CarnalKnowledge - 1 Carnal Knowledge and Imperial Power...

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Unformatted text preview: 1 Carnal Knowledge and Imperial Power Gender, Race, and Morality in Colonial Asia Ann Laura Stoler Over the last fifteen years the anrhropology of women has fundamentally altered our under— standing of colonial expansion and its consequences for the colonized. More recent attention to the structures of colonial authority has placed new emphasis on the quotidian assertion of Euro— pean dominance in the colonies, on imperial interventions in domestic life, and thus on the cul— tural prescriptions by which European women and men lived (Callan and Ardener 1984; Knibiehler and Goutalier 1985, 1987; Caliaway 1987; Strobel 1987). Having focused on how col— onizers have viewed the indigenous Other, we are beginning to sort out how Europeans in the colonies imagined themselves and constructed communities built on asymmetries of race, class, and gender—entities Significantly at odds with the European models on which they were drawn. Feminist attempts to engage the gender politics of Dutch, French, and British imperial cule tures converge on some strikingly similar observations; namely, that European women in these colonies experienced the cleavages of racial dominance and internal social distinctions very dif— ferently than men precisely because of their ambiguous positions as both subordinates in colonial hierarchies and as active agents ofirnperial culture in their Own right (Callan and Ardener 1984; Knibiehler and Goutalier 1985; Reijs et al. 1986; Callaway 1987) Concomitantly, the majority of European women who left for the colonies in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries confronted profoundly rigid restrictions on their domestic, economic, and political options, more limiting than those of metrOpoliran Europe at the time and sharply contrasting with the oppor— tunities Open to colonial men. In one form or another, these studies raise a basrc question: In what ways were gender in— equalities essential to the structure of colonial racism and imperial authority? Was the strident misogyny of imperial thinkers and colonial agents a byproduct of received metropolitan values (“they just brought it with them”), a reaction to contemporary feminist demands in Europe Ann Laura Stole: is Professor ofAnthropology, History, and Women’s Studies at the University ofMichi— gari, Ann Arbor. Her most recent publications include Race and the Education tnyesire: Foucault’s History of Sexuality and the Colonial Order oleiings (Duke, 1995); a volume coedited with Frederick Cooper, Tensions qumpirt': Colonial Cultures in a Bourgeois I/Vorld (California. 1997), and “Racial Histories and their Regimes Of-Tl‘utll," forthcoming in the journal Political Power and Social Theory (1997). Her earlier book, Capitalism and Coryfrontation in Sumatra’s Plantation Belt (Yale, 1985), won the 1991 Harry Benda Prize for its out- standing contribution to Southeast Asian Studies and was recently republished (Michigan, 1995). [14] Ann Laura Stoler (“women need to be put back in their breeding place”), or a novel and pragmatic response to the conditions of coanest? Was the assertion ofEuropean supremacy in terms ofpatriotic manhood and racial virility an expression of imperial domination or a defining feature of it? F0cusing on French Indochina and the Dutch East Indies in the early twentieth century but drawing on other contexts, I suggest that the very categories of “colonizer” and “colonized” were secured through forms of sexual control that defined the domestic arrangements of Euro— peans and the cultural investments by which they identified themselves. In treating the sexual aud conjugal tensions of colonial life as more than a political trope for the tensions of empire writ small, but as a part of the latter in socially profound and strategic ways, I examiue how gendera Specific sexual sanctions and prohibitions not only demarcated positions of power but prescribed the personal and public boundaries of race. Colonial authority was constructed on two powerful but false premises. The first was the notion that Europeans in the colomes made up an easily identifiable and discrete biological and social entity; a “natural” community ofcommon class interests, racial attributes, polirical affinities, and superior culture. The second was the related notion that the boundaries separating colonizer from colonized were thus self—evident and easily drawn (Stoler 1989). Neither premise reflected colonial realities. Tensions between bureaucrats and planters, settlers and transients, missionaries and metropolitan policy makers, perirs blunts (lower—class whites), and monied entrepreneurs have always made Euro—colonial communities more socially fractious and politically fragile than many of their members professed (see, for example, Cooper 1980; Drooglever 1980; Ridley 1981; Comaroff and Comaroff 1986; Kennedy 1987; Prochaska, 1989). Internal divisions developed out of competing economic and political agendas—conflicts over access to indigenous resources, frictions over appropriate methods for safeguarding European privilege and power, competing criteria for reproducing a colonial elite and for restricting its membership. The markers of European identity and the criteria for community membership were never fixed. Rather, they defined fluid, permeable, and historically disputed terrain. The colonial pol— itics of exclusion was contingent on constructing categories. Colonial control was predicated on identifying who was “white,” who was “native,” and which children could become citizens rather than subjects, designating who were legitimate progeny and who were not. What mattered was not only one’s physical properties but also who counted as “European” and by whar measure. Skin shade was too ambiguous; bank accounts were mercurial; religious beliefs and educarion were crucial but never completely sufficient. Social and legal standing derived from the cultural prism through which color was viewed, from the silences, ackn0wl- edgments, and denials ofthe social circumstances in which one’s parents had sex. Sexual unious based on concubinage, prostitution, or church marriage derived from the hierarchies ofrule; but in turn, they were negotiated relations, contested classifications, which altered individual fates and the very structure of colonial society (Matinez-Alier 1974; Ming 1983; Taylor 1983). Ultimately inclusion or exclusion required regulating the sexual, conjugal, and domestic life of both Euro— peans in the colonies and their colonized subjects. POLITICAL MESSAGES AND SEXUAL METAPHORS Colonial observers and participanrs in the imperial enterprise expressed unwavering interest in rhe sexual inrerface of the colonial encounter. Probably no subject is discussed more than sex in colonial literature and no subject more frequeutly invoked to foster the racist stereotypes ofEuro— pean society (Pujarniscle 1931: 106; Lourfi 1971: 36). With the sustained presence ofEuropeans iu the colonies, sexual prescriptions by class, race, and gender became increasingly central to the politics of empire and subject to uew forms ofscrutiny by colonial states. The salience of sexual symbols as graphic representations of colonial dominance is relatively unambiguous and well—established. Edward Said, for example, has argued that the sexual submis— sion and possession of Oriental women by European men “fairly standsfor the pattern of relative rrsponse to the -r1c manhood -- century but -1 “colonized” n ems of Euros the sexual and " of empire writ . how gender— ' but prescribed first was the biological and ' ai affinities, r-.- fig colonizet is: reflected . missionaries ' - reneurs have it than many Ridley 1981; '.| n. developed .. us resources, - r. competing - all were HCVCF colonial pol— prcdjcated on citizens rather as "European” w a]: religious Inga! standing ... ts, acknowl— S-exual unions 15-1 s ofrule; but sdual fates and '-; E.Ult1mately I of both Euro— rng interest in - .e than sex in .4 yes ofEutO— of Europeans ‘- central to the ---.:e is relatively sexual submisi -.- ern ofrelative Carnal Knowledge and Imperial Power [15] strength between East and West, and the disCOurse about the Orient that it enabled” (1978: 6, my emphasis). He describes Orientalism as a “male perception of the world,” “a male power—fantasy,” “an exclusively male province,” in which the Orient is penetrated, silenced, and possessed “2978207). Sexuality, then, serves as a loaded metaphor for domination, but Said’s critique is not -'nor does it claim to be) about those relations between women and men. Sexual images illustrate the iconography of rule, not its pragmatics. Sexual asymmetries and visions convey what is “really” going on elsewhere, at another political epicenter. They are tropes to depict other cen— :ers of p0wer. Sexual domination has been carefully considered as a discursive symbol, instrumental in the conveyance of other meanings, but has been less often treated as the substance of imperial policy. ‘w’as sexual dominance, then, merely a graphic substantiation of who was, so to speak, on the bottom and who was on the top? Was the medium the message, or did sexual relations always “mean” something else, stand in for other relations, evoke the sense of other (pecuniary, political, or some possibly more subliminal) desires? This analytic slippage between the sexual symbols of power and the politics of sex runs throughout the colonial record—as well as through contem— porary commentaries on it. Some ofthis may be due to the polyvalent quality of sexuality; sym— bolically rich and soeially salient at the same time. But sexual control was more than a convenient metaphor for colonial domination; it was, as I argue here, a fundamental class and racial marker implicated in a wider set of relations ofpower. In the sections that follow I look at the relationship between the domestic arrangements of colonial communities and their wider political structures. Part I draws on colonization debates over a broad period (sixteenth—twentieth c.) in an eifort to identify the long—term intervention of :olonial authorities in issues of“racial mixing,” settlement schemes, and sexual control. In exam— ining debates over European family formation, over the relationship