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The Commerce of Peoples provides an unflinching look at the multifaceted power relations enmeshed in the affective history of sadomasochism as it has emerged in practice over the past several decades. Basu boldly argues that, in order to understand the contemporary intertwining of domination, submission, and desire, we must recognize that its history bears the marks of both slavery and colonialism of the last three centuries and that its utopian effort seeks to unfetter that corporeality. His analysis shows that the most daring and illuminating portrayals of race, gender, and sadomasochism may be found in key texts of African American literature. (Lee Quinby, Macaulay Honors College, CUNY)
About the Author
Biman Basu is associate professor in the Department of English at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, upstate New York. His research and teaching interests include African American Literature, Globalization, postcolonial and diasporic studies. He has published articles in Callaloo, College Literature, African American Review, Diaspora, Ariel, Public Culture, and other journals.
He is interested in the nexus between power and desire, and he addresses this directly in a course on sadomasochism, "Power, Desire, Literature." More generally, he is interested in what he sees as an emergence of different continental and national styles of sadomasochism, in both the public and private spheres, in both the popular-cultural representations of S&M and its social and political implications.