Hidden Figures: Women in Latin America, 1500-1900

Erika Edwards, Ph.D., History, UNC Charlotte

Erik has presented two seminar ideas based on her research and teaching. CTI teacher leaders are invited to share feedback with Erika regarding how these ideas both strike their curiosity, as well as fit into their classrooms at Wednesday’s meeting. Erika will use this feedback to create a unifying seminar description (posted here) for CMS teachers applying for her CTI seminar in 2022.

Hidden Figures: Women in Latin America 1500-1850

Women played a vital role in the colonization process of Spanish and Portuguese America. But today when we think of them and their diverse experiences, they remain hidden figures often left in the background. This seminar examines gender roles, with an emphasis on perceptions, responsibility, and limitations of women and the women who resisted, rebelled, and restructured their role in society. This seminar will also examine how race, status, and honor affected women’s social and economic realities. Two references for this seminar could include,  Socolow, Susan, The Women of Colonial Latin America, 2nd  edition (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press) 2015, which provides a general history of women in Spanish and Portuguese America and Jaffary, Nora and Jane E. Mangan, Women in Colonial Latin America 1526-1806, (Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing Company) 2018, a compilation of primary source material that detail women’s lives.

Black Women: The Building of Empires and the Making of Nations, 1500-1900

Police brutality against black women’s bodies continues to plague the United States, such as Breonna Taylor, and other countries such as Brazil, where Marielle Franco, a Black activist and politician was murdered by the police in 2018. Surveillance and abuse of Black women’s bodies however is not new and has a long history that is shared throughout the Americas.  As slaves, subjects, and subversives, black women were integral players in the building of empires and the construction of nations. This seminar is a comparative history that surveys black women’s experiences in British, Portuguese, and Spanish Americas from 1500-1900. This seminar will analyze readings pertaining to Black women throughout the African diaspora and engage the present with current events when appropriate. We will use the anthology As If She Were Free, a comparative anthology of various Black women throughout the Americas, as our main source of reading. It will be accompanied by a few books and articles that provide historical context.