and class politics resonated in colonial settings, how class and gender discriminations were transposed into racial distinctions and
reverberated in the metropole as they were fortified on colonial
ground. Such investigations should help show that sexual control
was both an instrumental image for the body politic, a salient part
standing for the whole, and itself fundamental to how racial policies
were secured and how colonial projects were carried out.
See, for example, Etienne and
Leacock ( 1980), Hafkin and
Bay ( 1976), Robertson and
Klein ( 1983), and Silverblatt ( 1987). For a review of some this
literature in an African context see Bozzoli ( 1983), Robertson ( 1987), and White ( 1988).
This is not to suggest that there were not some women whose sojourns in the
colonies allowed them to pursue career possibilities and independent lifestyles barred to them in metropolitan Europe at the time. However, the experience of professional women in South Asia and Africa highlights how quickly
they were shaped into 'cultural missionaries' or, in resisting that impulse, were
strongly marginalized in their work and social life (see Callaway 1987: 88-164; Ramuschack, n.d.).
In subsequent work, I focus explicitly on the contrasts and commonalities in
how European women and men represented and experienced the social, psychological, and sexual tensions of colonial life.
See Verena Martinez-Alier Marriage, Class and Colour in Nineteenth-Century
Cuba ( 1974), which subtly analyses the changing criteria by which colour was
perceived and assigned. For the Netherlands Indies, see Jean Taylor ( 1983)
exquisite study of the historical changes in the cultural markers of European
membership from the seventeenth through the early twentieth centuries. Also
see Van Marle ( 1952) detailed description of racial classification, conjugal
patterns, and sexual relations for the colonial Indies.
See Winthrop Jordan ( 1968: 32-40) on Elizabethan attitudes toward black
African sexuality and Sander Gilman's analysis of the sexual iconography of
Hottentot women in European art of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries
( 1985: 76-108). On colonial sexual imagery see Malleret ( 1934: 216-41), Tiffany and
Adams ( 1985), and the bibliographic references therein. 'The
Romance of the Wild Woman', according to Tiffany and Adams, expressed
critical distinctions drawn between civilization and the primitive, culture and
nature, and the class differences between repressed middle-class women and
'her regressively primitive antithesis, the working-class girl' ( 1985: 13).
Thus in Dutch and French colonial novels of the nineteenth century, for
example, heightened sensuality is the recognized reserve of Asian and Indo-
European mistresses, and only of those European women born in the colonies
and loosened by its moral environment ( Daum 1984; Loutfi 1971).
The relationship between sexual control, racial violence, and political power
has been most directly addressed by students of American Southern social history: see Jordan ( 1968), Lerner ( 1972), Dowd Hall ( 1984), and the analyses by
turn-of-the-century Afro-American women intellectuals discussed in Carby
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Feminism and History.
Contributors: Joan Wallach Scoff - Editor.
Publisher: Oxford University Press.
Place of publication: Oxford.
Publication year: 1996.
Page number: 252.
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