We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Deviant and Useful Citizens

The Cultural Production of the Female Body in Eighteenth-Century Peru

Mariselle Melendez

Publication Year: 2011

Deviant and Useful Citizens explores the conditions of women and perceptions of the female body in the eighteenth century throughout the Viceroyalty of Peru, which until 1776 comprised modern-day Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay. Mariselle Meléndez introduces the reader to a female rebel, Micaela Bastidas, whose brutal punishment became a particularly harsh example of state response to women who challenged the system. She explores the cultural representation of women depicted as economically productive and vital to the health of the culture at large. The role of women in religious orders provides still another window into the vital need to sustain the image of women as loyal and devout—and to deal with women who refused to comply. The book focuses on the different ways male authorities, as well as female subjects, conceived the female body as deeply connected to notions of what constituted a useful or deviant citizen within the Viceroyalty. Using eighteenth-century legal documents, illustrated chronicles, religious texts, and newspapers, Mariselle Meléndez explores in depth the representation of the female body in periods of political, economic, and religious crisis to determine how it was conceived within certain contexts. Deviant and Useful Citizens presents a highly complex society that relied on representations of utility and productivity to understand the female body, as it reveals the surprisingly large stake that colonial authorities had in defining the status of women during a crucial time in South American history.

Published by: Vanderbilt University Press

Title Page

pdf iconDownload PDF (421.0 KB)

Table of Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF (430.0 KB)
pp. v

List of Figures

pdf iconDownload PDF (432.5 KB)
pp. vii-viii

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (436.1 KB)
pp. ix-xi

Completing a book always brings a sense of fulfillment, happiness, and relief. It represents a point in time when one realizes that the conclusion has been possible thanks to the collaboration and influence of people who directly or indirectly impacted our research and daily thinking in multiple ways. ...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (468.0 KB)
pp. 1-10

In 1783 the Peruvian nun Mar

read more

1. Micaela Bastidas's Legible Body: Public Spectacle, Violence, and Fear in T

pdf iconDownload PDF (536.7 KB)
pp. 11-40

In January 1780, just months before the Inca leader Jos

read more

2. Visualizing and Commodifying Female Bodies in Truxillo del Per

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.7 MB)
pp. 41-82

In 1785 the bishop of Trujillo, Baltasar Mart

read more

3. Patriotic Bodies and Corporeal Rhetorics: Sor Mar

pdf iconDownload PDF (688.3 KB)
pp. 83-126

In an article entitled “Discurso histórico sobre la fundación del exemplar Monasterio de Trinitarias Descalzas de esta Ciudad de Lima” (Historical discourse on the establishment of the exemplary monastery of Discalced Trinitarians of this city of Lima), published in the Mercurio peruano on October 23, 1791, by the Sociedad Académica de Amantes de Lima ...

read more

4. The Nation and Its Congenital Deformations: The Medicalized Female Body in the Mercurio Peruano, 1791–1795

pdf iconDownload PDF (863.4 KB)
pp. 127-170

In January 1795, the Mercurio peruano (1791–1795) published a brief news article entitled “Operacion Cesarea” (Cesarean Operation), describing a cesarean surgical procedure performed in Tucumán that resulted in the death of a woman in an advanced state of pregnancy.1 The author did not mention the name of the woman, only referring to her as a Zamba, ...

read more

Epilogue: Prescribing Bodies

pdf iconDownload PDF (451.4 KB)
pp. 171-174

In an article entitled “Discurso sobre el destino que debe darse a la gente vaga que tiene Lima” (“Discourse on the use that ought to be given to the indo- lent people in Lima”), Joseph Ignacio Lequanda, minister and accountant of the Royal Treasury of Lima, denounced the rampant idleness of many sectors of the population ...


pdf iconDownload PDF (550.3 KB)
pp. 175-208

Works Cited

pdf iconDownload PDF (469.2 KB)
pp. 209-222


pdf iconDownload PDF (489.7 KB)
pp. 223-235

E-ISBN-13: 9780826517708
Print-ISBN-13: 9780826517685

Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2011