My thesis focuses on debates about prostitution in colonial south Nigeria, particularly in Lagos and a series of towns and villages that provided in-migration to the city. It asks what they can tell us about conflicts over gender and gender relations in this period. My research suggests that 'prostitution' was used a by-word for a set of concerns about the ways in which relationships between men and women were changing in this period. One recurring theme is that 'prostitution' was deployed as a counterfoil to both colonial and local conceptions of marriage. Overall, the project aims to provide an insight into local and colonial ideas around gender, at a time that was characterized by vast political and socio-economic changes.