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Faithful BodiesPerforming Religion and Race in the Puritan Atlantic$
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Heather Miyano Kopelson

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781479805006

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479805006.001.0001

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“Abominable mixture and spurious issue”

“Abominable mixture and spurious issue”

(p.219) 9 “Abominable mixture and spurious issue”
Faithful Bodies

Heather Miyano Kopelson

NYU Press

This chapter explores concepts of and language about sinfulness and uncleanness in English and European references to interracial sex during the seventeenth century. It argues that such concepts were based in religious attitudes about all sex outside marriage, not interracial sex in particular, while the complex meaning of “mixt” was connected to beliefs about the possibilities for the incorporation of outsiders into the body politic. It considers the 1691 Virginia law which decreed exile for “whatsoever English or other white man or woman being free shall intermarry with a negro, mulatto, or Indian man or woman bond or free.” It also examines the English's use of the concept of “abomination” to describe much more than interracial intimacy and the resulting children, along with the rhetorical aspects of “abominable” and “mixt” in relation to the severe punishments for unlawful sex endured most often by people of color and by white women.

Keywords:   sinfulness, uncleanness, interracial sex, religious attitudes, body politic, Virginia, abomination, unlawful sex, white women, people of color

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