Duke historian Peter Sigal draws fire for provocative Facebook photo

Historians in the News

A history professor at Duke University has attracted criticism from bloggers for posting a picture of engaged in BDSM activity on his Facebook profile.

The photograph of Peter Sigal, a historian of sexuality and Latin America at Duke University, was published on K.C. Johnson’s blog Durham-in-Wonderland. Dr. Sigal is shown to be choking and whipping a kneeling, bound-and-gagged young man.

Dr. Sigal co-hosted an “informal gathering” with Joelyn Olcott and Sally Deutsch on historicizing the Karen Owen affair. Ms. Owen is the Duke student who crafted a faux thesis on her sex life with a number of student-athletes.  

Johnson, the author of Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and the Shameful Justice of the Duke Lacrosse Case, wrote that the trio “articulated a thesis for the gather that combined an attempt to rationalize Owen’s decision with academic pablum.” He challenged Sigal to “offer his personal perspective – as seen in the photo…from his Facebook page – about sexually-themed exhibitionism and the internet.

The photo has since been removed from Facebook, but remains up at Durham-in-Wonderland.

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