Suspect Relations: Sex, Race, and Resistance in Colonial North Carolina

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Cornell University Press, 2002 - History - 265 pages
2 Reviews
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 Kirsten Fischer has mined unpublished court records and travel literature from colonial North Carolina to reveal how early notions of racial difference were shaped by illicit sexual relationships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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Review: Suspect Relations: Sex, Race, and Resistance in Colonial North Carolina

User Review  - Sue - Goodreads

Like Brown's Good Wives, Nasty Wenches, this book looks at the construction of race as a category in colonial America (focus on North Carolina). However, this is a more concise book and would work better in the classroom. Read full review

Contents

Disorderly Women and the Struggle for Authority
13
CrossCultural Sex in Native North Carolina
55
The Sexual Regulation of Servant Women and Subcultures of Resistance
98
White Reputations Blackend Made Loose
131
Sexualized Violence and the Embodiment of Race
159
Dangerous Liaisons
191
Notes
195
Index
253
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Page 2 - I am apt to suspect the negroes and in general all the other species of men (for there are four or five different kinds) to be naturally inferior to the whites.

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About the author (2002)

Fischer is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Minnesota.

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