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date: 26 April 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This essay reflects on intersectionality as a perspective in early modern studies, and how it can be brought into productive conversation with the question of embodiment. It argues that we can use recent work on gender and sexuality in non-Western contexts to rethink our understanding of these categories, and also their relationship to racial and colonial history. It then looks at some key writings about the black body in the medieval and early modern periods to show how their concern with the question of embodiment, or how the physical attributes of the body (such as skin colour), is connected to what lies inside (be that the soul, or religious faith, or particular moral traits, sexual desire, or fluids and secretions that ensure procreation), helps us understand the intimacy of the vocabularies of race and global contact with those of gender and sexuality.

Keywords: intersectionality, black body, race, sexuality, embodiment

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