Laura Chrisman
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Gendering imperialism
Anne McClintock and H. Rider Haggard

This chapter emphasizes gendering imperialism by referring to the work of Anne McClintock and H. Rider Haggard, focusing on McClintock's celebrated Imperial Leather discussion of Haggard's popular and influential imperialist Victorian romance King Solomon's Mines. It depicts the quest for treasure in southern Africa by three British adventurers, who also restore the ‘rightful’ heir to the throne of an African kingdom. The chapter also focuses on the way McClintock analyses the dynamics of labour and degeneration, and explores the political implications of her approach. McClintock suggests that King Solomon's Mines is an allegory of colonial power; specifically, that the novel allegorizes colonial appropriation of African women's reproductive and productive labour. She presents a version of women's reproductive capability in which women are menacingly powerful, regardless of whether they exercise any material control over the reproductive and productive activities of themselves or others.

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Postcolonial contraventions

Cultural readings of race, imperialism and transnationalism


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