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Honor, Status, and Law in Modern Latin America by Sueann Caulfield

Honor, Status, and Law in Modern Latin America


Honor, Status, and Law in Modern Latin America by Sueann Caulfield

This collection brings together recent scholarship that examines how understandings of honor changed in Latin America between political independence in the early nineteenth century and the rise of nationalist challenges to liberalism in the 1930s. These rich historical case studies reveal the uneven processes through which ideas of honor and status came to depend more on achievements such as education and employment and less on the birthright privileges that were the mainstays of honor during the colonial period. Whether considering court battles over lost virginity or police conflicts with prostitutes, vagrants, and the poor over public decorum, the contributors illuminate shifting ideas about public and private spheres, changing conceptions of race, the growing intervention of the state in defining and arbitrating individual reputations, and the enduring role of patriarchy in apportioning both honor and legal rights.Each essay examines honor in the context of specific historical processes, including early republican nation-building in Peru; the transformation in Mexican villages of the cargo system, by which men rose in rank through service to the community; the abolition of slavery in Rio de Janeiro; the growth of local commerce and shifts in women's status in highland Bolivia; the formation of a multiethnic society on Costa Rica's Caribbean coast; and the development of nationalist cultural responses to U.S. colonialism in Puerto Rico. By connecting liberal projects that aimed to modernize law and society with popular understandings of honor and status, this volume sheds new light on broad changes and continuities in Latin America over the course of the long nineteenth century. Contributors. Jose Amador de Jesus, Rossana Barragan, Sueann Caulfield, Sidney Chalhoub, Sarah C. Chambers, Eileen J. Findley, Brodwyn Fischer, Olivia Maria Gomes da Cunha, Laura Gotkowitz, Keila Grinberg, Peter Guardino, Cristiana Schettini Pereira, Lara Elizabeth Putnam


[T]he volume offers a wealth of historical and ethnographic detail. . . . The strength of the book lies in the drawing together of studies from different parts of Latin America. . . . [T]he volume is further enriched by the inclusion of what is, for historians, an unusual but promising approach: that of including a (historical) analysis of literary works. . . . [T]he collection offers an effective yet insightful introduction to the theme of honour, and, more especially, the interplay between honour and the law. -- Tanja Christiansen * Journal of Latin American Studies * This book will change how we view the long nineteenth century in Latin America, as it allows the reader to weave into the same cloth the two strands that ran through, respectively, the liberal state and postcolonial society, namely, the drive to form citizens and the desire to maintain status hierarchies. -Teresita Martinez-Vergne, author of Shaping the Discourse on Space: Charity and Its Wards in Nineteenth-Century San Juan, Puerto Rico Honor, Status, and Law in Modern Latin America makes an important contribution to the historical understanding of `honor
by examining its relationship to state formation, the law, sexuality, and racial mores. The creative and interesting essays, from scholars based both in Latin America and elsewhere, show the interplay of national and regional culture in how honor was understood and used in day

-to-day social relations. -Jeffrey Lesser, Negotiating National Identity: Immigrants, Minorities, and the Struggle for Ethnicity in Brazil

About the Author

Sueann Caulfield is Associate Professor of History at the University of Michigan. She is the author of In Defense of Honor: Sexual Morality, Modernity, and Nation in Early Twentieth-century Brazil, also published by Duke University Press. Sarah C. Chambers is Associate Professor of History at the University of Minnesota. She is the author of From Subjects to Citizens: Honor, Gender, and Politics in Arequipa, Peru, 1780-1854. Lara Putnam is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Pittsburgh. She is the author of The Company They Kept: Migrants and the Politics of Gender in Caribbean Costa Rica, 1870-1960.

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Book Info

Publication date

8th June 2005


Sueann Caulfield

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Duke University Press


344 pages


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