Controlling Bodies: The Punishment of Multiracialized Sexual Relations

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Abstract

Geographies of sexuality have paid minimal attention to interracial relations. To rectify this, we examine the genealogy of the criminalization and punishment of ‘interracial’ relations. Drawing on three historical moments in the evolution of race relations in Anglo-America, we argue that the criminalization of these relations has historically been grounded in material relations and not in abstract ideals of racial purity or fears of racial degeneration. Using a strategy of ‘unnatural discourse,’ we suggest that as the American capitalist system expanded, the punishment of multiracialized sexual relations has generated and retained important ideological functions that have never been far removed from their material base.

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