Abstract

Abstract:

This essay examines the sensational 1891 murder trial of Enrique Rode, a middle-class English professor who killed his wife in Mexico City. Using the trial and its ample coverage in the press as a case study, it explores the changing attitudes towards, and interconnections between, adultery, honor, masculinity, and sexuality, as well as the legal and medical discourses that arose out of the investigation and adjudication of the murder. It shows how gender and sexuality shaped (and reshaped) the concept of honor, a concept that embedded itself in the emerging fields of psychology and criminology and in their cutting-edge legal and scientific claims. It focuses on how medical and legal experts, as well as the press, discussed the transgression of normative boundaries of sexuality and used it to excuse or condemn Rode's killing of his new wife, Amelia Zornosa. The Rode case reveals that late-nineteenth-century Mexico City was a society characterized by changing gender norms and views toward sexuality. While some sectors of society idealized female sexual purity, family harmony, and aggressive, if not violent, patriarchy to control women's sexuality, others did not.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-1897
Print ISSN
0022-4529
Pages
pp. 341-363
Launched on MUSE
2018-02-08
Open Access
No
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