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Power, Place and Representation

Contested Sites of Dependence and Independence in Latin America

Series:

Bill Richardson and Lorraine Kelly

Questions about dependence and independence are of crucial importance in relation to Latin America, given the region’s history and its current situation. They are particularly relevant at this time, with the bicentenary of independence being celebrated throughout the region. This book examines central issues relating to these two notions in the Latin American context, offering twelve different studies of the themes in question, six of which cover sociology and politics and six of which examine topics in literary and cultural studies. The breadth of the subject matter considered in the volume reflects the wide range of issues that the ideas of dependence and independence raise in this political and geographical context, including, among others: identity, hegemony, wealth and poverty, discursive power, the role of civil society, language and gender. The contributors offer new insights into the fields examined, from discussions of the significance of cultural products such as literary works and films to a consideration of the validity of the concept of independence to ongoing efforts to alleviate poverty and assert national autonomy. As a uniquely interdisciplinary and multi-focused collection of essays, the book offers readers an excellent overview of these issues as they relate to Latin America today.

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Part II Literature and Film

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Catherine Davies Gendered Interpretations of Independence Poetry: Mexico and Peru, 1820–1822 During the Independence period in Spanish America, as elsewhere, women were denied political rights and citizenship, despite the fact that republican discourse stressed the importance of the rights of individuals and recognized women as civil subjects. As Rina Villars has convincingly demonstrated, women’s exclusion from political citizenship was seldom explicit in the vari- ous constitutional texts. Rather, as in the 1812 Constitution of Cadiz, their exclusion was taken for granted because it was assumed that women were by nature, like children, incapable of political participation (Villars 2009: 293). Nevertheless, women contributed in important ways to the making of public culture at the time, through writing and through a range of other activities that detected and negotiated the conceptual dif ficulties associated with issues such as the public–private distinction and determinist theories of human nature. An initial interrogation of these questions was carried out in the context of the AHRC research project ‘Gendering Latin American Independence: Women’s Political Culture and the Textual Construction of Gender 1790–1850’, which ran between 2001 and 2006.1 Since 2006, in the run-up to the bicentenary celebrations, the focus on women and gender in historical and literary studies has strengthened considerably in Spanish America and Spain. One example of this enthusiastic response is the rich on-line resource and activities provided by the Centro de Estudios 1 The results of this research can be seen on the project’s web page (http://www. genderlatam. org.uk/index.php)...

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