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1. The Intimacies of Four Continents 1 2. Autobiography Out of Empire 43 3. A Fetishism of Colonial Commodities 73 4. The Ruses of Liberty 101 5. Freedoms Yet to Come 135 Acknowledgments 177 Notes 181 References 269 Index 305
Lisa Lowe is Professor of English and American Studies at Tufts University. She is the author of Immigrant Acts: On Asian American Cultural Politics and the coeditor of The Politics of Culture in the Shadow of Capital, both also published by Duke University Press.
"[A] work crucial for thinking not only about the history of modernity and empire but also about our enduring and decisive enterprise as readers." -- Harrod J Suarez * MELUS * "The Intimacies of Four Continents will undoubtedly remain a touchstone text for those working...and struggling against those operations that continue to pronounce colonial divisions of humanity at once globally and in their local, regional, and differential instantiations." -- Hossein Ayazi * Qui Parle * "Reading The Intimacies of Four Continents will change the way we look at global (and national) histories forever." -- Etsuko Taketani * Journal of American History * "Among the many fascinating contributions of the book, I found one of the most arresting to be Lowe's suggestion in her voluminous discursive footnotes that contemporary neoliberalism, with its emphasis on 'human capital' around the world, needs to be linked with its prehistory of racialized commodification of people. For that insight alone, Lowe's panoramic study is more than worth reading." -- Samuel Moyn * Canadian Journal of History * "[An] important asset to anyone interested in not just themes of colonialism, labour, trade, and slavery, and of Chinese Canadian prairie history respectively, but also critical methodologies-of how to read intimately for relations between people and communities and in relation across time and space-in order to grasp the possibilities of knowing that lie among what has been assumed unknowable, erased, or forgotten." -- Stephanie Fung * Canadian Literature * "Lisa Lowe's ambitious new book is a reminder of the deft footwork now required of anyone attempting to negotiate this tricky terrain. In The Intimacies of Four Continents she aligns herself with postcolonial scholars like Ann Laura Stoler, Antoinette Burton, or Nayan Shah who have each provided a distinctive take on how `the "intimate" sphere of sexual, reproductive, or household relations' served as `a site of empire'." -- David Glover * New Formations * "This is a challenging book, which should be read by all those interested in the history of capitalism and the formation of the social sciences. ...There is much to enjoy in each of these chapters, especially, the dialectical interweaving of liberal conceptions and their negation, and the careful delineation of context and claim. Ultimately, however, the book is a dissection of liberalism and its fractured and fracturing presence in the modern world." -- John Holmwood * Theory, Culture & Society * "Lowe combines a sustained and critical interrogation of some key archival, literary, and philosophical texts with a probing analysis of the entangled histories of settler-colonialism, African slave trade, and trade in Asian goods and peoples in the Americas in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The outcome is nothing short of a world-history of liberal thought that pays unwavering attention to the coercive and discriminatory practices that make such thought possible. This is 'history of the present' in the best sense of that expression; it troubles our most familiar and intimate assumptions. A serious and remarkable achievement." -- Dipesh Charkrabarty, coeditor of * Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference * "The Intimacies of Four Continents is an unprecedented work of literary, social, and political inquiry. Lisa Lowe patiently interweaves disparate global histories of economic and racial subjection and in the process opens up a new future for comparative literary studies both more critical and capacious. At stake in Lowe's analysis is not only a rethinking of the relation between the political and the aesthetic, but also the very ideas of culture and universality that has come to dominate academic thought." -- Judith Butler, author of * Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence *