Naked Truths: Bodies, Knowledge, and the Erotics of Colonial Power
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 15 February 2013
If clothing can be said to have political and cultural meaning, then the same must surely be true of its absence. In the British Empire, where the calibration of difference was paramount, nakedness acquired hierarchical significance. The sensibilities of the Victorians clashed with those of their colonial subjects on this topic over and over again, and nakedness came to define savagery and subjecthood. Through the optics of scientific literature, popular photography, and art, this essay examines the colonial politics of nakedness, its gendered dynamics, and the tensions between the erotic and the scientific.
- Copyright © The North American Conference on British Studies 2013
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48 With thanks to David Smith of the University of Hong Kong for introducing me to this illustration.
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