between subversion and sex, i look at how evaluations of concubinage, and of morality more generally, changed with new forms of racism and new gender—specific expressions ofthem. Part II treats the protection and policing of European women within the changing politics of empire. It traces how accusations of sexual assault related to new demands for political rights and restricted demarcations ofsocial space in response to them. Part III addresses what I call the “cul— oral hygiene" of colonialism. Taking the early twentieth century as a breakpoint, I take up the :onvergent metropolitan and colonial discourses on health hazards in the tropiCS, race—thinking, and social reform as they related to shifts in the rationalization of rule. In tracing how fears of "racial degeneracy” were grounded in class—specific sexual norms, I return to how and why racial :lifference was constituted and culturally coded in gendered terms. PART I: SEX AND OTHER CATEGORIES or COLONIAL CONTROL 's‘l'ho bedded and wedded with whom in the colonies of France, England, Holland, and Iberia was never left to chance. Unions between Annamite women and French men, between Por— niguese women and Dutch men, between Spanish men and Inca women produced offspring with :lainis to privilege, whose rights and status had to be determined and prescribed. From the early 1600s through the twentieth century the sexual sanctions and conjugal prohibitions of colonial agents were rigorously debated and carefully codified. It is in these debates over matrimony and morality that trading and plantation company officials, missronaries, investment bankers, military high commands, and agents of the colonial state confronted one another’s visions of empire and the settlement patterns on which rule would rest. In 1622, the Dutch East Indies Company (VOC) arranged for the transport of six poor but marriageable young Dutch women to java, providing them with clothing, a dowry upon mare riage, and a contract binding them to five years in the Indies (Taylor 1983: 12). Aside from this and one other short—lived experiment, immigration of European women to the East was con— ssiously restricred for the next two hundred years. VOC shareholders argued against female emi— [16] Ann Laura Stoler gtation on several c0unts: the high cost of transporting married women and daughters (Blussé 1986: 161); the possibility that Dutch women (with Stronger ties than men to the Netherlands?) might hinder permanent settlement by goading their burgher husbands to quickly lucrative but nefarious ttade, and then repatriate to display their newfound wealth; the fear that Dutch women would enrich themselves through private trade and encroach on the company’s monOpoly; and the prediction that their children would be sickly and force families to repatriate, ultimately depleting the colony ofpermanent and loyal settlers. The Dutch East Indies Company enforced the sanction against female migration by selecting bachelors as their European recruits and by ptomoting both extramarital relations and legal unions between low—ranking employees and imported slave women. Although there were Euro—Asian marriages, gOVernment regulations made concubinage a more atrtactive Option by prohibiting European men with native wives and children from returning to Holland (Ming 1983: 69; Blussé 1986: 173). The VOC saw hOuseholds based on Euro-Asian unions, by contrast, as having dis- tinct advantages; individual employees would bear the costs of dependents; children of mixed unions were considered stronger and healthier; and Asian women made fewer (economic and emotional) demands. Finally, it was thought that men would be more likely to settle permanently by establishing families with local roots. Concubinage served colomal interests in other ways. It permitted permanent settlement and rapid growth by a cheaper means than the importation ofEur0pean women. Salaries ofEutopean recruits to the colonial armies, bureaucracies, plantation companies, and trading enterprises were kept artificially low. This was pOssible not only because the transport of European women and family support was thereby elimiuated, as was often argued, but also becanse local women pro- vided domestic services for which new European recruits would Otherwise have had to pay. In the mid-nineteenth century, such arrangements were de rigueur for young civil servants intent on setting up households on their own (Ritter 1956: 21). Despite some clerical opposition by the nineteenth century concubinage was the most prevalent living arrangement for European men (van Marle 1952: 485). Nearly half of the Indies’ European male population in the 1880s was unmarried and living with Asian women (Ming 1983: 70). It was only in the early twentieth cen— tury that concubinage was politically condemned. In Asia and Africa, corporate and government decision—makers invoked the social services that local women supplied as “useful guides to the language and other mysreries ofthe local societies” (Malleret 1934: 216; Cohen 1971: 122). The medical and cultural know—how ofloeal women was credited with keeping many European men alive in their initial confrOntation with rropical life (Btaconier 1933). Handbooks for incoming plantation employees bound for Tonkin, Suma— tra, and Malaya urged men to find a bed—servant as a prerequisite to quick acclimatization (Nieuwenhuys 1959: 19; Dixon 1913: 77). In Malaysia, commercial companies encouraged the procurement oflocal “companions for psychological and physical well—being”; to proteCt Euro— pean stafl‘from the ill—health thar sexual absrention, isolatiOn, and boredom were thought to bring (Burcher 1979: 200, 202). Even in the British empire, where the colonial ofice formally banned concubinage in 1910, ir was tacitly condoned and practiced long after (Hyam 198613, 49; Kennedy 1987: 175). In the Indies, a simultaneous sanction against concubinage among civil servants was only selectively enforced; it had little effect on domestic arrangements outside ofjava and no perceptible impact on the EurOpean households in Sumatra’s newly opened plantation belt where japanese and Japanese lzuishoudsrcrs (as Asian mistresses were sometimes called) remained the rule rather than the exception (Clerkx 1961: 87793; Sroler 1985a: 31—34; Lucas 1986: 84). While the term concubinage commonly referred to the cohabitation outside of marriage between European men and Asian women, in fact, it glossed a wide range ofarrangemenrs that included sexual access ro a non—European woman as well as demands on her labor and legal rights to the children she bore. Thus, to define it as cohabitation perhaps suggests more secial privileges than most women who were involved in such relations enjoyed. Many colonized women com— _ _ {Blussé n rlands?) - *flfive but i1 women .it. :19; Blusse hating dis— ..1 of mixed '. and '. of European 71.3.35 were mmen and ' women [31:0- _ m pay: In the .is intent on I.“ on by the i..." , 3n men uh: 13805 was - ntieth cen— ysn'ices that . 11 societies” local women . with tropical protect Euro— ' . - ghr to bring ally banned 4'9: Kennedy '1 servants Was I fiijava and I10 - t I E1 belt Where -.n med the rulfi 84}. - of marriage gements that and legal rights glacial privileges .u women com— Camal Knowledge and Imperial Power [17] bined sexual and domestic service within the abjectly subordinate contexts ofslave or “coolie” and lived in separate quarters. On the plantations in East Sumatra, for example, where such arrangements were structured into company policies of labor control, javanese women picked from the coolie ranks often retained their original labor contracts for the duration of their sexual and domestic service (Lucas 1986: 186). To say that concubinage reinforced the hierarchies on which colonial societies were based is not to say that it did not make those distinctions more problematic at the same time. In such regions as North Sumatra, grossly uneven sex ratios often made for intense competition among male workers and their European supervisors for indigenous women. Vmuwen perkara (disputes over women) resulted in assaults on whites, new labor tensions, and dangerous incursions into the standards deemed essential for white prestige (Stoler 1985a: 33; Lucas 1986: 90—91). Metropoli— tan critics were particularly disdainful of these liaisons on moral grounds—wall the more so when these unions were sustained and affectiver significant relationships, thereby contradicting the racial premise of concubinage as an emotionally unfettered convenience. But perhaps most important, rhe tension between concubinage as a confirmation and compromise of racial hierara chy was realized in the progeny that it produced, “mixed bloods,” poor “Indos,” and abandoned méri‘s children who straddled the divisions of tuler and ruled and threatened to blur the colonial divide. These uoorlefnderen (literally, “children from a previous marriage/union,” but in this colo— nial context usually marking illegitimate children from a previous union with a non—European woman) were economically disadvantaged by their ambiguous social status and often grew up to join the ranks ofrhe impoverished whites (Nieuwenhuys 1959: 21). Concubinage was a domestic arrangement based On sexual service and gender inequalities that “worked” as long as European identity and supremacy were clear. When either was thought to be vulnerable, in jeopardy, or less than Convincing, at the turn of the century and increasingly through the 19205, colonial elites responded by clarifying the cultural criteria ofprivilege and the moral premises of their unity, Structured sex in the politically safe context of prostitution, and where possible in rhe more desirable contexr of marriage between “full—blooded” Europeans, replaced concubinage (Taylor 1977: 29). Restrictions on European Women in the Colonies Colonial governments and private business not only tolerated concubinage but actively encour— aged it—principally by restricting the emigration of European women to the colonies and by refusing employment to married male European recruits. Although most accounts ofcolonial con— quest and settlement suggest that European women chose to avoid early pioneering ventures, the choice was rarely their own (cf. Fredrickson 1981: 109). In the Indies, a government ordinance of 1872 made it impossible for any