This course surveys the changing roles of women in Latin America in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, focusing on the question of how gender structures both historical change and the way we, as historians, understand those changes. Lectures and readings will examine how women of different regions, races, and classes have participated in some of the major historical transformations of the modern period, including nation-building, industrialization, and revolution. How has Latin American women’s experience been different from that of women elsewhere in this period? What is this thing called “machismo,” and how does it shape opportunities for women in private and public life? Why have revolutionary movements largely failed in their promise to liberate women from social and sexual inequality? These are some of the kinds of questions that students will wrestle with in this course.
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