Public Lives, Private Secrets: Gender, Honor, Sexuality, and Illegitimacy in Colonial Spanish America

TitlePublic Lives, Private Secrets: Gender, Honor, Sexuality, and Illegitimacy in Colonial Spanish America
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication1999
AuthorsTwinam, Ann
Number of Pages447
PublisherStanford University Press
CityStanford, CA
Abstract

"Throughout the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, illegitimate offspring of elite families in colonial Spanish America appealed to the Council and Camara of the Indies in Spain to purchase gracias al sacar legitimations. Their applications provided intimate testimony concerning their own lives, accounts of their parents' sexual relationships, and details regarding the impact of illegitimacy within their families and communities. Bourbon officials in Spain debated which petitions merited approval, and in the process forged policies concerning gender, sexuality, illegitimacy, and the family." "Colonial elites distinguished between a private circle of family, kin, and intimate friends and a public world where status (honor) was negotiated with outside peers. This bifurcation was distinct yet permeable; an individual might "pass" to negotiate a public status different from a private reality. Thus, an unwed mother might enjoy the public reputation that she was a virgin, the bastard son of a priest might be treated as legitimate, and a mulatto could be transformed into someone white."--Jacket.

Short TitlePublic Lives, Private Secrets
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39982050

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