Albert R. Spencer
Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Arts and Letters and University Honors
Arts & Letters
colonization, gender, sexuality, perversion, deviance, scientific racism
Drawing from Thomas Aquinas' Theory of Natural Law, I investigate Euro-Christian conceptions of naturalness and unnaturalness and how they were weaponized to cast racialized groups as perverse in the construction of the United States. I focus on the enforcement of Euro-heteropatriarchy to demonize Indigenous family and gender structures, as well as the characterization of Black bodies as abnormal by white academia to demonstrate some of the ways gender and sexuality have been colonized in the U.S. My research provides a general outline tracing a genealogy of deviance as established by Euro-Christian norms of sexuality and gender, which emerges from a religious sphere and develops into an academic one. I connect events and structures of conquest, settler colonialism, and slavery to the Enlightenment and the emergence (and consequences) of scientific racism and eugenic thought in America. My conclusion highlights avenues of sexual decolonization and resurgence taking place in colonized groups, pointing to the importance of erotic knowledge and the Sovereign Erotic in the process of reclaiming colonized bodies and minds.
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Lyell, J D., "Perversion: A Genealogy of Deviance and Creation of the "Other"" (2022). University Honors Theses. Paper 1172.