Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Details

Ehlers, N. 2011, ''Onerous passions: colonial anti-miscegenation rhetoric and the history of sexuality'', Patterns of Prejudice, vol. 45, no. 4, pp. 319-340.


Ehlers’s analysis revisits Foucauldian conceptualizations of the historyof sexuality in order to map the inextricability of race, gender and sexuality as theyemerged in the context of the early American colonies. The salience of such ananalysis lies in its ability to extend the terrain of Foucault’s history, and brings newconsiderations to bear regarding the specific configurations of race, gender andsexual intersections in North American history. If, as Foucault insists, sexuality is aset of effects produced in bodies, behaviours and social relations, Ehlers reorientsthese claims to consider how these effects were racialized within the rubric ofcolonial anti-miscegenation rhetoric. Through such a tracing, it becomes evidentthat, from the early colonial context, sexuality was deployed to produce ‘ideal’sexuality as a bastion of whiteness: that is, to configure and maintain ‘ideal’ sexualityas white.