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Carnal Knowledge and Imperial Power: Race and the Intimate in Colonial Rule

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Why, Ann Laura Stoler asks, was the management of sexual arrangements and affective attachments so critical to the making of colonial categories and to what distinguished ruler from ruled? Contending that social classification is not a benign cultural act but a potent political one, Stoler shows that matters of the intimate were absolutely central to imperial politics. It was, after all, in the intimate sphere of home and servants that European children learned what they were required to learn of place and race. ...
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Overview

Why, Ann Laura Stoler asks, was the management of sexual arrangements and affective attachments so critical to the making of colonial categories and to what distinguished ruler from ruled? Contending that social classification is not a benign cultural act but a potent political one, Stoler shows that matters of the intimate were absolutely central to imperial politics. It was, after all, in the intimate sphere of home and servants that European children learned what they were required to learn of place and race. Gender-specific sexual sanctions, too, were squarely at the heart of imperial rule, and European supremacy was asserted in terms of national and racial virility.

Stoler looks discerningly at the way cultural competencies and sensibilities entered into the construction of race in the colonial context and proposes that "cultural racism" in fact predates its postmodern discovery. Her acute analysis of colonial Indonesian society in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries yields insights that translate to a global, comparative perspective.

Author Biography: Ann Laura Stoler, Professor of Anthropology and History at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, is the author of Race and the Education of Desire (1995) and coeditor of Tensions of Empire (California, 1997).

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Editorial Reviews

Nancy F. Cott
To my knowledge, there simply is no one else writing on questions of colonialism, gender, race, and intimacy who brings this depth and reach of historical and anthropological illumination to bear.
Doris Sommer
This new book brings our collective agenda forward with a degree of maturity and flexibility that makes narrow academic preferences both unnecessary and misleading.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520231108
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 9/30/2002
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 341
  • Product dimensions: 6.25 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Ann Laura Stoler, Professor of Anthropology and History at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, is the author of Race and the Education of Desire (1995) and coeditor of Tensions of Empire (California, 1997).

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Note on Illustrations
1 Genealogies of the Intimate: Movements in Colonial Studies 1
2 Rethinking Colonial Categories: European Communities and the Boundaries of Rule 22
3 Carnal Knowledge and Imperial Power: Gender and Morality in the Making of Race 41
4 Sexual Affronts and Racial Frontiers: Cultural Competence and the Dangers of Metissage 79
5 A Sentimental Education: Children on the Imperial Divide 112
6 A Colonial Reading of Foucault: Bourgeois Bodies and Racial Selves 140
7 Memory-Work in Java: A Cautionary Tale 162
Epilogue: Caveats on Comfort Zones and Comparative Frames 205
Notes 219
Bibliography 285
Index 319
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  • Posted January 17, 2010

    Another wrong "un

    A "career" anthropologist -in other words; an individual who's more concerned with university politics than the validity of his or her works- Stolers career centers upon the so called "discovery" that the revolutionary tales anthropologists might wish to tell of colonial "exploitation"- don't actually match the tales of the societal elders that actually experienced the colonial era. Such = An anthropological insight? Or the tale any Brit, Frenchman, Dutchman, or Spaniard might experience from some old fart within hours of visiting ex colony ... "things were so much better in yr day... " etc. etc. Such at least has been my experience. ************************

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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