soldier below the rank of sergeant major to be married; and even above that rank, conditions were very restrictive (Ming 1983: 70). In the Indies army, marriage was a privilege ofthe officer corps, whereas barrack—concubinage was instituted and regulated for the rank and file. Through the 1920s and 19305, formal and informal prohibitions set by banks, estates, and government services operating in Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia restricted marriage during the first three to five years ofservice while some simply prohibited it altogether. Many historians assume that these bans on employee marriage and on the emigration ofEuro— pean women lifted when specific colonies were politically stable, medically upgraded, and ecoe nomically secure. In facr marriage restrictions lasted well into the twentieth century, long after rough living and a scarcity of amenities had become conditions of the past. In India as late as 1929, British employees in the political service were still recruited at the age of twenty—six and then prohibited from marriage during their first three probationary years (Moore—Gilbert 1986: 48). On the Ivory Coast, employment contracts in the 19203 also denied marriage with European women before the third tour, which meant a minimum of fivejyears’ service, so that many men remained unmarried past the age of thirty (Tirefort 1979: 134). [18] Ann Laura Stoler European demographics in the colonies were shaped by these economic and political exigencies and thus were enormously skewed by sex. Among the laboring immigrant and native populations as well as among Europeans in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the number of men was, at the very least, double that of women, and sometimes exceeded the latter by twenty— five times. Although in the Netherlands Indies, the overall ratio of European women to men rose from 472100 to 881100 between 1900 and 1930, representing an absolute increase from 4,000 to 26,000 Dutch women (Taylor 1983: 128), in outlying areas such as on Sumatta’s plantation belt in 1920 there were Still only 61 EurOpean women per 100 men (Koloniaz'e Versi'ag quoted in Lucas 1986: 82). On Africa’s Ivory Coast, European sex ratios through 1921 were srill 1:25 (Tirefott 1979'. 31). In controlling the availability ofEuropean women and the sorts ofsexual access allowed, colonial state and corporate authorities avoided salary increases as well as the proliferation of a lower—class European settler population. Such policies in no way muted the internal class distinc— tions within the EurOpean communities; they simply shaped the social geography ofthe colonies by fixing the conditions under which European privileges could be attained and reproduced. Sex, Subversion, and White Prestige The marriage prohibition revealed how deeply the conduct ofptivate life and the sexual procliv— ities individuals expressed were tied to corporate profits and the security of the colonial state. Nowhere was the connection between seX and subversiOn more openly contested than in North Sumatra in the early 19005. Irregular domestic arrangements were thought to encourage subver— sion as strongly as acceptable unions could avert it. Family stability and sexual “normalcy” were thus linked to political agitation or quiescence in very concrete ways. Since the late nineteenth century, the major North Sumatran tobacco and rubber companies had neither accepted married applicants nor allowed them to take wives while in service (Schoevers 1913: 38; Clerk): 1961: 31—34). Company authorities argued that new employees with families in tow would be a financial bnrden, risking the emergence ofa “European prole— tariat" and thus a major threat to white prestige (Kroniele 1917: 50; Sumatra Post 1913). Low— ranking plantation employees protested against these company marriage restrictions, an issue that mobilized their ranks behind a broad set of demands (Stoler 1989a: 144). Under employee pres— sure, the ptohibitiOn was relaxed to a marriage ban for the first five years of service. Domestic arrangements thus varied as government officials and private businesses weighed the economic versus political costs ofone arrangement over another, but such calculations were invari— ably meshed. Europeans in high office saw white prestige and profits inextricably linked, and atti— tudes toward concubinage reflected that concern (Brownfoot 1984: 181). Thus in Malaya through the 19205, concubinage was tolerated precisely because “poor whites” were not. Government and plantation administrators argued that white preStige would be imperiled ifEurOpean men became impoverished in attempting to maintain middle—class life styles and EuroPean wives. Colonial morality and the place of concubinage in it was relative, given the “particular anathema with which the Btitish regarded ‘poor whites’” (Butcher 1979: 26). In late nineteenth century java, in contrast, concubinage itself was considered to be a major source of white pauperism and vigor— ously condemned at precisely the same time that a new colonial morality passively condoned ille— gal brothels (Het Pauperisme Commissie 1901; Nienwenhuys 1959: 20—23; Hesselink 1987: 208). What constituted morality vacillated, as did the very definition ofwhite prestigthand what its defense should entail. A discursive obsessiOn with white prestige was a basic feature of colonial mentality. White prestige and its protection loom as the primary cause ofa long list of otherwise inexplicable colonial postures, prejudices, fears, and violences. What upheld that prestige was not a constant; concubinage was socially lauded at one time and seen as a political menace at another. White prestige was a gloss for different intensities of racist practice, gender specific and culturally coded. Although many accounts contend that white women brought an end to concubinage, its decline came with a much wider shift in colonial relations along more racially segregated lines— u. . exigencies populations the number of 1+- by twenty; l to men rose from 4,000 to I Istation belt in _- ed in Lucas " 1:25 (Tirefort access allowed, 'r.1. titration ofa class distinc- ofrhe colonies 'rcuduced. 'icxual procliv— WIOnial state. ' than in North 1 - rage subver— ,, .. Icy were . companies "-3 in service .. - employees a . pean prole— ..- 1913). Low— . an issue that rmployee pres— _ weighed the "- a. were invatie - , and atti— ' ya through '4. mmth and - 1 men became ' a . Colonial .. .. thema with .. mryjava, in .u and vigor— mndoned ille— 1987: 208). and what its . . of colonial ofotherwise .I- jge was not 'e at another. and culturally :ubinage, its _ _i red lines— Carnal Knowledge and Imperial Power [19] in which the definitions of prestige shifted and in which Asian, Creole, and European—born women were to play new roles. PART III EUROPEAN WOMEN AND RACIAL BOUNDARIES Perhaps nothing is as striking in the sociological accounts of European colonial communities as the extraordinary changes that are said to accompany the entry of white women. These adjust— ments shifted in one direction: toward European life styles accentuating the refinements of privi ilege and new etiquettes of racial difference. Housing structures in the Indies were partitioned, residential compOUttds in the Solomon Islands enclosed, servant relations in Hawaii formalized, dress codes in Java altered, food and social taboos in Rhodesia and the Ivory Coast codified. Taken together, these changes encouraged new kinds of consumption and new social services catering to these new demands (Boutilier I984; Spear 1963; Woodcock 1969; Cohen 1971). The arrival oflarge numbers ofEuropean women thus coincided with an emboutgeoisment of colonial communities and with a significant sharpening of racial categories. European women supposedly required more metropolitan amenities than men and mote spacious surroundings to allow it; they had more delicate sensibilities and therefore needed suitable quarter5*discrete and enclosed. Women‘s psychological and physical constitutions were considered more fragile, demanding more servants for the chores they should be spared. In short, white women needed to be maintained at elevated standards ofliving, in insulated social Spaces cushioned with the cultural artifacts of “being European.” Segregationist standards were what women “deserved,” and more importantly what white male prestige required that they maintain. Racist but Moral Women, Innocent but Immoral Men Colonial rhetoric on white women was full of contradictions. At the same time that new female immigrants were chided for nor respecting the racial distance oflocal convention, an equal number of colonial observers accused these women of being more avid racists in their Own right (Spear 1963; Nora 1961). Allegedly insecure and jealous of the sexual liaisons ofEuropean men with native women, bound to their provincial visions aud cultural norms, EurOpean women, it was and is argued, constructed the major cleavages ou which colonial stratification rested. Thus Percival Spear, in commenting on the social life of the English in eighteenth—century India, asserted that women “widened the racial gulf” by holding to “their insular whims aud preju— dices” {1963: 140). Writing about French women in Algeria tWO hundred years later, the French historian Pierre Nora claimed that these “parasites ofthe colouial relationship in which they do not participate directly, are generally more racist than men and contribute strongly to prohibiting contact between the two societies” (1961: 174). For the Indies, “it was jealousy ofthe dusky sirens . . . but more likely some say . . . it was . . . plain feminine scaudalization at free and easy sex relatious” that caused a decline in miscegenation (Kennedy 1947: 164). Such bald examples are easy to find in colonial histories ofseveral decades ago. Recent schole arship is more subtle but not substantially different. In the European community on the French Ivory Coast, ethnographer Alain Tirefort contends that “the presence ofthe white woman sepa— rated husbands from indigenous life by creating around them a zone of European intimacy” (1979: 197). Gann and Duignan stare simply that it was “the cheap steamship ticket for women that put an end to racial integration in British Africa” {1978: 242; also see O’Brien 1972: 59). In such narratives, European women