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Sex & Gender in Hispanic Cultures

Debra D. Andrist Professor of Spanish at Sam Houston State University (SHSU), was multi-term founding chair of Foreign Languages there, former multi-term Chair of Modern & Classical Languages/Cullen Professor of Spanish at the University of St. Thomas/Houston (UST) and rose to Associate Professor of Spanish, Baylor University. Her scholarly work focuses on art and literature by and about women and medical topics.

Hierarchies and disparities based on sex and gender have characterized nearly all hominid societies over almost the entire world of cultures since time immemorial. Nearly without exception, those disparities have created a hierarchy of male over female. Languages reflect that. For example, in the English language, the word for the “fe/male” sex is based on the word “male;” “man” is the root for wo/man; and indeed “man” is generally considered the generic for all members of the species. Spanish, on the other hand, does differentiate “hombre” from “mujer,” but the masculine is still considered the root and the generic.

For the purposes of S/HE: Sex & Gender in Hispanic Worlds, sex refers to biological differences, i.e., reproductive organs and secondary sexual characteristics, which are perceived as oppositional yet collaborative, in the propagation of the species. Gender, on the other hand, refers to culturally-specific expectations and/or stereotypes in terms of an individual’s or group’s self (re)presentation and/or behaviors. The main title, S/HE, is a nod to the arguably-gender-neutral third-person singular pronoun from the 1960s inclusive English-language movement in the United States, which was concurrent with equal rights movements in terms of race, ethnicity, sex and gender.

This book focuses on sex and gender issues in the Hispanic worlds, paying homage to all who do not fit within the strict parameters of previous definitions by including broadened descriptions of identity, both biological and social, and by highlighting aspects of traditional and non-traditional lifestyles as portrayed in art and literature.

Hardback ISBN: 978-1-84519-890-9
Hardback Price: £70.00 / $95.00
Release Date: November 2017
Page Extent / Format: 320 pp. / 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: No



Part I  Traditional Domestic Roles for Women in Life & Literature, Revisited
1. Family Responsibilities. A Recipe for the Modern Spanish Nation: Carmen de Burgos’s and Emilia Pardo Bazán’s Cookbook Discourses, Michelle M. Sharp

2. Latinas & Responsibilities. Searching for the Map: An Early Revelation of Latina Identity Crisis in Bilingual Theatre: Coser Y Cantar/Sewing And Singing by Dolores Prida, Elizabeth White Coscio

3. Biological Destiny Throughout the Ages? Non-traditional Concepts of Motherhood: Hispanic Women Poets in the Twentieth Century, Debra D. Andrist

Part II   Not-So-Traditional Roles and Role Models for Women in Life, Art & Literature
4. On the (Formal) Education of Women, Debra D. Andrist

5. Tradition and the New Mexican Santeras, Kimberly Habegger

6. Images of Power: Visual Transformations of Our Lady (of Guadalupe), Female Saints & Angels, Debra D. Andrist

7. Twentieth-Century Political S/heroes: Women & the Spanish Civil War, Debra D. Andrist

8. Twentieth-Mothers as S/heroes: Maternalism, “Rooting” & Solidarity: The Poetry of Ángela Figuera Aymerich, María Montserrat Feu-López

9. Golden Age S/heroes: Steel-Plated Petticoats: Women and Heroism in Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quijote, Lauren Derby

10. Twentieth-Century Female Protagonists: Rosalía Pipaón de la Barca and Becky Caldwell: The Emergence of Female Protagonists in Benito Pérez Galdós and Rolando Hinojosa, Stephen J. Miller

11. Twentieth-Century Feminist S/heroes in Life & Literature. Claiming One’s Own Identity: Alicia Kozameh: Author Turned Activist and Her Characters, Gwendolyn Díaz Ridgeway

Part III  Identity Formation in, and Role Models for, Women via Art & Literature
12. The Semiotics of Hispanic Womanhood: Words & Pictures. The Early Days of Recognition & Recovery, Debra D. Andrist

