Even though women have been historically underrepresented in official histories and literary and artistic traditions, their voices and writings can be found in abundance in the many archives of the world where they remain to be uncovered. The present volume seeks to recover women’s voices and actions while studying the mechanisms through which they authorized themselves and participated in the creation of texts and documents found in archives of colonial Latin America. Organized according to three main themes, "Censorship and the Body," "Female Authority and Legal Discourse," and "Private Lives and Public Opinions," the essays in this collection focus on women’s knowledge and the discursive traces of their daily concerns found in various colonial genres. Herein we consider women not only as agents of history, but rather as authors of written records produced either by their own hand or by means of dictations, collaborations, or rewritings of their oral renditions. Inhabiting the territories of the Iberian colonies from Peru to New Spain, the women studied in this volume come from different ethnic and social backgrounds, from African slaves to the indigenous elite and to those who arrived from Iberia and were known as "Old Christians." Finally, we have prepared this volume in hopes that the readers will find a particular appeal in archival sources, in lesser-known documents, and in the processes involved in the circulation of knowledge and print culture between the 1500s and the late 1700s.
Introduction: Uncovering Women’s Colonial Archive
Mónica Díaz, and Rocío Quispe–Agnoli
Censorship and the Body
Divine Aspirations: Beatas, Writing, and the Inquisition in Late Seventeenth–Century Lima.
Covert Afro–Catholic Agency in the Mystical Visions of Early Modern Brazil’s Rosa Maria Egipçíaca.
‘In So Celestial a Language’: Text as Body, Relics as Text.
Nancy E. van Deusen
Female Authority and Legal Discourse
In the Shadow of Coatlicue’s Smile: Reconstructing Indigenous Female Subjectivity in the Spanish Colonial Record.
Inca Women Under Spanish Rule: Probanzas and Informaciones of the Colonial Andean Elite.
Sara Vicuña Guenguerich
The Bonds of Inheritance: Afro–Peruvian Women’s Legacies in a Slave–holding World.
Private Lives and Public Opinion
Letters from the Río de La Plata: Agency and Identity in Colonial Women’s Petitions.
Women’s Voices in Eighteenth–Century Spanish American Newspapers.
List of Contributors