Gender and Empire as a subfield of world history goes beyond the study of the men and women who made and unmade empires. Intimacies generated ties that facilitated or impeded the modernization of family and nation, demarcating contact zones. Bodies–adorned, fetishized, public–displayed and negotiated imperial relations. Detritus, the material remains of empire and intimacy, lodged itself in the institutions and discourses of modernity. When world historians talk across boundaries and borders, we situate disjointed ruins in broader trends and patterns, without which they are mere curiosities. Assembled here: a Chinese scalp; a silver buckle from Malaya; a bawdy cartoon from Hanoi; a hybrid recipe from Nigeria; dossiers from Lebanon and El Salvador; government orders promoting or suppressing prostitution… Confined to a national or even imperial history, such fragments do not tell us anything about coloniality. Here they do.