Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
This dissertation reconstructs the gender and sexuality structures of Indigenous Illinois society in order to explain how these structures, including the Illinois recognition of four genders, guided French colonization in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. I argue that while the Illinois has considerable military, economic, and diplomatic power throughout their relationship with the French, French colonists established a stable foothold in Illinois by mobilizing their knowledge of Illinois gender and sexuality. At the same time, the Illinois drew on French and Native gender practices to contain French expansion and behavior. From this understanding of Illinois gender structures, it becomes clear that the Illinois-French relationship was not that of a parent to a child, as the French then cast it, but rather a marriage. As such, this dissertation plots French colonization in terms of Native marriage, which recognizes both that the French were a colonizing force and that the Illinois had considerable power throughout the encounters.
© The Author
Kleber, Michaela Y., "Gendered Societies, Sexual Empires: French Colonization Among The Illinois" (2020). Dissertations, Theses, and Masters Projects. Paper 1593091816.