The Commerce of Peoples

The Commerce of Peoples : Sadomasochism and African American Literature

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The Commerce of Peoples introduces a new way of reading. It puts into place a sadomasochistic framework which allows for both diachronic and synchronic analysis. By reading sadomasochistic practice as historical and defining it in terms of practices of embodiment, by alternating between analysis and synthesis, between specific texts and general principles, it provides a new theoretical framework and a new methodology for the analysis of literature and culture.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 206 pages
  • 154.94 x 231.14 x 20.32mm | 498.95g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 073916743X
  • 9780739167434
  • 2,186,828

Review quote

The Commerce of Peoples provides an unflinching look at the multifaceted power relations enmeshed in the affective history of sadomasochism as it has emerged in practice over the past several decades. Basu boldly argues that, in order to understand the contemporary intertwining of domination, submission, and desire, we must recognize that its history bears the marks of both slavery and colonialism of the last three centuries and that its utopian effort seeks to unfetter that corporeality. His analysis shows that the most daring and illuminating portrayals of race, gender, and sadomasochism may be found in key texts of African American literature. -- Lee Quinby, Macaulay Honors College, CUNY
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About Biman Basu

Biman Basu is associate professor in the Department of English at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, upstate New York. His research and teaching interests include African American Literature, Globalization, postcolonial and diasporic studies. He has published articles in Callaloo, College Literature, African American Review, Diaspora, Ariel, Public Culture, and other journals. He is interested in the nexus between power and desire, and he addresses this directly in a course on sadomasochism, "Power, Desire, Literature." More generally, he is interested in what he sees as an emergence of different continental and national styles of sadomasochism, in both the public and private spheres, in both the popular-cultural representations of S&M and its social and political implications.
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Table of contents

Chapter One: Introduction Chapter Two: In Theory Chapter Three: Slave Narratives and Sadomasochism Chapter Four: The Genuflected Body of the Masochist Chapter Five: Dominant and Submissive in Protest Literature Chapter Six: Hybrid Embodiment and an Ethics of Masochism Chapter Seven: Perverting Heterosexuality: The Competent Practice of the Object Chapter Eight: Neo-Slave Narratives and Sadomasochism Appendix: A Pragmatics of the Perverse: Nietzsche and Sadomasochism
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