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The Devil's LaneSex and Race in the Early South$
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Catherine Clinton and Michele Gillespie

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780195112436

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195112436.001.0001

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“Changed … into the Fashion of Man” The Politics of Sexual Difference in a Seventeenth-Century Anglo-American Settlement

“Changed … into the Fashion of Man” The Politics of Sexual Difference in a Seventeenth-Century Anglo-American Settlement

Chapter:
(p.39) 4 “Changed … into the Fashion of Man” The Politics of Sexual Difference in a Seventeenth-Century Anglo-American Settlement
Source:
The Devil's Lane
Author(s):

Kathleen M. Brown

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195112436.003.0004

This chapter discusses the gender identity of Thomas Hall and how it stirred controversy among the residents of Warraskoyack, Virginia, a small English settlement. It explains that Hall's case presents a nonetheless richly detailed glimpse of an early modern community's response to gender transgression, exposing to view a multiplicity of popular beliefs about sexual difference and the variety of uses to which they could be put by groups of people with different stakes in the social order. The Hall case not only provides documentary evidence of maleness and femaleness, but offers an opportunity to reconstruct what people might call “beliefs-in-action.” Hall's case also offers a unique chance to compare popular concepts of sexual difference. The chapter discusses how Hall was denied the right to choose a single identity—a marked departure from the usual European treatment of hermaphrodites.

Keywords:   sexual difference, 17th century, Anglo-American, Thomas Hall, Warraskoyack, gender transgression, hermaphrodite, maleness, femaleness, beliefs-in-action

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