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Imperial Leather: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in the Colonial Contest [Paperback]

by Anne McClintock
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 8, 1995 0415908906 978-0415908900 0
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.

Frequently Bought Together

Imperial Leather: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in the Colonial Contest + Race and the Education of Desire: Foucault's History of Sexuality and the Colonial Order of Things + Carnal Knowledge and Imperial Power: Race and the Intimate in Colonial Rule
Price for all three: $93.73

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

McClintock (English, Columbia Univ.) interprets 19th-century British imperialism as the focal point for that era's major "disclosures," including feminism, Marxism, and psychoanalysis. She describes Victorian urban space?including advertising?as being oriented to exhibit imperial spectacle based on racism and sexism. In turn, the colonies become stages for exhibiting a reinvented patriarchy, with Westerners symbolizing power and indigenous peoples a subdued domesticity. The text is an exercise in demonstrating preconceptions. While some of McClintock's evidence is original, the argument as a whole is conventional bien-pensant wisdom unlikely to convince anyone not already committed to the thesis. The presentation is further burdened by its reliance on the cliches and jargon of feminism, deconstructionism, and other currently fashionable academic ideologies. Imperialism was at once a simpler and a more complex phenomenon than McClintock's perspective allows. For large academic collections only.?D.E. Showalter, Colorado Coll., Colorado Springs
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.


The author and Routledge are to be congratulated on a big, beautiful book that many students of the history of sexuality will find alluring. -- Journal of the History of Sexuality
Imperial Leather is what an academic book ought to be: intelligent, informed, socially committed, engaged, and engaging. -- Women's Review of Books
Imperial Leather is a wonderful book. -- Women's Review of Books
McClintock's magisterial a daring articulation of the race-class-gender triad. -- Choice
Anne McClintock's Imperial Leather takes a prominent place among a number of recent works...that question the relegation of the imperial enterprise to the back benches of the Victorian sensibility...Ms. McClintock's astute reading of novels, diaries, and advertisements, among other sources, demonstrates how images of domestic life can be incorporated into an ideology of imperial domination. -- The New York Times Book Review
Imperial Leather is a very passionately written book, and the reader cannot help but be involved in the various texts that McClintock freely uses. Nothing escapes her hard, penetrating gaze...The work is thoughtful and well researched. I highly recomend it. -- Journal of Carribean Studies
This is a big book, in every sense of the word: big format, big ideas, big aim. -- The Canadian Historical Review
Lucidly written, wide-ranging in its scope, supple and rigorous in its analysis, and impressive in its consistent theorization of gender in relation to other axes of power, Imperial Leather is a major contribution to materialist feminist scholarship. -- Signs
Engaging and frequently brilliant. -- Victorian Studies

Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (July 8, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415908906
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415908900
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #170,166 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 42 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It was fascinating! August 20, 2003
I don't agree with the reviewer for Library Journal because I found McClintock's book thorough and solid. She situates the book in a very clever way in the myriad of "isms" and scholarly debates on post-colonialism. She argues that one cannot talk about colonialism without at the same time investigate how gender,race, sexuality, class etc, has shaped the colonial discourse and discussion.
I would recommend this book to people interested in feminist, gender, postcolonial studies but also to anyone who wants a more indepth and creative analysis of the current debate on postcolonialism and gender.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, Enlightening Work May 9, 2011
It's been a while since I read this book (in Fall 2002), but I remember being highly surprised with what it taught about how the contemporary, taken-for-granted ideological practices of cleanliness (daily bathing, soap, house cleaning), etc., came into being during the time period discussed, and how class and race (racism) functioned -- more blatantly then -- to promote certain practices and consumer products to the point that they now are often assumed to be "universal" and go unquestioned in terms of their historical development. Additionally -- and not mentioned in the reviews -- is the discussion of resulting fetishizations, particularly in the accounts of certain historical persons. It's a fascinating read, and includes hard visual evidence of the racist advertising that promoted certain practices and products that have continued from the colonial past to today.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars supberb! March 9, 2011
By Taimur
It was one of those books that you want to own and make a part of your library. It talks about the intersection of race, gender, sexualitiy and class in colonies and metropoloes. unlike some of the other books on colonialism, this book analyzes the various discourses that served the purpose of power but without reifying race. It makes you see the exploitation of colonized and their exercising of agency in an extremely unequal relation. it throws light on the gender dynamics in this power play that had been ignored for a long time.
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0 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Imperial Leather March 21, 2011
By Flora
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book was okay not worn out on the outside. But the previous owner had underlined a lot of stuff inside using INK, I thought that was a little inconsiderate. All said, there were no tears or other damages, so it is okay given its price.
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