are positioned both as marginal players on the colonial stage and as principal actors. They are charged with dramatically reshaping the face ofcolonial society, imposing racial distance in African and Asian contexts where “relatively unrestrained social inter— mingling . . . had been prevalent in earlier years” (Cohen 1971: 122; Vere Allen 1970: 169). European women are not only the true bearers of racist beliefs but also hard-line operatives who put racism into practice, encouraging class distinctions amOng whites while fostering new racial antagonisms, formerly muted by sexual access. [20] Ann Laura Stoler Are we to believe that sexual intimacy with European men yielded social mobility and politi- cal rights for colonized women? Or even less likely, that because British civil servants bedded with Indian 'women, somehow Indian men had more “in common” with British men and enjoyed more parity? Colonized women could sometimes parlay their positions into personal profit and small rewards, but these were individual negotiations with no social, legal, or cumulative claims. European male sexual access to native women was not a leveling mechanism for asymmetries in race, class, or gender (Strobel 1987: 378; Degler 1986: 189). Male colonizers positioned European women as the bearers of a redefined colonial morality. But to suggest that women fashioned this racism out of whole cloth is to miss the political chronology in which new intensities of racist practice arose, In the African and Asian contexts already mentioned, the arrival or large numbers of European wives, and particularly the fear for their protection, followed from new terms and tensions in the colonial contract. The presence and protection of European women was repeatedly invoked to clarify rac1al lines. It coincided with perceived threats to Enropean prestige (Brownfoot 1984: 191), increased racial conflict (Strobel 1987: 378), covert challenges to the colonial order, outright expressions of nationalist resistance, and internal dissension among whites themselves (Stoler 1989a: 147e49). If white women were the primary force behind the decline of concubinage, as is often claimed, they did so as participants in a much broader shift in racial politics and colonial plan (Knibiehler and Goutalier 1985: 76). This is not to suggest that European women were passive in this process, as the dominant themes in many of their novels attest (Taylor 1977: 27). Many Euro— pean women did oppose concubillagefinot because they were categorically jealous of, and threatened by, Asian women as often claimed (Clerkx 1961), but, more likely, because of the double standard it condoned for European women (Lucas 1986: 94—95). The voices ofEuropean women had little resonance until their objections coincided with a realignment in racial and class politics in which they were strategic to both. Race and the Politics ofSexual Peril The gender—specific requirements for colonial living were construcred on heavily racist evaluae tions, which pivoted on images ofthe heightened sexuality of colonized men (Tiffany and Adams 1985). In this frame, European women needed protection because men of color had “primitive” sexual urges and uncontrollable lust, aroused by the sight of white women (Strobel 1987: 379; Schmidt 1987: 411). In some colonies, that sexual threat remained an unlabeled potential; in others it was given a specific name. The “Black Peril” referred throughout Africa and much of the British Empire to the professed dangers of sexual assault on white women by black men. In Southern Rhodesia and Kenya in the 19205 and 19305, preoccupations with the “Black Peril" gave rise to the creation of citizens’ militias, ladies’ riflery clubs, and investigations as to whether African female domestic servants would not be safer to employ than men (Kirkwood 1984: 158; Schmidt 1987: 412; Kennedy 1987: 128—47; Hansen 1989). In New Guinea, alleged attempted assaults on European women by Papuan men prompted the passage of the White Women’s Protection Ordinance of 1926, which provided “the death penalty for any person con— victed for the crime ofrape or attempted rape upon a European woman or girl” (Inglis 1975: vi). And in the Solomon Islands authorities introduced public flogging in 1934 as punishment for “criminal assaults On [white] females” (Boutilier 1984: 197). What do these cases have in common? First, the rhetoric of sexual assault and the measures used to prevent it had virtually no correlation With actual incidences ofrape of European women by men of color. just the contrary: there was often no ex post facto evidence, nor any at the time, that rapes were committed or that rape attempts were made (Schmidt 1987; Inglis 1975; Kirk» wood 1984; Kennedy 1987; Boutilier 1984). Moreover, the rape laws were race specific; sexual abuse of black women was not classified as rape and therefore was not legally actionable, nor did rapes committed by white men lead to prosecution (Mason 1958: 246—47), Ifthese accusations of ' and politi- l €Cl I r enjoyed profit and _ u .e claims. etries in r morality. n political - contexts ' the fear for . ; presence I: coincided - conflict nationalist _ as is often n. nial plan - passive in " if Euro— . 5 of, and - me of the of European and class -. ..:. evalua— md Adams I "prmiitive” - HHS: 379; potential; in Ind much of I ii. men. Lit-i: "Black ' 50:15 as to '- - '{Kirkwood _‘ the White ' person con— .- 5975: vi). ..- ment for the measures ~ an women at the time, 5975; Kirk— . iii-1C; sexual . +1: nor did accusations of Carnal Knowledge and Imperial Power [21] sexual threat were not prompted by the fact of rape, what did they signal and to what were they tied? Allusions to political and sexual subversion of the colonial system went hand in hand. The term “Black Peril” referred to sexual threats, but it also connoted the fear ofinsurgence, ofsome perceived nonacquiescence to colonial control more generally (van Onselen 1982; Schmidt 1987; Inglis 1975; Strobel 1987; Kennedy 1987: 128*47). Concern over protection of white women intensified during real and perceived crises of control—provoked by threats to the internal cohe— sion of the European communities or by infringements on its borders. Thus colonial accounts of the Mutiny in India in 1857 are full ofdescriptions of the sexual mutilation ofBritish women by Indian men despite the fact that no rapes were recorded (Metcalf1964: 290). In New Guinea, the White Women’s Protection Ordinance followed a large influx of acculturated Papuans into Port Moresby in the 19205. Resistant to the constraints imposed on their dress, movement, and edu— cation, whites perceived them as arrogant, “cheeky,” and without respecf (Inglis 1975'. 8, 11). In post—World War I Algeria, the political unease ofpiea’s noirs (local French settlers) in the race of “a whole new series of [Muslim] demands” manifested itselfin a popular culture newly infused with strong images of sexually aggressive Algerian men (Sivan 1983: 178). Second, rape charges against colonized men were often based on perceived transgressions of social space. “Attempted rapes” turned out to be “incidents” ofa Papuan man “discovered” in the vicinity ofa white residence, a Fijian man who entered a EurOpean patient’s room, a male servant poised at the bedroom ofa European woman asleep or in half—dress (Boutilier 1984: 197; Inglis 1975: 11; Schmidt 1987: 413). With such a broad definition of danger in a culture offear, all col— onized men of color were threatening as sexual and political aggressors. Third, accusations of sexual assault frequently followed upon heightened tensions within European communities—and renewed efforts to find consensus within them. Rape accusations in South Africa, for example, coincided with a rash of strikes between 1890 and 1914 by both African and white miners (van Onselen 1982: 51). As in Rhodesia after a strike by white railway employees in 1929, the threat of native rebellion brought together conflicting members of the European community in common cause where “solidarity found sustenance in the threat ofracial destruction” (Kennedy 1987: 138). During the late 1920s, when labor protests by IndOnesia workers and European employees were most intense, Sumatra’s corporate elite expanded their vigilante organizations, intelligence networks, and demands for police protection to ensure their women were safe and their workers “in hand” (Stoler 1985a). In Sumatra’s plantation belt, subsidized sponsorship of married couples replaced the recruit— ment of single Indonesian workers and European staff, with new incentives provided for family housing and gezinvorming (“family formation") in both groups. This recomposed labor force of family men in “stable households” explicitly weeded out politically “undesirable elements” and the socially malcontent. With the marriage restriction finally lifted for European staff in the 19205, young men sought wives among Dutch-born women while on leave in Holland or through marriage brokers by mail. Higher salaries, upgraded housing, elevated bonuses, and a more mediated chain of command between colonized fieldworker and colonial staff served to clarify both national and racial afimities and to difierentiate the further political interests ofEuro— pean fiom Asian workers (Stoler 1985a). The remedies searched for alleviate sexual danger were sought in new prescriptions for secur— ing white control; increased surveillance of native men, new laws stipulating severe corporeal punishment for the transgression of sexual and social boundaries, and the creation of areas made racially offklimits. These went with a moral rearmament of the Enropean community and reasser— tions of its cultural identity. Charged with guarding Cultural norms, European women were instrumental in promoting white solidarity. It was partly at their own expense, as they were to be nearly as closely policed as colonized men (Strobel 1987). [22] Ann Laura Stoler Policing European Women and Concessions to Chivalry Although native men were the ones legally punished fer alleged sexual assaulls, European women were frequently blamed for provoking those desires. New arrivals from Europe were accused of being too familiar with their setVants, lax in their commands, indecorous in their speech and in their dress (Vellut 1982: 100; Kennedy 1987: 141; Schmidt 1987: 413). In