostitution. This lecture

steers away from the dogmatic assumption that sex and commerce were always bad and the age-old image of the down-trodden prostitute. It focuses on the diversity of the lived experiences of some of Valletta’s early modern prostitutes.


Christine Muscat holds a Ph.D in history by the University of Malta. She is currently a lecturer at the Institute of Tourism Studies teaching a number of courses on Maltese History, Culture, Religion and Religious Sites, Folklore and Traditions. Her main area of interest is women’s history of early modern Valletta with special emphasis on female entrepreneurship. She is the author of Magdalene Nuns and Penitent Prostitutes (BDL, 2013).