Webbed Connectivities

The Imperial Sociology of Sex, Gender, and Sexuality

2022
Author:

Vrushali Patil

Constructing a new approach for centering empire in productions of racialized, gendered, and sexualized difference

Webbed Connectivities offers a global historical sociology that reembeds the United States within histories of empire, situating the emergence of northern and U.S.-based concepts and frameworks squarely within these histories. It explores the theoretical spaces that spotlighting imperial hierarchies within knowledge production might open, including making productive and essential connections across sites of the global south and north.

Singular and groundbreaking! Webbed Connectivities undercuts U.S. sociology’s investments in colonial legacies, epistemologies, and categories. Vrushali Patil brilliantly shows that gender and sexuality are neither universal nor Western categories but are, instead, products of intricate transnational webs of racial and imperial entanglements. The eye-opening research and piercing arguments make it impossible to return to the business of gender and sexuality (and sociology) as usual.

Jyoti Puri, author of Sexual States: Governance and the Struggle over the Antisodomy Law in India

One of the oldest, most persistent issues in gender and sexuality studies is the dominance of white, northern theorizing and its consequences for what we know about sex, gender, and sexuality. There is an ongoing neglect of the significance of histories of empire and coloniality, particularly in U.S. sociology, where the United States and its theoretical productions are routinely sanitized of such histories. In Webbed Connectivities, Vrushali Patil offers a global historical sociology that reembeds the United States within histories of empire, situating the emergence of northern and U.S.-based concepts and frameworks squarely within these histories.

Webbed Connectivities intercepts the political economy of knowledge production within the social sciences to argue for the work of centering the role of imperial hierarchies in knowledge production and circulation. Patil develops a new approach, webbed connectivities, which tracks imperial processes and impacts across borders, shifting from an emphasis on particular experiences and identities to the constitution and creation of the categories themselves.

A sociologist of feminist thought and gender and sexuality studies, Patil explores the theoretical spaces that spotlighting imperial hierarchies within knowledge production might open, including making productive and essential connections across sites of the global south and north.

Cover alt text: White box holding looping colored lines. Some lines escape box into pale green border where author and title appear.

Vrushali Patil is associate professor of sociology and chair of the Department of Global and Sociocultural Studies at Florida International University. She has published in Ethnic and Racial Studies, Sociological Theory, Signs, Theory and Society, and Gender & Society, among other journals, and is author of Negotiating Decolonization in the United Nations: Politics of Space, Identity, and International Community.

Singular and groundbreaking! Webbed Connectivities undercuts U.S. sociology’s investments in colonial legacies, epistemologies, and categories. Vrushali Patil brilliantly shows that gender and sexuality are neither universal nor Western categories but are, instead, products of intricate transnational webs of racial and imperial entanglements. The eye-opening research and piercing arguments make it impossible to return to the business of gender and sexuality (and sociology) as usual.

Jyoti Puri, author of Sexual States: Governance and the Struggle over the Antisodomy Law in India

Vrushali Patil has written a historically informed and theoretically rich text that will transform how global and transnational sociologists think about the intersection of sexuality, race, and empire. Through careful historical study and nuanced theoretical engagement, Webbed Connectivities challenges many of our extant concepts while offering a path forward for new and exciting work.

Zine Magubane, Boston College

Vrushali Patil's Webbed Connectivities analyzes how empire occupies the concepts we use to think gender and sexuality. In doing so, the book provincializes both those concepts and the procedures that make up the sociology of sex and gender. May the field of sociology learn this book's lessons and learn them well.

Roderick A. Ferguson, author of One-Dimensional Queer

Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction: Where Is the Transnational (and the Imperial)?

1. The Heterosexual Matrix as Imperial Effect

2. The Biopolitics of Binary Bodies: Considering Scale, Race, and Empire

3. The Special Oriental Vice, the Savage Vice, and the Sexual Furor: Racial-Imperial Webs and the Invention of “Modern” Sexuality

4. The Reordering of Empire and the American Invention of Gender

Conclusion: Locating the Transnational and the Imperial

Notes

Bibliography

Index