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Reviews

"This book teaches us how to read the entwined histories of sexuality and the natural world in the context of the European imperial project in North America, and its deeply researched historical narrative is enlivened by rigorous intersectional thinking. The result is a wonderfully interdisciplinary study that unsettles many habits of the field and points the way forward."

"Greta LaFleur sets out a bold, provocative intellectual and ethical project: how to write the history of sex before sexuality, taking the eighteenth-century British colonial world as her focus. Tracing the logic of sex and race found in natural history through a surprising archive, this promises to be a landmark book in early American studies and the history of sexuality."

"LaFleur offers a wide reappraisal of the conditions of emergence for what was not then, but would become, 'sexuality.' In its attentiveness to an environmental etiology of sexuality, the book does the crucial work of uncoupling sex from the straitjacketed, privatizing frameworks of 'the subject.' An altogether fine accomplishment."

"The fact that sexuality has a ‘natural history’ shouldn’t come as a surprise, but LaFleur’s analysis of the pervasive import of environmental logics to sex in the eighteenth-century British Atlantic is a revelation. With its sophisticated understanding of how racialization proceeds by way of sexual tropes in the annals of natural history, this spirited genealogy is what many of us have been waiting for."

"Greta LaFleur invites readers to consider a different body. The book effectively historicizes categories that are often taken for granted (sex, race, vice, habit), and shows us not only their temporal contingency, but also invites the reader to delve into the strangeness of early modern ontologies and epistemologies. LaFleur ultimately crafts a space of possibility for different futures as well. These are futures of greater intersectional solidarity in which we are invited to think about the collective, and move past the dominance of the individual, the subjective and modern biopoliticized body."

"While LaFleur's work speaks directly to early Americanists and scholars of race, gender, and sexuality, it also merits a far-reaching ecocritical audience... LaFleur offers us a compelling genealogy of environmentally determined sexuality, one that releases sex and sexuality from the individual subject while recognizing the racializing discourses that have shaped and constrained early American theories of sexual variety.""

"LaFleur's provocations are critical toward contending with the histories of those populations who have contested and continue to contest the Euro-American category of human as well as its environmental preconditions and presumed prerogatives."