Haunted by Empire

Geographies of Intimacy in North American History

Haunted by Empire

American Encounters/Global Interactions

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Book Pages: 568 Illustrations: 6 b&w illustrations Published: May 2006

Gender and Sexuality > Feminism and Women’s Studies, History > U.S. History, Postcolonial and Colonial Studies

A milestone in U.S. historiography, Haunted by Empire brings postcolonial critiques to bear on North American history and draws on that history to question the analytic conventions of postcolonial studies. The contributors to this innovative collection examine the critical role of “domains of the intimate” in the consolidation of colonial power. They demonstrate how the categories of difference underlying colonialism—the distinctions advanced as the justification for the colonizer’s rule of the colonized—were enacted and reinforced in intimate realms from the bedroom to the classroom to the medical examining room. Together the essays focus attention on the politics of comparison—on how colonizers differentiated one group or set of behaviors from another—and on the circulation of knowledge and ideologies within and between imperial projects. Ultimately, this collection forces a rethinking of what historians choose to compare and of the epistemological grounds on which those choices are based.

Haunted by Empire includes Ann Laura Stoler’s seminal essay “Tense and Tender Ties” as well as her bold introduction, which carves out the exciting new analytic and methodological ground animated by this comparative venture. The contributors engage in a lively cross-disciplinary conversation, drawing on history, anthropology, literature, philosophy, and public health. They address such topics as the regulation of Hindu marriages and gay sexuality in the early-twentieth-century United States; the framing of multiple-choice intelligence tests; the deeply entangled histories of Asian, African, and native peoples in the Americas; the racial categorizations used in the 1890 U.S. census; and the politics of race and space in French colonial New Orleans. Linda Gordon, Catherine Hall, and Nancy F. Cott each provide a concluding essay reflecting on the innovations and implications of the arguments advanced in Haunted by Empire.

Contributors. Warwick Anderson, Laura Briggs, Kathleen Brown, Nancy F. Cott, Shannon Lee Dawdy, Linda Gordon, Catherine Hall, Martha Hodes, Paul A. Kramer, Lisa Lowe, Tiya Miles, Gwenn A. Miller, Emily S. Rosenberg, Damon Salesa, Nayan Shah, Alexandra Minna Stern, Ann Laura Stoler, Laura Wexler


“[An] eagerly awaited collection . . . . Stoler makes clear that the volume seeks to put U. S. history and postcolonial studies into productive and provocative dialogue.” — Christine Skwiot, Journal of Colonialism & Colonial History

“[An] important postcolonialist intervention into North American history. . . .” — American Literature

“[E]xcellent and widely ranging essays. . . .” — Jon Smith, Journal of American History

“[T]he authors elaborate several important and interesting perspectives regarding the formal and informal US imperial past. Summing Up: Highly recommended.” — J. Rogers, Choice

“This volume will have a lasting impact on U.S. women’s history.” — Gale Kenny, Journal of Southern History

“I found many of the essays in this collection interesting, imaginative, and even provocative . . . . [T]his is an important contribution to colonial studies. Many of the essays clearly resonate with questions being asked by Canadian historians about the ways in which our past intersects with and reproduces colonialisms. Haunted by Empire will be of interest to students and scholars alike. The book’s extensive bibliography makes it a particularly useful resource.” — Catherine Cavanaugh, Labour/Le Travail

“This collection is noteworthy because of the scope of the chapters it contains and because of range of topics taken up. The editor and Duke University Press are to be commended for publishing this important collection. Students of colonialism, imperialism, postcolonial theory and practice, subaltern studies, public policy, and human sexuality will all find useful and innovative material here.” — Joseph M. Hawes, Canadian Journal of History

‘[A] welcome addition to the growing body of scholarship on intimacy and empire. It offers new and innovative readings of North American history because it is interdisciplinary and, to a degree, transnational in approach, presenting insights into the reach and effects of imperialism and colonialism, particularly at the interface between gender and race across a range of diverse sites and histories.”
— Angela Wanhalla, Journal of American Ethnic History

This collection is a wonderfully rich, fascinating, and important group of articles by an impressive group of interdisciplinary scholars. . . . [T]his is a landmark collection of vital essays on the nineteenth- and twentieth-century American empire.” — Serena Zabin, Itinerario

“This powerful collection of dazzling essays offers essential reading for our times. It shows us historically how the vast geopolitical movements of empire and globalization rely on intimate recesses of everyday domestic life at home and abroad. It demonstrates the urgency of understanding the long history and geographical reach of the American empire through comparative and transnational perspectives.” — Amy Kaplan, author of The Anarchy of Empire in the Making of U. S. Culture

“Haunted by Empire brilliantly illustrates how power plays out in the management of bodies, sentiments, and desires. Readers interested in how attention to the intimate is reconfiguring both U. S. history and postcolonial studies and illuminating the convergences between the two will treasure this rich and provocative book.” — Jacquelyn Hall, Spruill Professor of History, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Ann Laura Stoler is Willy Brandt Distinguished University Professor of Anthropology and Historical Studies and Chair of the Anthropology Department at The New School for Social Research. She is the author of Carnal Knowledge and Imperial Power: Race and the Intimate in Colonial Rule and Race and the Education of Desire: Foucault’s History of Sexuality and the Colonial Order of Things (also published by Duke University Press), and a coeditor of Tensions of Empire: Colonial Cultures in a Bourgeois World.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Preface ix

Acknowledgments xv

1. Intimidations of Empire: Predicaments of the Tactile and Unseen / Ann Laura Stoler 1

2. Tense and Tender Ties: The Politics of Comparison in North American History and (Post) Colonial Studies / Ann Laura Stoler 23

Convergence and Comparison

3. Samoa’s Half-Castes and Some Frontiers of Comparison / Damon Salesa 71

4. States of Hygiene: Race “Improvement” and Biomedical Citizenship in Australia and the Colonial Philippines / Warwick Anderson 94

5. Adjudicating Intimacies on U.S. Frontiers / Nayan Shah 116

6. Proper Caresses and Prudent Distance: A How-To Manual from Colonial Louisiana / Shannon Lee Dawdy 140

7. “His Kingdon for a Kiss”: Indians and Intimacy in the Narrative of John Marrant / Tiya Miles 163

Proximities of Power

8. The Intimacies of Four Continents / Lisa Lowe 191

9. Body Work in the Antebellum United States / Kathleen Brown 213

10. Fractions and Fictions in the United States Census of 1890 / Martha Hodes 240

11. The Fair Ensemble: Kate Chopin in St. Louis in 1904 / Laura Wexler 271

12. “The Perfect Mistress of Russian Economy”: Sighting the Intimate on a Colonial Alaskan Terrain, 1784–1821 / Gwenn A. Miller 297

Circuits of Knowledge Production

13. An Empire of Tests: Psychometrics and the Paradoxes of Nationalism in the Americas / Alexandra Minna Stern 325

14. Making “American” Families: Transnational Adoption and U.S. Latin American Policy / Laura Briggs 344

15. The Darkness That Enters the Home: The Politics of Prostitution during the Pilippine-American War / Paul A. Kramer 366

16. Ordering Others: U.S. Financial Advisers in the Early Twentieth Century / Emily S. Rosenberg 405


17. Internal Colonialism and Gender / Linda Gordon

18. Commentary / Catherine Hall 452

19. Afterword / Nancy F. Cott 469

Bibliography 473

Contributors 531

Index 535
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-3724-9 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-3737-9
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