Papua New Guinea, “everyone” in the Australian community agreed that rape assaults were caused by a “younger generation ofwhite women" unschooled in the proper treatment ofservants (Inglis 1975: 80). In Rhodesia as in Uganda, sexual anxieties persisred in the absence of any incidents and restricted women to activities within the European enclaves (Gartrell 1984: 169}. The immorality act of 1916 “made it an offense for a white woman to make an indecent suggestion to a male native” (Mason 1958: 247). As in the American South, “the etiquette of chivalry controlled white wom— en’s behavior even as [it] guarded caste lines” (Dowd Hall 1984: 64). A defense of community, morality, and white male power was achieved by increasing control over and consensus among Europeans, by reaffirming the vulnerability ofwhite women and the sexual threat posed by native men, and by creating new sanctions to limit the liberties of both. European colonial communities in the early twentieth century assiduously controlled the movements ofEuropean women, and, where possible, imposed on them resrricted and protected roles, This is not to say that European women did not work; some openly questioned the sexist policies oftheit male superiors. However, by and large their tasks buttressed rather than contested the established racial order (Ralston 1977; Knibiehlet and Gontalier 1985; Callaway 1987': 111; Ramuschack n.d.). Particularly in the colonies with small European communities as oppOsed to those oflarge— scale settlement, there were few opportunities for women to be economically independent or to act politically on their own. The “revolt against chivalry”——the ptotest of American Southern white women to lynchings of black men for alleged rape attempts—had no counterpart among European women in Asia and Africa (Dowd Hall 1984). Firmly rejecting expansion based on the “poor white” (petit blanc) Algerian model, French officials in Indochina dissuaded colons with insufficient capital from entry and promptly repatriated those who tried to remain. Single women were seen as the quintessential petits blancs; with limited resources and shopkeeper aspirations, they presented the dangerous possibility that straitened circumstances would lead them to prosri- tntion, thereby degrading European prestige at large. Professional competence did not leave single European women immune from marginaliZa— tion. Single professional women were held in contempt as were European prostitutes, with sun prisingly similar objections. White prOstitutes threatened prestige, while professional women needed protection; borh fell outside the social space to which European colonial women were assigned—namely, as custodians of family welfare and respectability, and as dedicated and willing Subordinates 1‘0, and supporters of, colonial men. The rigor with which these norms were applied becomes more comprehensible when we see why a European family life and bourgeois respectability became increasingly tied to norions of racial survival, imperial patriotism, and the political strategies of the colonial state. PART [11: WHITE UEGENERACY, MOTHERHOOD, AND THE EUGENICS or EMPIRE de - gen - er - ate (QdJ.) [L degerreratus, pp. of degenerare, to become unlike one’s race, degen— erate < degener, not genuine, base < de—, fi‘om + genus, race, kind: see germs], 1, to lose former, normal, or higher qualities. 2. Having sunk below a former or normal condition, character, ere; deteriorated. 3. morally corrupt; depraved— (n) a degenerate person, esp. one who 15 morally depraved or sexually perverted— (vi) —at’ed, 'al’r'ng. 1. to decline or become debased morally, culturally. etc, . . . 2. Biol. to undergo degeneration; deteriorate, (VI/blisters New I’Vorld Dictionary 1972: 371) L3H women ‘ accused of ' ch and in ' Guinea, .a “younger ‘ 75: 80). In - - restricted . ity act of . e native” ite wom— ' rmnunity, Is among .- by native _ r the a protected .- [he sexist - contested 1957: 111; of large- _. x nt or to '- . Southern - rt among 1 -a ’d on the - mlmrs with ' - e women aprrations, _... Io prosti— -.. 'naliza- - wrzh sur— '- - I women .1 not] were Bad willing _' .- applied - bourgeois ‘ , and the "'d H— one -1I Carnal Knowledge and Imperial Power [23] European women were essential to the colonial enterprise and the solidification of racial bound- aries in ways that repeatedly tied their supportive and subordinate posture to community cohesion and colonial security. These features of their positioning within imperial politics were powerfully reinforced at the turn of the century by a metropolitan bourgeois discourse (and an eminently anthropological one) intensely concerned with notions of “degeneracy” (Le Bras 1981: 77). Middle—class morality, mauliness, and motherhood were seen as endangered by the intimately linked fears of “degeneration” and miscegenatiou iu scientifically construed racist believers (Mosse 1978: 82). Degeneration was defined as “departures from the normal human type . . . transmitted through inheritance and leadliug] progressively to destruction” (Morel quoted in Mosse 1978: 83) Due to environmental, physical, and moral factors, degeneracy could be averted by positive eugenic selection or, negatively, by eliminating the “unfit” and/or the environmental and cultural contagions that gave rise to them (Mosse 1978: 87; Kevles 1985: 70—84). Eugenics entailed distinctions that were elitist, racist, and misogynisr in principle and practice (Gordon 1976: 395; Davin 1978; I-Ianirnerton 1979). Its proponents advocated a pro—natalist policy toward the white middle and upper classes, a rejection of women’s work roles that might compete with motherhood, and “an assumption that reproduction was notjusr a function but the purpose 1 i . ofwomen’s life” (Gordon 1974: 134). In France, England, Germany, and the United States, eugenics placed European women of”good stock” as “the fountainhead of racial strength” (Ridley 1981: 91), exalting the cult ofmorherhood while subjecting it to the scrutiny ofthis new scientific domain (Davin 1978: 12). As part of metropolitan class politics, eugenics reverberated in the colonies in predictable as well as unexpected forms. The moral, biological, and sexual referents ofthe notion of degenete acy (distinct in the dictionary citation above), were invariably meshed. The “colonial branch” of eugenics embraced a theory and practice concerned with the vulnerabilities of white rule and new measures to safeguard European superiority. Designed to control the procreation ofthe “unfit” lower orders, eugenics targeted “the poor, the colonized, or unpopular strangers” (Hobs— bawm 1987: 253). Eugenic discourse permeated how metropolitan observers viewed the “degenA erate” lifestyle of colonials, and how colonial elites admonished the behavior of “degenerate” members among themselves (Koks 1931: 179—189). Whereas studies in Eur0pe and the United States focused on the inherent propensity ofthe impoverished classes to criminality, in the Indies delinquency among “European” children was biologically linked to the amount of“native blood” children born of mixed marriages had inherited from their native mothers (Branconier 1918: 11). Eugenics provided a new biological idiom in which to ground the medical and moral basis for anxiety over the security ofEuropean hegemony and white prestige It reOpened debates over segregated residence and education, new standards of morality, sexual vigilance, and the rights of terrain Europeans to rule. Eugenic thinking was manifest not in the ditecr importation of metropolitan practices such as sterilization, but in a translation of the political principles and the social values that eugenics implied Eugenic statements pronounced what kind ofpeople should represent Dutch or French rule, hovsr they should bring up their children, and with whom they should socialize. A common discourse was mapped onto different immediate exigencies of empire with variations on a gender—specific theme exaltiug motherhood and domesticity. Formulae to secure European rule pushed in two directions: on the one hand, away from ambiguous racial genres and open domestic arrangements, and on the other hand, toward an upgrading, homogenization, and a clearer delineation of European standards; away from misce— geuarion toward white endogamy; away from concnbinage toward family formation and legal marriage (Taylor 1983). As stated by the Netherlands Indies’ Eugenic Society, “eugenics is noth— ing other than belief in the possibility of preventing degenerative symptoms in the body of our beloved mnedervolleen, or in cases where they may already be present, of counteracting them” (Rodenwaldt 1928: 1). [24] Ann Laura Stoler Like the modernization of colonialism itself, with its scientific management and educated technocrats with limited local knowledge, colonial communities of the early twentieth century were rethinking the ways in which their authority should be expressed. This rethinking took the form of asserting a distinct colonial morality, explicit in its reOrientation toward the racial and class markers of“Europeanness,” emphasizing transnational racial commonalities despite national differencesfidistilling a homo europeaus for whom superior health, wealth, and education were tied to racial endowments and a White Man’s norm. Thus the noveliSt Pujarniscle, a participant— observer in France’s colonial venture, wrote: “One might be surprised that my pen always returns to the word blarzt (white) or ‘European’ and never to ‘Francais’ . . . in effect colonial solidarity and the obligations that it entails allies all the peoples of the white races” (1931: 72; also see Delavi- gnette 1946: 41). Such sensibilities colored imperial policy in nearly all domaius with fears ofphysical contam- ination giving new credence to fears of political vulnerability Whites had to guard their ranks4 in quantity and in kind—~to increase their numbers and to ensure that their members blurred neither biological nor political boundaries. In the metropole the socially and physically “unfit,” the poor, the indigent, and the insane, were either to be sterilized or prevented from marriage. In the colonies it was these very groups among Europeans who were either excluded from entry or institutionalized while they were there and eventually sent home (Arnold 1979; Vellut 1982: 97). in sustaining