Document Type


Department or Administrative Unit

Political Science

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The author traces the evolving politics of sexuality in North America and its connections to the expropriation of resources from oppressed populations in what has become the United States of America. To help illustrate the evolution of the politics of sexuality over time, the author interprets messages emanating from Sigmund Freud's Civilization and Its Discontents (1930) and Herbert Marcuse's Eros and Civilization (first published in 1955), One-Dimensional Man (1964), and An Essay on Liberation (1969). The author offers a comparative interpretation of literary portrayals of forbidden heterosexual liaisons between American Indian men and Anglo women and erotic lesbian liaisons between Latina women. Captivity narratives written by Anglos as they "civilized" North America help to illuminate connections between the oppression of sexuality and the expropriation of resources from American Indians. The women they portray only rarely expressed their own voice—and almost never to declare, define, or celebrate their women's sexuality. Over time, however, we can observe a gradual change in norms governing the sexual conduct of Euroamerican women vis-à-vis Indian men, as civilization comes to dominate the Americas. Celebrations of lesbian sexuality by twentieth century Chicana writers constitute a force that opposes oppression of peoples of all genders and ethnic identities. Their voices tell us about the power of love to heal the lives of the exploited and generate a new vision of hope for oppressed peoples, and they urge us to recreate the world to make vilification and exploitation unacceptable.


This is the author's manuscript of an article published in Frontiers: A Journal of Women's Studies.


Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies


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