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A history of the women of Mexico and their agency: Goddesses, queens, translators, and nuns
De Vos, Paula
Ben, PabloHua, Anh
Investigating written accounts and illustrations provide some excellent methods for analyzing the lives of women before, during, and after the conquest of Mexico. We are allowed a foretaste into their extraordinary lives and witness the avenues available to women from all economic and social backgrounds. The overall purpose of this thesis is to explore the evolution of women in Mexico chronologically before European contact, as well as during and after the conquest of Mexico, to demonstrate women’s autonomy and resilience. Women during the fifteenth through the eighteenth centuries consciously employed a variety of survival techniques to empower themselves both through social and economic statuses. Women like Doña Marina willingly became the translator for Cortés and paved her way to prominence, Queen Isabel de Moctezuma used the Spanish court system in order to fight the encroachment of her land, and Sor Juana Inez de la Cruz became a nun in order to educate herself and other women with literature. Women like these were important to the overall history of Mexico because they used their autonomy in order to survive and resist. Moreover, visual, role and textual modes of analysis will be employed to examine the experiences of women in Mexico from all backgrounds during these three significant stages of Mexico. In doing so, this paper will have created a comprehensive history of the women in Mexico as they progress through their ever-changing history, in hopes to demonstrate their resilience and agency that these women held throughout time. The first chapter will explore the concepts of madness and sanity and how they were used to label certain individuals in pre-contact Mexico. The second chapter will look at two specific case studies that include Doña Marina and Queen Isabel de Moctezuma. Both of these women made choices that allowed them to survive the onslaught of the conquest. Finally, the third chapter will explore a handful of case studies during the post-conquest era that deals with Casta women and their resilience. Along with these case studies, a case study of Sor Juana Inez de la Cruz will wrap up the whole of the thesis.
Arts and Letters
San Diego State University
Master of Arts (M.A.) San Diego State University, 2019
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