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Title:Recogimiento for women and girls in colonial Lima: An institutional and cultural practice
Author(s):Van Deusen, Nancy Elena
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Jacobsen, Nils
Department / Program:History
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):History, Latin American
Women's Studies
Abstract:This thesis explores various dimensions of the term recogimiento, a concept which is central to our understanding of the early modern Hispanic world. Recogimiento originated among mystics in early modern Spain to define "an internal search for God" and later developed into an engendered social ideal related to constraint and enclosure of women. Through an analysis of four case studies of institutions called recogimientos--for doncellas mestizas (1550-1580); divorcees and repentant women (1580-1670); elite creole schoolgirls (1615-1660); and wayward women (1670-1713)--my dissertation demonstrates how recogimiento evolved into both an institutional practice and ethical standard in defining the normal and abnormal for women and girls of all social strata in colonial Lima.
The initial mystical formulation of recogimiento in Spain developed as an institutional practice of enclosure for daughters of the Nahua nobility in New Spain, between 1524 and 1550. Between 1550 and 1580 recogimiento was redefined in official discourse to apply toward mestizas, or offspring of Spanish and Andean men and women. Recogimientos established for women defined as marginal--specifically wayward, repentant and divorced women--became a central issue to colonial authorities between 1580 and 1620. By 1620, Lima's elite were appropriating the concept as a status symbol. In addition, throughout the seventeenth century recogimiento gradually became a common term of self-identification among women of all social sectors.
This study emphasizes the inextricable social, functional and cultural link between secular and religious institutions; namely, recogimientos, hospitals, lay pious houses and convents. The dissertation also reveals the complexities of engendered meanings and how women and men negotiated their particular legal, material and moral concerns with each other while living within the cultural and social constraints which impinged upon their lives. In addition, this work offers a methodological praxis for discussing the links between the construction of social norms and issues of gender, economic status and "race" or descriptions based upon physical appearance. Finally, because this study explores the dynamic nature of the colonial relationship between Spain and the Viceregal capital of Lima through the lens of the cultural practice of recogimiento over two hundred years, it contributes to a greater understanding of the nature of cultural colonialism and transculturation.
Issue Date:1995
Rights Information:Copyright 1995 Van Deusen, Nancy Elena
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9543755
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9543755

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