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Over the course of the eighteenth century, race came to seem as corporeal as sex. Kirsten Fischer has mined unpublished court records and travel literature from colonial North Carolina to reveal how early notions of racial difference were shaped by illicit sexual relationships and the sanctions imposed on those who conducted them. Fischer shows how the personal―and yet often very public―sexual lives of Native American, African American, and European American women and men contributed to the new racial order in this developing slave society. Liaisons between European men and native women, among white and black servants, and between servants and masters, as well as sexual slander among whites and acts of sexualized violence against slaves, were debated, denied, and recorded in the courtrooms of colonial North Carolina. Indentured servants, slaves, Cherokee and Catawba women, and other members of less privileged groups sometimes resisted colonial norms, making sexual choices that irritated neighbors, juries, and magistrates and resulted in legal penalties and other acts of retribution. The sexual practices of ordinary people vividly bring to light the little-known but significant ways in which notions of racial difference were alternately contested and affirmed before the American Revolution.Fischer makes an innovative contribution to the history of race, class, and gender in early America by uncovering a detailed record of illicit sexual exchanges in colonial North Carolina and showing how acts of resistance to sexual rules complicated ideas about inherent racial difference.
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"Suspect Relations is an important contribution to the contemporary discussion of the origins of race as a category, an assumed 'physical fact,' in the American colonies." Karen Ordahl KuppermanAbout the Author:
Kirsten Fischer is Associate Professor of History at the University of Minnesota. She is pleased that Suspect Relations is being used to great effect in graduate and undergraduate classrooms. She is currently at work on a book about religion in the early American Republic.
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Book Description Cornell University Press, 2001. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0801438225