Robert Aldrich
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Sex matters
Sexuality and the writing of colonial history
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In 1990, among the first dozen volumes of the Studies in Imperialism series, appeared Ronald Hyam's Empire and Sexuality, a novel and even provocative theme in a field traditionally dominated by theories and practices of colonial governance, the economic balance-sheet of empire and the collaboration and resistance of colonised peoples. Sex had hardly been a topic in imperial history; the establishment of The Journal of the History of Sexuality confirmed the academic legitimacy of the subject. Sexuality and gender appear particularly in terms of the masculine ethos pervading colonialism and the promotion of manly virtues linked to imperial spirit and British patriotism. John MacKenzie himself returned to sexuality in his 1988 volume on hunting, with a theme-packed paragraph reflecting on sexual aspects of the sport. One of the major appearance of sexuality in the Studies in Imperialism series came with Mrinalini Sinha's Colonial Masculinity.

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