a vision that good health, virility, and the ability to rule were iuherent features of what it took to be “European,” whites in the colonies had to adhere to a politics ofexelusion that policed their members as well as the colonized Measures were taken both to avoid poor white migration and to produce a colonial profile that highlighted the manliness, well—being, and pro— ductivity of European men. Within this equation, protection of manhood, national identity, and racial superiority were meshed (Loutfi 1971: 1127113; Ridley 1981: 104), Thus British colonial administrators were retired by the age of fifty—five, ensuring that no Oriental was ever allowed to see a Westerner as he ages and degenerated, just as no Westerner needed ever to see himself, mirrored in the eyes ofthe subject race, as anything but a vigorous, ratio— nal, ever-alert young Raj. {Said 1978: 42) In the twentieth century, these “men ofclass” and “men of character” embodied a modernized and renovated image of rule; they were to safeguard the colonies against physical weakness, moral decay, and the iuevitable degeneration that loug residence in the coIOnies eucouraged, and against the temptations that interracial domestic situatiOns had allowed. THE CULTURAL DYNAMICS OF DEGENERATION The (ohm is, in a common and etymological sense, a barbarian. He is a non—civilized person, a “new—man,” . . . it is he who appears as a savage. (Dupuy 1955: 188) The shift in imperial thinking that we can identify in the early twentieth century surely foeuses on the Otherness of the colonized but also on the Otherness of colonials themselves. In metro— politan France, a profusion of medical and sociological tracts pinpointed the colonial as a distinct and degenerate social type, with specific psychological and physical features (Maunier 1932; Pujarniscle 1931). Some ofthat difference was attributed to the debilitating results ofclimate and social milieu, from staying in the colonies too long: The climate affects him, his surroundings affect him, and after a certain time, he has become, both physically and morally, a completely diEerent man. (Maunier 1932: 169) - and educated 'eth centnry ’ng took the ' . the racial and ' thPite national _ education were _ a participanr— ' .. always returns solidarity and also see Delavi— . . bets blurred , . 'sically “unfit,” . marriage, In ' .: Emm entry Or leut 1982: 97) nt features of _ fiexclusion that Inc-id poor white ing, and pro- " identity, and . British colonial I no Westerner " igneous, ratio- - 1 a modernized utakness, moral d, and against .- I 1"; surely focuses .u lves. In metro- :I-u nial as a distinct I [Maunier 1932; . r3 ofclimate and ' Ms become, borh Carnal Knowledge and Imperial Power [25] People who stayed “too long” were in grave danger ofoverfatigue; ofindividnal and racial degen— eration (Le Roux 1898: 222); ofpliysical breakdown (notjnst illness); of cultural contamination and neglect ofthe conventions of supremacy, and of disagreement about what those conventions were (anny 1955: 184—185). Colonial medicine reflected and affirmed this slippage between physical, moral, and cnltnral degeneracy in nnmerons ways, The climatic, social, and work conditions of colonial life gave rise to a specific set of psychotic disorders affecting l’egm'libre cerebral and predisposing Europeans in the tropics to mental breakdown (Hartenberg 1910; Abatncci 1910), Nenrasthenia was the most common manifestation, a mental disorder identified as a major problem in the French empire and accounting for more than halfthe Dntch repatrianons from the Indies to Holland (Winckel 1938: 352). In Europe and America, it was “the phantom disease . . . the classic illness ofthe late nine— reenth century” encompassing virtually all “pscyhopatho or neurological conditions,” and inti- mately linked to sexual deviation and to the destruction of social order itself” (Gilman 1985; 199, 202), Whereas in Europe neurasrhenia was considered to be a consequence of“modern civilization” and its high-pitched pace (Showalter 1987: 135), in the colonies its etiology took the reverse form. Colonial nenrasthenia was allegedly caused by a distance from civilization and European commu— nity and by proximity to the colonized. The susceptibility ofa colonial (man) was increased by an existence “outside of the social framework to which he was adapted in France, isolation in out— posts, physical and moral fatigue, and modified food regimes” (Joyeux 1937: 335). Some doctors considered the only treatment to be le retonr en Europe ()oyeux 1937; 335; Pujar- niscle 1931: 28). Others prescribed a local set of remedies, high morals, and hard work. This included sexual moderation, a “regularity and regimentanon” ofwork, abstemions diet, physical exercise, and European camaraderie, buttressed by a solid (and stolid) family life with European children and a European wife (Grall 1908: 51). Guides to colonial living in the 19205 and 19305 reveal this marked shift in ontlook; Dutch, French, and British doctors now denounced the nnhealthy, indolent lifestyles of“old colonials,” extolling the energetic and engaged activities of the new breed (and team) of colonial hnsband and wife (Raptchinsky 1941: 46). Considered most prone to neutasthenia, anemia, and depression, women were exhorted to actively participate in household management and childcare, and to divert themselves with botanical collecrions and “good works” (ChivaseBaron 1929; Favre 1938). Children on the Colonial Divide: Degeneracy and the Dangers of Métissage {Young colonial men) are often driven to seek a temporary companion among the wotnen of color; fins 15 the path by which, as I shall presently show, contagion travels back and forth, contagion in all senses of the word. (Maunier 1932: 171) Racial degeneracy was thought to have social causes and political conseqnences, both tied to the domestic arrangements of colonialism in specific ways. M'érissage (interracial unions) generally, and concubinage in particular, represented the paramount danger to racial purity and cultural identity in all its forms. Throngh sexnal contact with women of color European men “con— tracted” not only disease but debased sentiments, immoral proclivities, and extreme susceptibility to decivilized states (Dupny 1956: 198). By the early twentieth century, concnbinage was denounced for undermining precisely those things that it was charged with fortifying decades earlier. The weight of competing discourses on local women shifted emphasis with those dangerous, passionate, and evil features of their charac- ters overshadowing their prOtective role. In the new equation they became the primary bearers of ill health and sinister influences. AdaptatiOn to local food, language, and dress, once prescribed as healthy signs of acclimatization, were now the sources of contagion and loss of (white) self. The [26] Ann Laura Stoler benefits of local knowledge and sexual release gave way to the more pressing demands of respectability, the community’s solidarity, and its mental health. Concubinage became the source ofindividual breakdown and ill-health, of racial degeneration and political unrest. Children born of these unions were seen as “the fruits of a regrettable weakness” (Mazet 1932: 8), physically marked and morally matted with “the defaults and mediocre qualities of their mothers” (Douchet 1928: 10). Concubinage was not as economically tidy and politically neat as colonial policymakers had hoped. It was about more than sexual exploitation and unpaid domestic work; it was about chil— dren~many more than official statistics often revealed—and about who was to be acknowledged as a European and who was not. Concubine children posed a classificatory problem, impinging on political security and white prestige The majority of such children were not recognized by their fathers, nor were they reabsorbed into local communities as authorities often claimed. The legal system favored a European upbringing, but made no demands on European men to provide it. The more socially asymmetric and perfunctory the relationship between man and woman, the more likely the children were to end up as wards of the state, subject to the scrutiny and imposed charity of the European—born community at large. Concubine children invariably counted among the ranks of the European poor. Many Indo— Eutopeans, including Creole children born in the Indies of European parents, had become increasingly marginalized from strategic political and economic positions in the early twentieth century despite the fact that the new educational facilities were supposed to have provided new opportunities for them. In the 19205 and 19305, Indieseborn and educated youth were uncom— fortably squeezed between an influx of new colonial recruits from Holland and the educated inlander (native) population with whom they were in direct competition forjobs (Mansvelt 1932: 295). The fear of concubinage was tied to the political fear that such Eutasians would demand economic access, political rights, and express their own interests through alliance with (and lead- ership of) organized opposition to Dutch rule. Racial prejudice against méris was often, as in the Belgian Congo, “camouflaged under protes- tations of‘pity" for their fate, as ifthey were ‘malheureux’ [unhappy] beings by definition” (Vellut 1982: 103). The protection of méris children in Indochina was an empathetic cause céIébre ofEuro— pean women at home and abroad. The French assembly on feminism, organized for the colonial exposition of 1931, devoted a major part of its proceedings to the plight of méris children and their native mothers, echoing the campaigns for [a recherche de paternité by French feminists a half— century earlier (Moses 1984: 208). The assembly called for “the establishment of centers [in the colonies] where abandoned young girls or those in moral danger could be made into worthy women” (Knibiehler and Goutalier 1987: 37). European colonial women were urged to oversee the “moral ptoteCtion” of métis youths, to develop their “natural” inclination toward French soci— ety, to turn them into “collaborators and partisans of French ideas and influences" instead of rev— olutionaries (Chenet 1936: 8; Knibiehler and Goutalier 1987: 35; Sambnc 1931: 261). The gender breakdown was clear: moral instruction would avert sexual promiscuity among