Sex, Love, Race

Crossing Boundaries in North American History

416 pages

January, 1999

ISBN: 9780814735572



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Martha Hodes is Assistant Professor of History at New York University and author of White Women, Black Men: Illicit Sex in the Nineteenth-Century American South.

All books by Martha Hodes

Since pre-colonial days, America has been both torn apart and united by love, sex, and marriage across racial boundaries. Whether motivated by violent conquest, economics, lust, or love, such unions have disturbed some of America's most sacred beliefs and prejudices.

Sex, Love, Race provides a historical foundation for contemporary discussions of sex across racial lines, which, despite the numbers of interracial marriages and multiracial children, remains a controversial issue today. The first historical anthology to focus solely and widely on the subject, Sex, Love, Race gathers new essays by both younger and well-known scholars which probe why and how the specter of sex across racial boundaries has so threatened Americans of all colors and classes.

Traversing the whole of American history, from liaisons among Indians, Europeans, and Africans to twentieth-century social scientists' fascination with sex between "Orientals" and whites, the essays cover a range of regions, races, ethnicities, and sexual orientations. In so doing, Sex, Love, Race, sketches a larger portrait of the overlapping construction of racial, ethnic, and sexual identities in America.


  • "In editing this collection, Martha Hodes has performed an invaluable service to those of us in the profession who endeavor to teach what has been the focus of our own scholarship: race and sex."

    The Journal of Southern History

  • "Important. . . . The breadth of human experience and historical subfields traversed by the authors is astonishing."

    Journal of Social History

  • "Hodes has compiled a thoughtful collection of essays which explore the implications of interracial sexual activity from the colonial period to the late 20th century."

    Virginia Quarterly Review