13. Creoles. Female White Creoles in Rosario Ferre’s Narrative, Patricia González Gómez-Cásserez

14. Bridges Across Multiple Identities: Literal & Figurative Chicanahood, Debra D. Andrist

Part IV   Sex & Gender Blurring in Life, Art & Literature
15. Conflation of (Gender) Identities in the Multifaceted Pablo Picasso, Enrique Mallén, PhD

16. Eroticism in Two «Medio Siglo» Mexican Women Writers of the Uncanny: Amparo Dávila and Guadalupe Dueñas, Eduardo Cerdán

17. Transsexualism. Revisiones & Reverses in Rima de Vallbona’s Beto y Betina, Debra D. Andrist


The Editor and Contributors


International contributors consider gender roles and gender stereotypes among Hispanic women in Spain, Latin America, and the US Hispanic world, from early modern period to the present. Major themes are images of women in art, drama, literature, and spiritual iconography, as well as the role of women in political conflicts. Chapters are organized in sections on traditional and non-traditional domestic roles for women in life and literature, identity formation and role models for women via art and literature, and sex and gender blurring in life, art, and literature. Some subjects addresses are female white creoles in Rosario Ferre’s narrative, eroticism in the work of Mexican writers Amparo Dávila and Guadalupe Dueñas, the poetry of Angela Figuera, and the career of writer and activist Alicia Kozameh. The chapter on the visual transformation of female saints and angels includes black and white art.

Many have been the stereotypes perpetrated in popular culture and even in academia about machismo and the gender oppression suffered by Hispanic women. Now, finally, under the leadership of Debra Andrist, scholars from diverse disciplines have examined gender roles as perceived by Hispanic women on both sides of the Atlantic in their literature and theater as well as in the heroic roles they have assumed in religion, politics and education. The resultant picture that is drawn in this very valuable survey not only destroys traditional stereotypes but also hails the existence of the vibrant diversity and incontrovertible achievements of Latinas across time.
Nicolás Kanellos, Brown Foundation Professor of Hispanic Studies, Director of Arte Público Press and Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage University of Houston

S/He: Sex and Gender in Hispanic Cultures is an anthology of essays that suggest provocative yet positive reformulations of the roles of women in Spain, Latin America, and the US Latina/o world. Although the contributors focus on various themes in art, drama, and literature, several essays provide fresh, fascinating studies of how Hispanic women have recast traditional feminine spiritual figures, such as the Virgin Mary, as well as the role of women in political struggles, such as in the Spanish Civil War. Beyond just art and literature classes, this volume is a valuable resource for social scientific engagements with the Hispanic world.
John Francis Burke, Trinity University and author of Mestizo Democracy and Building Bridges: Not Walls

The problem of sex and gender, especially around the social body and literary/cultural entity of both the male and female, has long been an important topic in academic studies worldwide. This book by Debra Andrist provides a truly valuable observation and examination of the sufferings, struggles, failures and hopes in different contexts of the Hispanic society; it serves both insights and inspirations for studies in gender and the study of the Hispanic world.
Haiqing Sun, Chair of Languages, Texas Southern University

From the early modern stage and New Mexican santero workshops to nineteenth-century middle-class Spanish kitchens and California sweatshops, Andrist has curated a fascinating collection of essays examining a vast spectrum of words and images exploring gender roles and sexuality throughout the Spanish-speaking world.
Jeanne Gillespie, Professor of Spanish, Associate Dean, University of Southern Mississippi

Sex and gender in the lives of Hispanic women past, present, and to come, the exploration of this fascinating subject conducted by Dr. Andrist and colleagues will be an eye-opener for men and women, who may not agree with every point and premise. Challenging, thought provoking, just as it should be!
Patricia Lacy Collins, Founder, San Rafael Films, Houston, Texas

Going through the titles and contents of different works done by scholars in this work, it could be seen a journey searching for women’s identity in a new concept as they make a tour into a new age and gender perceptions. It is obvious to perceive in these compilation of ideas that show women, not in a new role, but as a person who happens to be a woman, in equal process of development, as men do traditionally.
Alcibiades Policarpo, Sam Houston State University

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