métisse girls and political precocity among métis boys who might otherwise become militant men. Otphanages for abandoned European and Indo—European children were a prominent feature ofDutch, French, and British colonial cultures. In the Netherlands Indies by the mid—eighteenth century, state orphanages for Europeans were established to prevent “neglect and degeneracy of the many free»roaming poor bastards and orphans of Europeans” (quoted in Btaconier 1917: 293). By the nineteenth century, church, state, and private organizations had become zealous backers of orphanages, providing some education and strong doses of moral instrucuon. In French Indochina in the 19305, virtually every colonial city had a home and society for the pro— tection ofabandoned métl's youth (Sambuc 1931: 256e257; Malleret 1934: 220). Whether these children were in fact “abandoned” by their Asian mothers is difficult to esrab- lish; the fact that méris children living in native homes were sometimes sought out by the state and IIHEIJH-‘ln‘uéi 'demands of the source iltlren born " :Doucher drinkers had about chil— nowledged . impinging cognized by claimed. The , to provide woman, the and imposed Many Indo— ‘i'iad become I}; twentieth presided new 'I‘E‘l't‘ uncom- the educated . ‘ffill‘ 1932: mid demand th -and lead— untier protes- tion" (Vellut .' rr‘ of Euro— the colonial children and .inists a half— renrers [in the into worthy d to oversee French soci» instead of rev- 51: 361). The among métisse 1: men. F111Lner1t feature _midveighteenth End-egeneracy of atonier 1917: Fbetome zealous I instruction. in 'or the pro— Lfiicult to estabe this the state and Carnal Knowledge and Imperial Power [27] private organizations and placed in these institutions suggests other interpretations (Taylor 1983). Pnblic assistance in India, Indochina, and the Netherlands Indies was designed both to keep fair— skinned children from running barefoot in native villages and to curtail the proliferation ofEuroe pean pauper sertlements. The need for specific kinds of religious and secular education and socialization was symptomatic ofa more general fear; namely, that these children would grow into Hollander-haters, patricides, and anticolonial revolutionaries; that as adult women they would fall into prostitution; that as adult men with lasting ties to native women and indigenous society they would become enemies of the state, verbasrera' (degenerate) and déciuilisé (Angoulvant 1926: 102; Pouvourville 1926). EUROPEAN WOMEN, RACE, AND MIDDLE-CLASS MORALITY A man remains a man as long as he stays under the watch ofa woman ofhis race. (George Hardy quoted in Chivaszaron 1920: 103) Rationalizations of imperial rule and safeguards against racial degeneracy in European colonies merged in the emphasis on particular moral themes. Both entailed a reassertion ofEnropean con- ventions, middle-class respectability, more frequent ties with the metropole, and a restatement of what was culturally distinct and superior about how coloniais ruled and lived. For those women who came to join their spouses or to find husbands, the prescriptions were clear. just as new plantation employees were taught to manage the natives, women were schooled in colonial pro— priety and domestic management. French manuals, such as those on colonial hygiene in Indochina, outlined the duties of colonial wives in no uncertain terms. As “auxiliary forces” in the imperial effort, they were to “conserve the fitness and sometimes the life ofall around them” by ensuring that “the home be happy and gay and that all take pleasure in clustering there” (Grall 1908: 66; Chailley—Bert 1897). Practical guides to life in the Belgian Congo instructed (and indeed warned) lafemme blanthe that she was to keep “order, peace, hygiene and economy” (Favre 1938: 217), “perpetuate a vigorous race,” while preventing any “laxity in our administrative mores” (ibid.: 256; Travaux du Groupe d’Etudes Coloniales 1910: 10). This “division oflabor” contained obvious asymmetries. Men were considered more suscep— tible to moral turpitude than women, who were thus held responsible for the immoral states of men. European women were to safeguard prestige, morality, and insulate their men from the cul— tural and sexual contamination of contact with the colonized (Travaux . . . Coloniales 1910: 7). Racial degeneracy would be curtailed by European women charged with regenerating the physr ical health, the metropolitan affinities, and the imperial purpose of their men (Hardy 1929: 78). George Mosse has characterized European racism as a “scavenger ideology,” annexing nation— alism and bourgeois respectability in such a way that control over sexuality was central to all three (1985: 10, 133—152). lfthe European middle class sought respectability “to maintain their status and self—respect against the lower—classes, and the aristocracy,” in the colonies respectability was a defense against the colonized, and a way of more clearly defining themselves (ibid. 1985: 5). Good colonial living now meant hard work, no sloth, and physical exercise rather than sexual release, which had been one rationale for condoning concubinage and prostitution in an earlier period. The debilitating influences of climate could be surmounted by regular diet and meticu- lous personal hygiene, over which European women were to take full charge. British, French, and Dutch manuals on European household management in rhe tropics provided detailed instrucr tions in domestic science, moral upbringing, and employer-servant relations. Adherence to strict conventions of cleanliness and cooking occupied an inordinate amount ofwomen’s time, while cleanliness itself served as a “prop to a Europeanness that was less than assumed” (Ridley 1981: 77). Both activities entailed a constant surveillance of native nursemaids, laundrymen, and live~in servants, while demanding a heightened domesticity for European women themselves. [28] Ann Laura Stoler Leisure, good spirit. and creature comforts became the obligation of women to provide, the racial dnty of women to maintain. Sexnal temptations with women of color would be cnrtailed by a happy, gezellig (cozy) family life, much as “extremist agitation” among Javanese plantation workers was to be averted by selecting married recruits and providing family honsing where men would feel senang (happy/content) and “at home” (Stoler 1985a: 42—44). Moral laxity would be eliminated through the example of vigilant women whose status rested on their sexual restraint and dedication to their homes and their men. IMPERIAL PRIORITIES: MOTHERHOOD VERSUS MALE MORALITY The perceptions and practices that bound women’s domesticity to national welfare and racial purity were not c0anned to colonial women alone. Child rearing in late nineteenth—century Britain was hailed as a national, imperial, and racial duty, as it was in France, Holland, the United States, and Germany at the same time (Davin 1978: 13; Smith-Rosenberg1973: 351; Bock 1984: 274; Stuurman 1985). In France, where declining birth rates were of grave concern, fecundity itself had become “no longer something resting with couples” but with “the nation, the state, the race . . (Le Bras 1981: 90). Popular colonial authors such as Pierre Mille pushed child hearing as women’s “essential contribution to the imperial mission of France” (Ridley 1981: 90). With motherhood at the center of empire building, pronatalist politics in Europe forced some improve- ment in colonial medical facilities, the addition of maternity wards, and increased information and control Over the reproductive conditions of both European and colonized women. But the belief that the colonies were medically hazardous for whire Women meant that motherhood in the tropics was both a precarious and ambivalent endeavorr Real and imagined concern over individual reproduction and racial survival contained and compromised white colonial women in a number of ways, Tropical climates were said to cause low fertility, prolonged amenorrhea, and permanent sterility (Rodenwaldt 1928: 3). Belgian docv tors confirmed that “the woman who goes to live in a tropical climate is often lost for the repro— duction of the race” (Knibiehler and Goutalier 1985: 92; Vellut 1982: 100). The climatic and medical conditions of colonial life were associated with high infant mortality, such that “the life ofa European child was nearly condemned in advance” (Grall 1908: 65). A long list of colonial illnesses ranging from neurasthenia to anemia supposedly hit women and children hardest (Price 1939: 204). These perceived medical perils called into question wherher European—born women and thus the “white race” could actually reproduce if they remained in the tropics for an extended period of time. An international colonial medical communIty cross—referenced one another in citing evidence of racial sterility by the second or third generation. French observers could flatly state that unions among Creole Dutch in the Indies were sterile after two generations (Angoulvant 1926: 101). Like the discourse on degeneracy, the fear of sterility was less about the biological survival of whites than about their political viability and cultural reproduction. These concerns were evident in the early 19005, coming to a crescendo in the 1930s when white unemployment hit the colonies and the metropole at the same time. The depression made repatriation of impoverished Dutch and French colonial agents unrealistic, prompting speculation as to whether European working classes could be relocated in the tropiCs without causing further racial degeneration. Although white migration to the tropics was reconsidered, poor white settlements were rejected on economic, medIcal and psychological grounds. Whatever the solntion, such issues hinged on the reprodnctive potential ofEuropean women, and thus on invasive qnestionnaires concerning their “acclimatization,” and detailed descriptions of their conjngal histories and sexual lives. Imperial perceptions and policies fixed European women in the colonies as “instruments of raceeculture” in what proved to be personally difficult and contradictory ways. Childrearing deci— sions faithfully followed the sorts of racist principles that constrained the activities of women tie, the ' rtailed r tation - re men '. -- uld be mtraint II racial century United 1 it 1984: ficundity I state, the _ a bearing -' 'J}. With improve— nnation But the {hood in ' ed and ' - to cause 'an d0c- thc repro‘ _ . tic and "the life {colonial .. [(Price -- l and thus .1 period of .