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Michel Foucault's History of Sexuality has been one of the most influential books of the last two decades. It has had an enormous impact on cultural studies and work across many disciplines on gender, sexuality, and the body. Bringing a new set of questions to this key work, Ann Laura Stoler examines volume one of History of Sexuality in an unexplored light. She asks why there has been such a muted engagement with this work among students of colonialism for whom issues of sexuality and power are so essential. Why is the colonial context absent from Foucault's history of a European sexual discourse that for him defined the bourgeois self? InRace and the Education of Desire, Stoler challenges Foucault's tunnel vision of the West and his marginalization of empire. She also argues that this first volume ofHistory of Sexuality contains a suggestive if not studied treatment of race. Drawing on Foucault's little-known 1976 College de France lectures, Stoler addresses his treatment of the relationship between biopower, bourgeois sexuality, and what he identified as “racisms of the state.” In this critical and historically grounded analysis based on cultural theory and her own extensive research in Dutch and French colonial archives, Stoler suggests how Foucault's insights have in the past constrained—and in the future may help shape—the ways we trace the genealogies of race. Race and the Education of Desire will revise current notions of the connections between European and colonial historiography and between the European bourgeois order and the colonial treatment of sexuality. Arguing that a history of European nineteenth-century sexuality must also be a history of race, it will change the way we think about Foucault.
Michel Foucault's History of Sexuality has been one of the most influential books of the last two decades. It has had an enormous impact on cultural studies and work across many disciplines on gender, sexuality, and the body. Bringing a new set of questions to this key work, Ann Laura Stoler examines volume one of History of Sexuality in an unexplored light. She asks why there has been such a muted engagement with this work among students of colonialism for whom issues of sexuality and power are so essential. Why is the colonial context absent from Foucault's history of a European sexual discourse that for him defined the bourgeois self? InRace and the Education of Desire, Stoler challenges Foucault's tunnel vision of the West and his marginalization of empire. She also argues that this first volume ofHistory of Sexuality contains a suggestive if not studied treatment of race. Drawing on Foucault's little-known 1976 College de France lectures, Stoler addresses his treatment of the relationship between biopower, bourgeois sexuality, and what he identified as “racisms of the state.” In this critical and historically grounded analysis based on cultural theory and her own extensive research in Dutch and French colonial archives, Stoler suggests how Foucault's insights have in the past constrained—and in the future may help shape—the ways we trace the genealogies of race. Race and the Education of Desire will revise current notions of the connections between European and colonial historiography and between the European bourgeois order and the colonial treatment of sexuality. Arguing that a history of European nineteenth-century sexuality must also be a history of race, it will change the way we think about Foucault.
Praise for the first edition of Carnal Knowledge and Imperial Power: “Comprehensive, erudite, and compelling.”—Journal of Modern History “Stoler presents a groundbreaking work that emanates from her empirical investigations of the European colonial experiences in Asia of the 19th and early 20th centuries. At the same time, she engages with cutting-edge discussions advanced by postcolonial theorists in recent years. By introducing the issues of race, sexuality, and intimacy into the study of colonialism, or the interactions of Europeans with the indigenous populations in their households and in their personal or sex lives, Stoler offers a fresh look at the European colonial experience, in which the line between the colonizers and the colonized becomes significantly blurred. This 'blurring,' or hybridity, is, of course, an important issue in postcolonial theory, yet Stoler's presentation reveals that this hybridity is not only a theoretical question, but also (though largely absent from the extant scholarship) a reflection of historical reality. Stoler shows that hybridization took place at the personal, quotidian level, where the Europeans interacted actively with the natives, and in the economic arena, where impoverished Europeans were forced to compete with locals for a good living in 'their' colonies. An eye-opening book…. Highly recommended.”—Choice “Carnal Knowledge and Imperial Power is a compelling text, its dense analysis made accessible and almost visceral by the historical ethnography and scholarly detail…the book offers a rich and intricate account of the imperial project at work and strikes a difficult balance between theory, history, and ethnography in its analysis.”—Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Starting with the premise that Europe was made by its imperial projects as much as colonial encounters were shaped by events and conflicts in Europe, this volume investigates metropolitan-colonial relationships. It shows how "civilizing missions" often provided new sites for a bourgeois order.
Along the Archival Grain examines the nature of colonial governance as seen through its archival habits and conventions, and in doing so offers a series of nuanced meditations on the nature of archives and the spirit with which students of empire should approach them. Focusing on the archives of the nineteenth-century Netherlands Indies, Ann Laura Stoler reveals not the panoptic gaze of an omniscient colonial state but rather the uncertain knowledge of those who governed, the disquieting unease that resulted when credibility was in question and evidence was suspect, and the anxious flux of colonial common sense when rumors proved more reliable than facts. Here the archives are not just a record of rule but an active force with violent effect. Navigating familiar and extraordinary paths through the lettered lives of those who ruled, Stoler seizes on moments when ready narratives failed and prevailing categories no longer seemed to work. At the heart of this book are agents and architects of empire haunted by epistemic anxiety about how to assess political disse't and distinguish racial categories and social kinds. She asks not what colonial agents knew, but what happened when what they thought they knew they found they did not. Attending to hesitant, uncensored, and confused assessments and asides, Stoler offers a unique methodological and analytic opening to the affective registers of imperial governance and the political content of archival forms.
Provides new and important perspectives on the complex character of colonial history
In Desire for Development: Whiteness, Gender, and the Helping Imperative, Barbara Heron draws on poststructuralist notions of subjectivity, critical race and space theory, feminism, colonial and postcolonial studies, and travel writing to trace colonial continuities in the post-development recollections of white Canadian women who have worked in Africa. Following the narrative arc of the development worker story from the decision to go overseas, through the experiences abroad, the return home, and final reflections, the book interweaves theory with the words of the participants to bring theory to life and to generate new understandings of whiteness and development work. Heron reveals how the desire for development is about the making of self in terms that are highly raced, classed, and gendered, and she exposes the moral core of this self and its seemingly paradoxical necessity to the Other. The construction of white female subjectivity is thereby revealed as contingent on notions of goodness and Othering, played out against, and constituted by, the backdrop of the NorthSouth binary, in which Canada’s national narrative situates us as the “good guys” of the world.

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