Women’s Roles in Latin America and the Caribbean
Kathryn Sloan has just published Women’s Roles in Latin America and the Caribbean as part of ABC/CLIO’s innovative series entitled “Women’s Roles through History.” Women’s Roles in Latin America and the Caribbean commences with Queen Isabella of Spain (r. 1474-1504) and ends in the present-day, highlighting female political leaders such as Chile’s Michelle Bachelet and Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff. During this vibrant five-hundred year period, Sloan explores a diversity of topics and geographical spaces. Impressively, she surveys women’s labor, spirituality, and economic power in Latin America, Brazil, and the Spanish Caribbean island nations. She draws on an eclectic source-base: hagiography, chap books, newspapers, films, literature, and archival documents. Sloan writes provocatively about the multi-religious cultures of the region, from the cult of the Mesoamerican female deity Tonantzin to the heretical female adherents of the alumbradismo (“illuminists”) to modern female practitioners of Vodou and Santería.
In the theatre of labor, Sloan considers women’s contribution to the work force in a variety of areas: weavers, midwives, healers, revolutionaries, entrepreneurs, artists, and writers. She also examines techniques of surveillance aimed at women’s bodies, from studies of female criminality to prostitution to discourses on honor and shame. In the realm of popular culture, Sloan offers her reader a splendid section on “Hispanic Barbie,” the slightly darker knock-off of the famous “Caucasian” doll re-packaged in a bi-lingual box and outfitted in full peasant garb. As Sloan points out, artists and leftists successfully subverted the image of “Hispanic Barbie” by creating films such as the classic Barbie Can Also Be Sad (Barbie también puede estar triste, 2001), which featured Mattel dolls in transgressive sexual roles.
Women’s Roles in Latin America and the Caribbean represents a significant contribution to a series already boasting fine volumes on the Middle East, the U.S., and Europe.
Buy the book online