This week, I feel like there were a wider variety of different or conflicting narratives compared to previous topics. I want to focus on three main points for this post; citizenship, Josefina Pelliza de Sagasta’s writings, and rights in general.
I’ve never actually thought about how nations determined the requirements one must fulfill to gain citizenship. In Japan for example, if at least one of the parents is a Japanese citizen at the time of a child’s birth, the child is considered a Japanese citizen. I doubt the politicians who legislated the Japanese nationality laws had much to debate since it was and still is a homogenous country. In the United States, before birth-right citizenship, I assume only white people were considered citizens because of the clear distinctions between races. Therefore, I can see why legislators in Latin American nations struggled to define what it means to be a citizen with the racial and ethnic diversity the region had. This conflict evidently shows the (mainly white) elite’s inability to see people of color as equals, even though they fought alongside one another in the independence wars.
Josefina’s response to Maria Echenique’s article was very poetic. Her writing style seemed elegant and fragile compared to the strong, gallant feeling I got from Maria’s. If I were to assign a color to the text it would be along the lines of baby pink:) She could have written back in a much stronger manner but I think she intentionally chose to write in soft words to draw attention to the contrast between women who are “angels of the house” and women who seek emancipation. She may also have been trying to speak to the side of Maria who wanted to surrender “to purely imaginative games, tracing with my pen beautiful images capable of stirring sweet emotions in the heart” by portraying women as divine, beautiful, poetic beings. Another thing that caught my attention in Josefina’s writing is her use of pronouns ( i always seem to get caught up on this…). She kept using “we” or “our” and I’m not quite sure if she’s trying to imply that she is writing on behalf of a certain group she is a member of or that the Argentine women, in general, would resonate with her opinion.
In the lecture video, John mentioned that “rights have to be first agreed upon and then interpreted before they can be actualized”. This reminded me of a class in high school where we discussed how the modern concept of rights is rooted in the Christian faith. It becomes very difficult to agree upon what rights a person should have if different communities believe in a different faith in the same country. I guess that is why the indigenous people, for example, had a different take on the right to freedom than the liberalist elites did. This could apply to modern times as well. How we view human rights in North-America and in the Middle East is drastically different. Women not being allowed to go out without her husband’s permission may seem absurd to me but is the norm elsewhere. This makes me think that maybe rights aren’t something we have to 100% agree upon because having the right to do something doesn’t mean you have to do it. Josefina may not agree that women should be emancipated but if she could respect other women’s decisions for wanting to be emancipated, women could have the right to do either.
some questions I have are
- Who do you think Juanita is referring to when she says “we”?
- What effects does the history of slavery have to this day?
- do you think it’s possible for different communities with different beliefs to agree on a set of rights?
I know my post for this week is a bit long but thanks for reading!