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Early Modern Women's Mobility, Authority, and Agency Across the Spanish Empire

280 pages
Amsterdam University Press
The new parameters of a global world in the early modern period gave rise to an expansion of movement that facilitated spatial and social mobility for women of different social ranks. Through their reexamination of archival documents and travel narratives, these essays investigate the opportunities for female mobility across the Spanish Empire, narrating the journeys of women who assumed new and unpredictable roles in distant environments. Some risked transoceanic journeys to hold positions of colonial power, while nuns traveled to found convents. Portuguese and Genoese women financiers and merchants traversed the Mediterranean to command enterprises in different cities. Breaking with tradition, the noblewomen considered in these essays exercised political agency as ambassadresses and diplomatic spies at various European courts. Still other women fled across borders from oppressive marriages or cross-dressed as soldiers to perform adventurous feats in support of imperial causes. Their frequently distorted histories, authored by men, have been revised and rectified by the authors of this volume.
Author Bio
Anne J. Cruz is Professor Spanish and Cooper Fellow in the Humanities Emerita at the University of Miami. She has published on Renaissance poetics, the picaresque novel, Cervantes, and early modern women. A corresponding member of Spain’s Royal Academy of History, she edits the series New Hispanisms: Cultural and Literary Studies. Alejandra Franganillo Álvarez is Assistant Professor of History at the Universidad Complutense, Madrid. Her research focuses on early modern queenship and court patronage. Her recent book on Isabel de Borbón investigates the Spanish queen’s noble household; she is currently studying the political agency of female nobility.