Sexuality in Colonial Spanish America

TitleSexuality in Colonial Spanish America
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsLavrín, Asunción
EditorMoya, Jose C.
Book TitleThe Oxford Handbook of Latin American History
Pagination153 - 180
PublisherOxford University Press

The chapter, Sexuality in Colonial Spanish America, is included in The Oxford Handbook of Latin American History. [It] follows some of the works that have tackled the sometimes thorny issue of how to recover and interpret the historical memory of sexual behavior. Sexuality is defined as the set of activities and forms of behavior directly related to contact between the sexes, as well as the ideas and ideology developed to understand the nature of sexual relations and the mechanisms devised to control it. That ideology was mostly formulated by religious authorities and enforced by the state through institutions such as the Inquisition and the ecclesiastical and civil courts. What seems to be lacking in the current historiography is the extension of some concepts based on human sexuality to larger arenas of human relations and governance, such as the analysis of medical views on sex and its effects on the development of health policies, the influence of religious discourse on sex and on legislation affecting the social order, the sexual content of religious discourse, the erotic content of religious writings, and the hidden sexual meanings of political discourse.

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