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Raising Eurasia: Race, Class, and Age in French and British Colonies

  • David M. Pomfret (a1)

Sexual relationships between European men and indigenous women produced racially mixed offspring in all of Europe's empires. Recent interdisciplinary scholarship has shown how these persons of mixed race, seen as transgressing the interior frontiers of supposedly fixed categories of racial and juridical difference upon which colonizers' prestige and authority rested, posed a challenge to the elaborate but fragile sets of subjective criteria by which “whiteness” was defined. Scholars critiquing the traditional historiography of empire for its tendency to present colonial elites as homogeneous communities pursuing common interests have emphasized the repertoire of exclusionary tactics, constructed along lines of race, class, and gender, devised within European colonial communities in response to the presence of “mixed bloods.” This article aims to show that the presence of people of biracial heritage inspired collaborative as well as exclusionary responses in outposts of European empire during the late imperial era. It also illustrates how, with white prestige and authority at stake, age, age-related subcategories, and in particular childhood and adolescence, powerfully underpinned responses to the threat this group posed to the cultural reproduction of racialized identity.

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Daniel P. S. Goh , “States of Ethnography: Colonialism, Resistance, and Cultural Transcription in Malaya and the Philippines, 1890s–1930s,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 49, 1 (2007), 136

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Loretta Mijares , “‘You Are an Anglo-Indian?’: Eurasians and Hybridity and Cosmopolitanism in Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children,” Journal of Commonwealth Literature 38, 125 (2003), 126

Glenn T. Trewartha , “Recent Thought on the Problem of White Acclimatization in the Wet Tropics,” Geographical Review 16, 3 (1926), 467

Ronald Hyam , “Concubinage and the Colonial Service: The Crewe Circular (1909),” The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 14, 3 (May 1986), 179

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John M. Carroll , “Colonial Hong Kong as a Cultural-Historical Place,” Modern Asian Studies 40, 2 (2006), 534

David M. Pomfret , “‘A Muse for the Masses’: Gender, Age and Nation in France Fin-de-Siècle American Historical Review 109, 5 (2004), 1439–74

Eric Jennings , “From Indochine to Indochic: The Lang Bian/Dalat Palace Hotel and French Colonial Leisure, Power and Culture,” Modern Asian Studies 37, 1 (2003), 159–94

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Comparative Studies in Society and History
  • ISSN: 0010-4175
  • EISSN: 1475-2999
  • URL: /core/journals/comparative-studies-in-society-and-history
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