Redacting Desire: The Sexual Politics of Colonial Science in the Eighteenth-Century Atlantic World


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




“Redacting Desire” offers an alternate reading of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century naturalist print culture by demonstrating how sexual desire, intimacy, and domination were entwined with observational science in the Caribbean natural world. This project foregrounds the centrality of women of color to the writings of colonial scientists, analyzing the ways in which interracial sexual encounters, while important to the experiences of men of science, were redacted from the production of transatlantic travel narratives and natural histories. Each chapter considers modes of literary redaction, such as coded diaries and edited manuscripts, as systems of knowledge creation within enlightenment-era observational science. Interdisciplinary in scope, this research places gender and sexuality at the forefront of the history of New World science.