Deadly and Slick

Deadly and Slick:Sexual Modernity and the Making of Race

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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.


  • 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