Bodies in Contact

Rethinking Colonial Encounters in World History

Bodies in Contact

Book Pages: 464 Illustrations: 1 map Published: January 2005

Gender and Sexuality > Feminism and Women’s Studies, History > World History, Postcolonial and Colonial Studies

From portrayals of African women’s bodies in early modern European travel accounts to the relation between celibacy and Indian nationalism to the fate of the Korean “comfort women” forced into prostitution by the occupying Japanese army during the Second World War, the essays collected in Bodies in Contact demonstrate how a focus on the body as a site of cultural encounter provides essential insights into world history. Together these essays reveal the “body as contact zone” as a powerful analytic rubric for interpreting the mechanisms and legacies of colonialism and illuminating how attention to gender alters understandings of world history. Rather than privileging the operations of the Foreign Office or gentlemanly capitalists, these historical studies render the home, the street, the school, the club, and the marketplace visible as sites of imperial ideologies.

Bodies in Contact brings together important scholarship on colonial gender studies gathered from journals around the world. Breaking with approaches to world history as the history of “the West and the rest,” the contributors offer a panoramic perspective. They examine aspects of imperial regimes including the Ottoman, Mughal, Soviet, British, Han, and Spanish, over a span of six hundred years—from the fifteenth century through the mid-twentieth. Discussing subjects as diverse as slavery and travel, ecclesiastical colonialism and military occupation, marriage and property, nationalism and football, immigration and temperance, Bodies in Contact puts women, gender, and sexuality at the center of the “master narratives” of imperialism and world history.

Contributors. Joseph S. Alter, Tony Ballantyne, Antoinette Burton, Elisa Camiscioli, Mary Ann Fay, Carter Vaughn Findley, Heidi Gengenbach, Shoshana Keller, Hyun Sook Kim, Mire Koikari, Siobhan Lambert-Hurley, Melani McAlister, Patrick McDevitt, Jennifer L. Morgan, Lucy Eldersveld Murphy, Rosalind O’Hanlon, Rebecca Overmyer-Velázquez, Fiona Paisley, Adele Perry, Sean Quinlan, Mrinalini Sinha, Emma Jinhua Teng, Julia C. Wells


Bodies in Contact marks a significant addition to the literature placing colonial history in international context, and signals the movement of transnational history to the fore of imperial studies.” — Rachel Berger, Atlantic Studies

Bodies in Contact is a significant and erudite addition to the thriving field of global history.” — Rochona Majumdar, Journal of World History

“Ballantyne and Burton’s volume offers an excellent introduction to the gendered histories of imperialism and colonialism across historical time and in diverse cultural contexts. More importantly the essays in this collection highlight the deep epistemic ramifications of globalization and how the mechanics of it are embodied in our day-to-day interactions even today.” — Anita Anantharam, Itinerario

“Ballantyne shows how colonialism, imperial politico-economic transactions, and population mobility to the farthest reaches of the empire were crucial in constituting a Sikh national story within the Punjab. . . . His questioning of the chronological inevitability of prior national narratives leading to the development of diasporic structures is impressive, both in the theoretical and in the empirical insights it provides. This volume adds substantially to recent South Asia research. . . .” — Jayeeta Sharma, Journal of British Studies

“Historians of all persuasions will find Ballantyne and Burton’s arguments … persuasive and compelling…. As the editors intend, the volume is very likely to ‘stimulate debate, discussion, and even perhaps a new generation of historians.’…” — Dorothy L. Hodgson, International Journal of African Historical Studies

“In all, the collection constitutes a most comprehensive marshalling of recent research on gender, cultures of colonialism and the colonial encounter and should be attractive to a wide range of specialized readers.” — Barbara Bush, History

“This book is a laudable achievement that sets a new standard not only for world history but also for scholars who wish to interrogate the multivalent and interrelated indices of race, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, class, and region in historical context. . . . [T]he anthology as a whole provides richly nuanced studies of colonialism based on daily encounters, intimate moments, and bodily contacts, which will have global consequences.” — Janet Moore Lindman, Early American Literature

“This collection of essays is designed to provoke questions, to raise issues, to incite debate about the place of gender, race, and class in the construction of modern imperial and colonial (or subaltern) identities. Balanced against the histories that Ballantyne and Burton argue permeate the modern university, these essays provide a necessary counterweight, a mode from which traditional histories can be interrogated.”

