Friday, September 24, 2010

Public Lives Private Secrets: Gender, Honor, Sexuality, and Illegitimacy in Colonial Spanish America by Ann Twinam

In a way, it is a book about sex in colonial Latin America, but it is really more about the consequences for all of the people involved. Men and women paid for sexual indiscretions differently, illegitimate children were stained without honor, and people paid large sums of money to have the crown award them legitimacy. Fascinating really.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Feminist Theory from Margin to Center by bell hooks

Ok, I have some issues with this book. That may stem from the fact that I happen to be middle class and white, exactly like the people hooks thinks is the problem in the feminist movement. It is difficult to read chapter after chapter that are down on white women. That being said, she does have some valid and interesting points. For example, she sees racism, classism and sexism as interconnected problems. She is abrasive and revolutionary, but she brings a necessary angle to the debate. Maybe some day race will not make a damn bit of difference.

Genealogical Fictions: Limpieza de Sangre, Religion, and Gender in Colonial Mexico by María Elena Martínez

Copied directly from my weekly paper: Martínez’s book examines the emergence of the concept of limpieza de sangre, traces its exportation to Mexico, and studies the way the system changed to become more secularized. The reliance on transatlantic institutions to prove purity claims kept the system from dying out in Spain and reinforced its importance in Mexico. Limpieza de sangre was intimately tied to religion and gender but was never a monolithic concept.

Limpieza de sangre=purity of blood

Thursday, September 9, 2010

For Glory and Bolívar: The Remarkable Life of Manuela Sáenz by Pamela Murray

Remarkable was a good word choice to describe la Libertadora. Her relationships with powerful men (such as Bolívar) put her in a position to have a certain amount of influence in Latin America's "Age of Revolution." She might not have been a transvestite, but she certainly challenged gender roles and social conventions in her own way.

Modern Latin America by Thomas Skidmore and Peter Smith

I got my syllabus for my Latin America Historiography class, and it had a section saying that if I did not have a background in Latin American history, I needed to read one of the listed books to get an overview. So I borrowed this book from my professor and spent many hours learning about the period from independence up through the early 21st century. General trends: economies went wonky, much coffee was grown and politics were tumultuous. Latin America is fascinating.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Sovereignty and Revolution in the Iberian Atlantic by Jeremy Adelman

Let me start by saying I have no real background in Latin American history, and this book is definitely not the one to read if you are a casual reader of history. Not at all. Adelman focuses on economics and politics and the roles they played in Latin American sovereignty before and during the revolutions. There was much discussion of merchants and boats. It seems like he is developing the historiography of the subject, but I do not think that you can get a clear picture of the topic while ignoring social history and half of the population. Women were there too, man.

Graduate School

It's official. I'm back in school. This fact has a couple of implications for this project:

- My reading is getting very topical. For example, trying to figure out how to take pictures for eleven books that are all about Latin American history is going to be interesting. I suggest you check back to see my creativity (or lack thereof--we'll see which wins).
- It is going to take me a bit more time to put up pictures. In the past there has not been much lapse between me reading and me posting. Oh, how times are changing!

So if you find yourself wondering, "What exactly does a graduate student do with her time?" feel free to check in and see the fascinating books I will be reading.