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Suspect Relations: Sex, Race, and Resistance in Colonial North Carolina Paperback – November 15, 2001
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"With this book, Kirsten Fischer joins scholars who have demonstrated the interconnection of race and gender in the evolving social hierarchy of the early South. . . . Because she skillfully weaves together questions of class, race, gender, sexuality, and the social order, her book should be read by scholars of all related fields."―C. Dallett Hemphill, Ursinus College. The Journal of American History, March 2003
"Most impressive is Fischer's ability to shed light on a world in which all of our usual categories- race, status, politics, and power- were in flux. This historical creativity, as well as the book's contributions to the study of race and sexuality in a little-studied early American colony, will make it a good volume for graduate classes and advanced undergraduates."―Carolyn Eastman, Reviews in American History, Vol. 31, No. 3, Sept '03
"Beginning with a sketch of Anglican (English) ideas of race and sex in the seventeenth century and the ways that North Carolina women were perceived as disrupting society, Fischer subsequently discusses cross-cultural sex, regulation of sexuality (especially of servants), defamation suits, and violence (including rape)."―Joan R. Gundersen, Journal of Southern History 69:4, November 2003
"Lively as well as erudite, Suspect Relations provides a telling portrait which is both fully examined and sharply rendered. Fischer unerringly illuminates dark recesses of the colonial era, and suggests their relevance to some vexing social issues of today."―Virginia Quarterly Review 78:4
"Fischer's thoroughly researched, well-argued, and engaging book helps to nuance and expand our understanding of social relations and the construction of race ideology in the colonial South."―Sylvia D. Hoffert, Comparative Studies in Society and History, 45:1, January 2003
"Suspect Relations is an important contribution to contemporary discussion of the origins of race as a category, an assumed 'physical fact,'in the American colonies. Fischer places bodies at the center of this progression; ordinary men and women struggled to maintain control over their bodies as those in authority drew lines on and around them, and racialized demarcation was the result."―Karen Ordahl Kupperman
"This is a great book: deeply researched, clearly written, historiographically important. More than any previous historian, Kirsten Fischer has managed to chart the back-and-forth development of ideas of racial difference and sexual order. By treating questions of property rights and labor alongside those of gender and sexuality, she has deepened our understanding of the daily dimensions of each."―Walter Johnson, author of Soul by Soul: Life Inside the Antebellum Slave Market
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Top Customer Reviews
Many readers will treat the concept of sex and race with some suspicion; how can these two items be related unless you're talking (much like Foucault) about power? Fischer certainly does talk about power relationships, but she focuses on gender and social responses to sexual behaviors to construct her argument about creating the definition of "race".
Fischer has mined lower court records to garner an understanding about societal responses in this era to sexual behaviors, including deviance. She breaks this down into 5 well crafted chapters, each focusing on a different aspect of racial/gender relations.
Her chapters cover the gamut, from rebellious women to slaveowners engaging in sexual relations with their slaves to craft her argument. In the end, she claims that race is a biological construct defined by sexual behaviors. It is an interesting argument, and usually supported well by her evidence.
The one problem I had with this book is that we have no idea how widespread some of the cases she cites are. The evidence she provides is for a few individual scenarios, but she does not really put this into context of the entire population in most cases. Despite this drawback, the argument is compelling and the book is well worth reading for anyone that has an interest in 18th century America.
The book arrived in a good condition, no flaws. I am very happy with the product.