— Audrey De Long, Sixteenth Century Journal

“This collection of gender and colonialism studies is a marvelous accomplishment.” — Meri L. Clark, Ethnohistory

"A distinguishing feature of this collection is its comprehensiveness. . . . This is a strong collection that points to new directions in the field of world history and is recommended for advanced undergraduates and graduate students." — Christopher Lee, History: Reviews of New Books

"Individually, the chapters are excellent and interesting. Each one nudges the reader to learn something new and offers methodological techniques for uncovering new and relatively inaccessible materials." — Londa Scheibinger, American Historical Review

"[A] distinguishing feature of this collection is its comprehensiveness. . . . [T]his is a strong collection that points to new directions in the field of world history and is recommended for advanced undergraduates and graduate students." — Christopher Lee History Reviews of New Books

"Individually, the chapters are excellent and interesting. Each one nudges the reader to learn something new and offers methodological techniques for uncovering new and relatively inaccessible materials." — Londa Scheibinger American Historical Review

Bodies in Contact is an excellent work, full of lively essays based on an engaging variety of historical perspectives. Instructors in world history rightly complain that there is little available to students that covers gender. This volume helps fill that gap with articles on important issues in the history of contact and empire.” — Bonnie G. Smith, author of The Gender of History: Men, Women, and Historical Practice


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Tony Ballantyne is Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Otago in New Zealand. He is the author of Orientalism and Race: Aryanism in the British Empire and the editor of Science, Empire, and the European Exploration of the Pacific.

Antoinette Burton is Catherine C. and Bruce A. Bastian Professor of Global and Transnational Studies, Department of History, University of Illinois. She is the author of Dwelling in the Archive: Women Writing House, Home, and History in Late Colonial India and At the Heart of the Empire: Indians and the Colonial Encounter in Late-Victorian Britain. She is the editor of After the Imperial Turn: Thinking with and through the Nation (also published by Duke University Press) and a coeditor of The Journal of Women’s History.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments ix

Introduction: Bodies, Empires and World Histories / Tony Ballantyne and Antoinette Burton 1

I. Thresholds of Modernity: Mapping Genders

Masculinity and the Bangash Nawabs of Farrukhabad / Rosalind O'Hanlon 19

An Island of Women: Gender in the Qing Travel Writing about Taiwan / Emma Jinhua Teng 38

Male Travelers, Female Bodies, and the Gendering of Racial Ideology, 1500–1700 / Jennifer L. Morgan 54

Christian Morality in Spain: The Nahua Woman in the Franciscan Imaginary / Rebecca Overmeyer-Velazquez 67

Eva's Men: Gender and Power at the Cape of Good Hope / Julia C. Wells 84

Colonial Bodies, Hygiene, and Abolitionist Politics in the Eighteenth-Century France / Sean Quinlan 106

II. Global Empires, Local Encounters

Women, Property, and Power in Eighteenth-Century Cairo / Mary Ann Fay 125

Reproducing Colonialism in British Columbia, 1849–1871 / Adele Perry 143

Native American and Metis Women as "Public Mothers" in the Nineteenth-Century Midwest / Lucy Eldersveld Murphy 164

Britishness, Clubbability, and the Colonial Public Sphere / Mrinalini Sinha 183

Muscular Catholicism: Nationalism, Masculinity, and Gaelic Team Sports, 1884–1916 / Patrick F. McDevitt 201

Reproducing the "French Race": Immigration and Pronationalism in Early-Twentieth Century France / Elisa Camiscioli 219

Race Hysteria, Darwin 1938 / Fiona Paisley 234

Tattooed Secrets: Women's History in Magude District, Southern Mozambique / Heidi Gengenbach 253

III. The Mobility of Politics and the Politics of Mobility

An Ottoman Occidentalist in Europe: Ahmad Midhat Meets Madame Gulnar, 1889 / Carter Vaughn Findley 277

Out of India: The Journey of the Begam of Bhopal, 1901–1930 / Siobhan Lambert Hurley 293

Celibacy, Sexuality, and Nationalism in North India / Joseph S. Alter 310

Women's Liberation and Islam in Soviet Uzbekistan, 1926–1941 / Shoshana Keller 321

Gender, Powers, and U. S. Imperialism: The Occupation of Japan, 1945–1952 / Mire Koikari 342

History and Memory: The "Comfort Women" Controversy / Hyun Sook Kim 363

"One Black Allah": The Middle East in the Cultural Politics of African American Liberation, 1955–1970 / Melani McAllister 383

Postscript: Bodies, Genders, Empires: Reimagining World Histories / Tony Ballantyne and Antoinette Burton 405

Contributors 425

Index 441

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-3467-5 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-3455-2
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