SPN 350 • Colonial Woman's Voices: Writing in and outside the convent in the Viceroyalty of Peru
12:30 PM-2:00 PM
Since almost the entirety of the earliest known writings by women in Latin America were composed within covenant walls, we will focus first on the autobiographical model provided by Santa Teresa de Jesus (Spain). Then we will examine the writings of the mystic Madre Castillo (Colombia,) and the maverick, Ursula Suarez (Chile), and of those nuns who wrote outside the conventional literary canon permissible to women: Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz (Mexico), and the erstwhile nun, cross-dressed soldier in the Crown's service in the Andes, known as La Monja Alferez. Based on historical sources, we will trace the beginnings of theater through women's roles as actresses and co-owners of drama troupes for which they would adapt scripts of Spanish Golden Age plays to the end of the XVIII century when dramaturgues, such as Sor manuela Galvez (Peru), one among several anonymous female playwrights who scripted plays for convent audiences. By the end of the XVIII century these plays, reminiscent of early Spanish theater, contain roles consonant with the social order in the Viceroyalty for Black, Indian, and Mestizo voices. Since women figure prominently in judicial proceedings, we will discuss ways in which Indian women indirectly write by giving testimony in secular trials for redress of wrongful treatment, and in ecclesiastical hearings where, as officiants in native religious practice, they are tried for sorcery.
Homework: assignments on background readings and class discussion 35% Mid-Term paper 25% End-of-Course paper 30% Class presentation on a final paper 10%.
Required readings in Course Packet (available at the Co-Op) Brides of Christ in the women in Colonial Latin America by Susan Migden Soolow (2000) Selected chapters from Women's Spiritual Autobiography in Colonial Spanish America by Kristine Isben, (1999) Writing of the Frontier: Blurring Gender and Genre in the Monja Alferez's Account by Kathleen Ann Mayers (2001)