Sex and Conquest

Sex and Conquest : Gender Construction and Political Order During the European Conquest of the Americas

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This is the first study of early American sexuality at the time of the Conquests, examining the sexual relations, mainly between males, that the conquerors more

Product details

  • Hardback | 304 pages
  • 156 x 230 x 30mm | 598.75g
  • Polity Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0745607276
  • 9780745607276
  • 1,772,765

Back cover copy

This highly original book is the first study of American sexuality at the time of the Conquests. It examines the sexual relations, mainly between males, that the Spaniards and Portuguese encountered when they entered various parts of the Americas from 1492 until around 1750. Trexler focuses above all on the native American berdaches or "she-men" - the biological males in tribes across the Americas who, in all possible ways, imitated women throughout their lifetimes. The author explores in detail the reactions of the Spaniards and the Portuguese to the appearance and behavior of the berdaches, using this as a way to reflect on European sexuality, on sexual relations in the Americas and on the relations - sexual and otherwise - between conquerors and conquered. The main argument of the book is that much of the homosexual behavior and transvestism encountered by the Iberians resulted from social constraints among the American tribes themselves. Trexler shows that the sexual attitudes of the Americans were not at all like the innocent freedom that some commentators have imagined. The analysis of the berdaches, and of the native Americans' despisal of them, therefore helps to shed light on the forms of social and political organization and on the kinds of coercion and abuse which existed in the Americas at the time of the Conquests. This book will disrupt some conventional ways of thinking and will stimulate fresh debate about the role of sexuality in the conquest of the more

About Richard Trexler

Richard C. Trexler is Professor of History, State University of New York at more

Table of contents

List of Illustrations. Introduction. 1. Backgrounds. 2. Iberian Experiences. 3. The Military and Diplomatic Berdache. 4. The Domestic Berdache: Becoming. 5. The Religious Berdache. 6. On the Ground. 7. Attitudes and Assessments. 8. Yesterday and Today. Notes. Bibliography. more

Review quote

"An absolutely fascinating book on male sexual culture in Europe and the Americas during the Conquest which will shock and take onea s breath away." Ramon Gutierrez, University of California, San Diego "Sex and Conquest is a persuasive tour de force of deserted histories." Gerald Vizenor, University of California, Berkeley "In its exposure of the links between sexual abuse of boys and the sexualized subordination of women, Sex and Conquest offers a rare insight into gender inequality. Richard Trexlera s analysis of male dominance in sacred and secular hierarchies offers evidence and depth, as well as sweep and vision." Catherine A. MacKinnon "His brutally unromantic conclusions are sure to provoke much--needed debate." Eugene Rice, Columbia University "Readable and informative, Trexlera s book undeniably brings new complexity to conventional understandings of conquest." Historyshow more

Rating details

18 ratings
2.88 out of 5 stars
5 6% (1)
4 44% (8)
3 11% (2)
2 11% (2)
1 28% (5)
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