Imperial Leather
Race, Gender, and Sexuality in the Colonial Contest

McClintock, Anne
Publisher:  Routledge, New York
Year Published:  1995
Pages:  464pp   ISBN:  978-0415908900
Library of Congress Number:  DA16.M37 1995   Dewey:  305.3/0941
Resource Type:  Book
Cx Number:  CX15924

Imperial Leather chronicles the dangerous liaisons between gender, race, and class that shaped British imperialism and its bloody dismantling. Spanning the century between Victorian Britain and the current struggle for power in South Africa, the book takes up the complex relationships between race and sexuality, fetishism and money, gender and violence, domesticity and the imperial market, and the gendering of nationalism within the zones of imperial and anti-imperial power.

Anne McClintock explores the sexualizing of the terra incognita,the imperial myth of the empty lands, the dirt fetish and the "civilizing mission", sexuality and labor, advertising and commodity racism, the Victorian invention of the idle woman, feminism and racial difference, and anti-apartheid culture in the current transformation of national power. Using feminist, post-colonial, psychoanalytic and socialist theories,Imperial Leather argues that the categories of gender, race and class do not exist in isolation, but emerge in intimate relation to one another. Drawing on diverse cultural forms--novels, advertising, diaries, poetry oral history, and mass commodity spectacle--the book examines imperialism not only as a poetics of ambivalence, but as a politics of violence. Rejecting traditional binaries of self/other, man/woman, colonizer/colonized, Anne McClintock calls instead for a more informed and complex understanding of catgories of social power and identity.

Table of Contents


Introduction: Postcolonialism and the Angel of Progress

I. Empire of the Home
1. The Lay of the Land: Genealogies of Imperialism
2. "Massa" and Maids: Power and Desire in the Imperial Metropolis
3. Imperial Leather: Race, Cross-dressing and the Cult of Domesticity
4. Psychoanalysis, Race and Female Fetishism

II. Double Crossings
5. Soft-Soaping Empire: Commodity Racism and Imperial Advertising
6. The White Family of Man: Colonial Discourse and the Reinvention of Patriarchy
7. Oliver Schreiner: The Limits of Colonial Feminism

III. Dismantling the Master's House
8. The Scandal of Hybridity: Black Women's Resistance and Narrative Ambiguity
9. "Azikwelwa" (We Will Not Ride): Cultural Resistance in the Desperate Decades
10. No Longer in a Future Heaven: Nationalism, Gender and Race

Postscript: The Angel of Progress

List of Illustrations
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