Colonial Legacies and Contemporary Identities in Chile

BookColonial Legacies and Contemporary Identities in Chile

Colonial Legacies and Contemporary Identities in Chile

Revisiting Catalina de los Ríos y Lisperguer

Liverpool Latin American Studies, 22


May 15th, 2021

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This book explores traditional and contemporary concerns surrounding gender and ethnicity in Chile through a textual analysis of historical novels depicting seventeenth-century figure, Catalina de los Ríos y Lisperguer. Drawing on theories from the Global North and South, it incorporates postcolonial perspectives and decolonial feminist methodologies to expose patriarchal, Eurocentric hierarchies constructed during the colonial era, which remain in Chilean society today. Through close readings, the book demonstrates that it is in the inconsistent and fluid depictions of characters that identities are deconstructed and reconstructed in ways that defy and transform social norms.
This is the first extended English-language study of this infamous historical figure, who is more widely known as la Quintrala. It is also the first to compare the literary portrayals by Mercedes Valdivieso and Gustavo Frías. Looking beyond the infamy which usually shapes interpretations of la Quintrala, the author presents these novels as an embodiment of the anxieties surrounding hybridity in Chile, where European heritage has traditionally overshadowed indigenous concerns, and patriarchal norms dominate the construction of gender. Written during a period of social and political upheaval in Chile, it makes a timely contribution to existing works in social and political science, popular culture and the ongoing discussions of this iconic figure.

“This is an insightful and well-researched book, which recognises the relevance of the work of scholars and non-academic writers in the field, inserting new ideas into existing debates.”
Barbara Castillo Buttinghausen, University of St Andrews

Author Information

Céire Broderick is a Lecturer in Latin American Studies at University College Cork.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Character trees9
Who was Catalina de los Rios y Lisperguer?15
An introduction to the novels16
Challenging literary tradition18
Complicating perspectives and approaches20
Constructing huachos 25
The analysis: connecting the dots and subverting the hierarchies 28
I. Fragmented narratives and languages of power31
Complex narratives reflecting identity construction: establishing the ‘third space’32
Fluid mirroring of fragmented identities 39
Fragmentation and hybridity in narrative structures 43
Polyglots and power48
Concluding thoughts: embracing the fragments 53
II. Constructing femininities: agency and transgression57
‘Defining’ the norms59
Paternal pressures to conform61
Negotiating femininities63
Agency as sexual transgression65
Questions of agency and violence 70
Fluid genders74
Pregnancy, and dreads and dreams of motherhood77
Concluding thoughts: transgressive negotiations83
III. Writing masculinities: a contradictory endeavour87
Situating Chilean masculinities88
Huachos and machos, constructing mestizo masculinities 90
Bellicose masculinities95
Women perpetuating masculine ideals98
The chivalric ideal101
Testing the subordinate boundaries of masculinity105
Concluding thoughts: surviving huacho expectations107
IV. A world for us: complicating European perspectives109
Marriage, upward mobility, and social transactions110
Marriage, a hybridisation tool111
Religious and ritual hybridity: northern logic, southern reality115
‘Foreigners’ and indianos: the old world, our world125
Concluding thoughts: world breaking, world making132
V. Colonial legacies: indigenous priorities135
Ethnic constructions136
Colonial legacies141
Hybridity, tradition, and transgression144
Complicating traditions: hybridity and El Día más Largo146
Negotiating complex expectations as tribal leader150
Concluding thoughts: challenging colonial rhetoric155
Some conclusions: thinking forward, learning from the past and present157
Where are we now?157
Catalina and the texts158
Taking stock161
Thinking forward162