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7 - Beyond Heroes and Heroines

Gendering Latin American Independence

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 March 2023

Marcela Echeverri
Affiliation:
Yale University, Connecticut
Cristina Soriano
Affiliation:
The University of Texas, Austin
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Summary

Historiography has long relegated women’s roles in Latin American independence to stories of heroines who left home to support the movement only to return once battles were won. This chapter argues, by contrast, that shifting models of femininity and masculinity were central to a political transformation from colonies governed by paternal monarchs to republics that celebrated national fraternity among male citizens. Using intersectional analysis, it traces the multiple ways in which roles for both women and men of various social strata were in flux from the eighteenth century through independence. By the mid-nineteenth century, ideologies of separate spheres became dominant, allowing elite and middling women to extend their maternal influence into educational and charitable endeavors, but only by mobilizing as women. Poor women and women of color could neither live up to domestic ideals nor earn rights, like their male peers, through military service or as household heads. Rather than simply a colonial legacy of patriarchal domination, then, gender norms changed as women went from sharing with men differentiated ranks as colonial subjects to their exclusion from citizenship.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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