Readings for week three

I would argue that both of the two readings highlight the class system that was in place during that Spanish role. The story of la Monja Alferez is a show case for the differences between the choices and lives for men that were available at that time and he choices and lives for available females at that time. The casta painting also show cases the extreme lengths the Spanish went to for dividing their extremely mixed population.

La Monja Alfere life shows that if she were to stay as a nun in Spain, the options in life for her was extremely limited. She had to go so far as to dress up like a man to try to further her own goals in life. The fact that she kept her gender secret for so long and made sure that very few people when questioned it is an impressing fact in it of its own merit. Her life is also an great account of the Spanish conquests in Latin America at that time and the natives they had to face. She even recounts killing a native leader that was converted to Catholicism and yet the native still battled against the Spanish. This was a example of how successful conversion of the native populations but also how unsuccessful the Spanish subjugation of the native populations was at that time. Overall, the issues surround Spanish conquest and gender or class roles at that time is more then provided in La Monja Alfere life and is of interest to any studying those issues.

The reading on the Casta paintings was interesting because it shows that great lengths that Spanish went to when dividing up the different races within their colonies and how mixed and diverse the population of the colonies have become. These paints can be used as a way of not only pointing out the craziness of the idea of dividing races by ranks due to the complexity these paints became and how the lines between social classes were constantly mixing and matching with no clear or real dividing lines. The paints can also be used as a way of showing casing the diversity Latin American developed and how to this very day, a regular citizen in Mexico, Colombia, or Argentina would probably not be totally black, white or native in skin tone or colour, but a rich mixture of all them put together in one human being.

1 thought on “Readings for week three

  1. Eva

    I agree that it was extremely brave of Catalina to embark on the journey that she did. However my understanding was that she identified more as a man, and she was not merely dressing up. Even though Catalina was heroic in that she challenged gender norms that are still at hand today, I think that it is important that we don’t praise her too much because she still fed in to the imperialistic forces of the Spanish empire.


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