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Honor Among Orphans: Girlhood, Virtue, and Nation at Rio de Janeiro's Recolhimento


"Honor Among Orphans" explores the implications of state interests in girlhood, honor, and female citizenship in nineteenth-century Brazil through an examination of transformations in the practices of a colonial institution, the Recolhimento of the Santa Casa de Misericordia in Rio de Janeiro. Founded in 1739, the Recolhimento was created as a place for the deposit of women and girls, where reputations could be protected or restored. In the 1800s, the Recolhimento became a girls' orphanage, a statement of emerging liberal values that privileged the education and socialization of youth. Despite extensive reforms, the Recolhimento continued to be a symbol of female virtue. Its prominence, longevity, and ties to the state make it a privileged location for examining transformations in the politics of honor in the nation building process