-I evidence it unions 101}. ' 'mrvival of evident i hit the have rished European neration. Err rejected E hinged on pioneetning I} lives. mments of hitting deci— 3 of women Carnal Knowledge and Imperial Power [29] charged with childcare (Grimshaw 1983: 507). Medical experts and women’s organizations rec- ommended strict surveillance of children’s activities (Mackinnon 1920: 944) and careful attention to those with whom they played. Virtually every medical and household handbook in the Dutch, French, and British colonies warned against leaving small children in the unsupervised care of local servants. In the Netherlands Indies, it was the “duty” of the hedendaagschc blanks moeder (the modern white mother) to take the physical and spiritual upbringing of her offspring away from the babu (native nursemaid) and into her own hands (Wanderken 1943: 173). Precautions had to be taken against “sexual danger,” uncleanly habits of domestics, against a “Stupid negress” who might leave a child exposed to the sun (Bauduin 1941; Bétenger—Feraud 1875: 491). Even in colonies where the climate was not considered unhealthy, EurOpean children supposedly thrived well “only up to the age of six” (Price 1939: 204) when native cultural influr ences were thought to come into stronger play. Thus, in late nineteenth—century Hawaii, native nursemaids commonly looked after American children until the age offive, at which point “prat— tiers” were confined to their mothers1 supervision, prevented from learning the local language, and kept in a “walled yard adjacent to the bedrooms . . . forbidden to Hawaiians” (Grimshaw 1983: 507). In the Netherlands Indies, where educational facilities for EurOpean children were considered excellent, it was still deemed imperative to send them back to Holland to avoid the “precocity” associated with the trepics and the “danger” of contact with Indistlte youths not from “full— blooded Enropean elements” (Bauduin 1941: 63) We Dutch in the Indies live in a COuntry which is not our own. _ . i We feel instincrively that our blonde, white children belong to the blonde, white dunes, the forests, the moors, the lakes, the snow. . . . A Dutch child should grow up in Holland. There they will acquire the characteristics of their race, not only from mother's milk but also from the influence of the light, sun and water, ofplay— mates, of life, in a word, in the sphere of the fatherland. This is not racism. (Bauduin 1941: 63—64) Such patriotic images culturally coded racial distinctions in powerful ways. Dutch identity was represented as a common (if contested) cultural sensibility in which class convention, geography, climate, sexual proclivity, and social contact played central roles. In many colonial communities, school—age children were packed off to Europe for education and socialization, but this was rarely an unproblematic option. Married EurOpean women were confronted with a difficult set of choices that entailed separation either from their children or husbands (Angoulvant 1926: 101). Frequent trips between colony and metropole not only sepa— rated families but also broke up marriages and homes. Such conflicting responsibilities profoundly affected the social Space European women (not only Wives) occupied, the tasks for which they were valorized, and the economic activities in which they could feasibly engage. THE STRATEGIES or RULE AND SEXUAL MORALITY The political etymology of colonizer and colonized was gender and class specific. The exclusion— ary politics of colonialism demarcated not just external boundaries but also interior frontiers, specifying internal conformity and order among Europeans themselves. I have tried to shOW that the categories ofcolonizer and colonized were secured through notions of racial difference cone structed in gender terms. Redefinitions of acceptable sexual behavior and morality emerged during crises of colonial control precisely because they called into question the tenuous artifices of rule within European communities and what marked their borders. Even from the limited cases we have reviewed, several patterns emerge. First and most obviously, colonial sexual prohibitions were racially asymmetric and gender specific Sexual relations might be forbidden between white women and men of color but not the other way around. Second, interdictions against interracial [30] Ann Laura Stoler unions were rarely a primary impulse in the strategies of rule. In India, Indochina, and South Africa in the early centuries—colonial contexts usually associated with sharp social sanctions against interracial unions—“mixing” has been systematically tolerated and even condoned. I have focnsed on late colonialism in Asia, but colonial elite intervention in the sexual life of their agents and subjects was by no means confined to this place or period. In sixteenth—century Mexico, mixed marriages between Spanish men and Christianized Indian women were encour~ aged by the crown until mid—centnry, when colonists felt that f‘the rising numbers oftheir own mestizo progeny threatened the prerogatives of a narrowing elite sector” (Nash 1980'. 141). In eighteenth— and early nineteenth—century Cuba, mild opposition to interracial marriage gave way to a “virtual prohibition” from 1864 to 1874 when “merchants, slave dealers and the colonial powers opposed [it] in order to preserve slavery” (Martinez—Alier 1974: 39). Changes in sexual access and domestic arrangements have invariably accompanied major efforts to reassert the internal coherence ofEuropean communities and to redefine the boundaries of privilege distinguishing colonizer from colonized. Although the chronologies vary from one colonial context to another, we can identify some parallel shifts in the strategies of rule and in sexual morality. Concubinage fell into moral disfavor at the same time that new emphasis was placed on the standardization of European administration. While this DCCurred in some colonies by the early twentieth cenrury and in others later on, the correspoudence between rationalized rule, bourgeois respectability, and the custodial power of European women to protect rheir men seems strongest during the interwar years, when British, French, and Dutch policymakers moved from an assimilationist to a more segregationist, separatist colonial stance. The reorganization of colonial investments along corporate and multinational lines brought with it a push for a restruc— tured and more highly productive labor force; and with it more strident nationalist and labor movements resisting those demands. An increasing rationaliZation of colonial management produced radical shifts in uotions ofhow empires should be run, how agents of empire should rule, and where, how, and wirh whom they should live. Critical to this restructuring was a new disdain for colouials too adapted to local custom, too removed from the local European community, and too encumbered with intimate native ties. At the same time medical expertise confirmed the salubrious benefits ofEuropean camaraderie and frequent home leaves; ofa Cordon sanizaire, not only around European enclaves but also around each European man and his home. White prestige became redefiued by the conventions that would safeguard the moral respectability, cultural identity, and physical wellebeing of its agents, with which European women were charged. Colonial politics locked European men and women into a routiuized protection of their physical health and social space in ways that bound gender prescriptions to the racial cleavages between “us” and “them.” It may be, however, that we should not be searchiug for congruent colonial chronologies (attached to specific dates) but rather for similar shifts in the rhythms of rule and sexual manage— ment, for similar internal patterns within specific colonial histories themselves. For example, we kuow that the Great Rebellion in India in 1857 set off an entire restructuring of colonial moralv ity in which political subversiori was tied to sexual impropriety and was met with calls for middle— class respectability, domesticity, and increased segregation—all focusing on European women— nearly a halficentury earlier than in colonies elsewhere. Looking to a somewhat longer durée than the colonial crises of the early twentieth century, we might consider British responses to the Muriny not as an exception but as a template, thereby emphasizing the “modular” quality of colonial preceptions and policies that were built ou new international standards of empire, on specific metropolitan priorities, and that were always responsible to the local challenges ofthose who contesred EurOpean rule. I have focused here on the multiple levels at which sexual control figured in the substance, as well as the iconography, of racial policy and imperial rule. But colonial politics was notjust about Carnal Knowledge and Imperial Power [31] sex; nor did sexual relations reduce to colonial politics. On the contrary, sex in the colonies was about sexual access and reproduction, class distinctions and racial demarcations, nationalism and European identity*in different measure and not at all at the same time. These major shifts in the positioning ofwomen were not, as we might expect, signaled by the penetration of capitalism per se but by more subtle changes in class politics, imperial morality, and as responses to the vulner— abilities of colonial control. European culture and class politics resonated in colonial settings; class and gender discriminations were transposed into racial distinctions and reverberated in the metro— pole as they were fortified on colonial ground. Sexual control was both an instrumental image for the body politic, a salient part standing for the whole, and itself fundamental ro how racial poli— tics were secured and how colonial projech were carried out. NOTE For a longer and fully—annotated version of this essay, see Micaela di Leonardo. ed., Gender at the Crossroads qunowledge (California, 1991). 51—101. BIBLIOGRAPHY Abatucci. 1910. Le milieu africain consideré au poinr de vue de ses effets sur le systéme nerveux de l'eu- ropéen. 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