Amazons, Wives, Nuns, and Witches: Women and the Catholic by Carole A. Myscofski

By Carole A. Myscofski

The Roman Catholic church performed a dominant position in colonial Brazil, in order that women’s lives within the colony have been formed and limited via the Church’s beliefs for natural ladies, in addition to by means of parallel techniques within the Iberian honor code for girls. files left by means of Jesuit missionaries, Roman Catholic church officers, and Portuguese Inquisitors clarify that women’s day-by-day lives and their possibilities for marriage, schooling, and spiritual perform have been sharply circumscribed during the colonial interval. but those comparable records additionally offer evocative glimpses of the spiritual ideals and practices that have been specifically adored or independently built by way of girls for his or her personal use, constituting a separate global for other halves, moms, concubines, nuns, and witches.

Drawing on broad unique study in fundamental manuscript and revealed assets from Brazilian libraries and records, in addition to secondary Brazilian ancient works, Carole Myscofski proposes to write down Brazilian ladies again into heritage, to appreciate how they lived their lives in the society created by means of the Portuguese imperial govt and Luso-Catholic ecclesiastical associations. Myscofski deals particular explorations of the Catholic colonial perspectives of the best lady, the styles in women’s schooling, the non secular perspectives on marriage and sexuality, the background of women’s convents and retreat homes, and the advance of magical practices between ladies in that period. one of many few wide-ranging histories of ladies in colonial Latin the US, this publication makes a very important contribution to our wisdom of the early glossy Atlantic World.

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Extra resources for Amazons, Wives, Nuns, and Witches: Women and the Catholic Church in Colonial Brazil, 1500-1822

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29 This first mention in his History was followed by a more thorough discussion of their “natural qualities” and bodily appearance, emphasizing their lack of modesty. He assured the reader that the natives were not “monstrous,” though they differed from Europeans in that they were “stronger, more robust, . . more nimble” and of a slightly darker hue. He continued: Now this next thing is not less strange than difficult to believe for those who have not seen it: the men, women, and children do not hide any parts of their bodies; what is more, [they lack] any sign of bashfulness or { 32 } Amazons, Wives, Nuns, and Witches shame.

The second rationale depended on the viewpoint that native Brazilians were in desperate need of the conversion and civilization offered by the Portuguese. Colonial enslavers therefore captured the Indians and then released them to the custody of individual Portuguese colonists as “wards” to be managed and educated. Most Portuguese, while making full use of the discourse of protection for their “wards,” nonetheless treated them as slaves, counted their monetary value for tax credits, and passed them to their heirs as part of their personal property.

In 1614, Claude d’Abbeville published his accounts of the remarkably healthy and long-­lived Tupinambá, including women in their eighties who purportedly bore and nursed their own children. 34 But his characterization of the women as tractable, with a graceful willingness to accept the civilization and religion offered to them, faltered when he discussed the same custom that fascinated and baffled other European observers. He, like Léry, viewed their nudity as strange, for even the most barbarous of people wore some sort of clothing.

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