From steamships to steam rooms and sweat lodges to sweatshops, processes of pleasures and desire have shaped the regulation and classification of bodies in a wide variety of colonial settings. On beaches and online, and in boardrooms, temples, and taverns, sexual practices have always influenced imperial power relations. In the many places and relationships where colonialism still affects economics, sex and sexuality remain a driving—if sometimes hidden—force. The contributors to this provocative issue contemplate empire as a global process involving sexualized subjects and objects, with essays that consider the history of sex and (or in) empire across several disciplines. Their topics include a "bewitched" nun in colonial Peru, contemporary call-center workers in the Philippines, and General Douglas MacArthur’s mixed-race Filipina mistress, among many others.
Ben Cowan is assistant professor of world history at George Mason University. Nicole M. Guidotti-Hernández is associate professor of American studies at the University of Texas at Austin and the author of Unspeakable Violence: Remapping U.S. and Mexican National Imaginaries, also published by Duke University Press. Jason Ruiz is assistant professor of American studies at the University of Notre Dame and the author of Americans in the Treasure House: Travel to Porfirian Mexico and the Cultural Politics of Empire.
Contributors: Laura Briggs, Keith Camacho, Ben Cowan, Emmanuel David, Vernadette Vicuña Gonzalez, Nicole M. Guidotti-Hernández, Elizabeth Mesok, Rachel Sarah O’Toole, Katrina Phillips, Jason Ruiz