Deadly and Slick: Sexual Modernity and the Making of Race (Paperback)

Deadly and Slick: Sexual Modernity and the Making of Race By Sita Balani Cover Image

Deadly and Slick: Sexual Modernity and the Making of Race (Paperback)


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A groundbreaking new analysis of the making of modernity, sexuality and race

If race is increasingly understood to be socially constructed, why does it continue to seem like a physiological reality? The trickery of race, Sita Balani argues, comes down to how it is embedded in everyday life through the domain we take to be most intimate and essential: sexuality. Modernity inaugurates a new political subject made legible as an individual through the nuclear family, sexual adventure and the pursuit of romantic love. By examining the regulation of sexual life at Britain's borders, in colonial India, and through the functioning of the welfare state, marriage laws, education, and counterterrorism, Balani reveals that sexuality has become fatally intertwined with the making of race.
Dr. Sita Balani is a lecturer in English at Queen Mary University of London. She is the co-author of Empire's Endgame. She has published in Vice, Tribune, the White Review, Novara, Salvage, Ceasefire, Five Dials, Wasafiri, and Open Democracy. She has appeared on BBC3 and Novara Media, and is a regular speaker at events on anti-racism, feminism, education, sexuality, and colonial history.
Product Details ISBN: 9781839761027
ISBN-10: 1839761024
Publisher: Verso
Publication Date: May 16th, 2023
Pages: 224
Language: English
“Through an astounding display of Sita Balani’s skill and care with the craft of writing, Deadly and Slick collapses the binary categories of race, gender and sexuality to show how they are co-constitutive of each other. Read this book if you want to break through the myopia of more shallow discussions about how identity interacts with politics and follow Balani into deeper analytical realms.”
—Kojo Koram, author of Uncommon Wealth

“Smart, lucid and funny—an urgently needed account of the colonial histories and troubling presents that shape the politics of racism and sexuality. How can we understand how the powerful mobilise our desires and affinities in ways that deplete all our lives? Reading Balani will help you understand why we want the things we want, and also how we can start to see what we really need.”
—Gargi Bhattacharya, author of Rethinking Racial Capitalism

“A fascinating, well-researched read. Balani not only throws a retrospective spotlight on the mercurial fluidity of race, gender, class, sexuality and culture in the colonial project, she digs into the crevices to expose every lethal outcome.”
—Stella Dadzie, author of A Kick in the Belly

“An essential and lucid analysis of the long-standing but changing relationship between sexuality and race. A must read.”
—Maya Goodfellow, author of Hostile Environment

Deadly and Slick is a coruscating history of marriage, empire, racecraft, the capitalist family, and the rise of ‘affective individualism,’ distilling the very best of contemporary anti-colonial, queer and marxist theorizing, while weaving together stories about ‘inchoate fascists’ ranging from Lord Kitchener to Priti Patel, and from Raj-era memsahibs to QAnon. Sita Balani has distilled complex ideas about the Möbius strip of race and sex into clear and pleasurable prose that takes the reader on a grim tour of the taxonomical imagination in colonial societies, all the way from Carl Linnaeus to Jordan Peterson, with important albeit discomfiting conclusions for contemporary feminist politics.”
—Sophie Lewis, author of Abolish the Family and Full Surrogacy Now

Deadly and Slick is admirably nimble in navigating social and historical moving parts, all the while unfolding a compelling and coherent view of how racialisation has clung to the ‘common sense’ in contemporary Britain. Balani does the difficult and sometimes unglamorous intellectual work of wading through the rubble of the everyday and is rewarded with an original explosion and synthesis of high concepts. The book’s excavation of subjectivity shuns pat psychologisation; its structural analysis moves beyond the stale and inert. Exciting reading for anyone who has been seeking new tools for understanding some of of the enduring ugliness of ‘sexual modernity.’”
—Amber Husain, author of Replace Me and Meat Love: An Ideology of the Flesh