Caetana Says No: Women's Stories from a Brazilian Slave Society / Edition 1

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Overview

Here are the true and dramatic stories of two nineteenth-century Brazilian women - one young and born a slave, the other old and from an illustrious planter family - and how each in her own way sought to have her way: The slave woman struggled to avoid an unwanted husband; the woman of privilege assumed a patriarch's role to endow a family of her former slaves with the means for a free life. But these women's stories cannot be told without also recalling how their decisions drew them ever more firmly into the orbits of the worldly and influential men who exercised power in their lives. These are stories with a twist: In this society of radically skewed power, Lauderdale Graham reveals that more choices existed for all sides than we first imagine. Through these small histories she casts new light on larger meanings of slave and free, female and male.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
In the first story, a young woman newly emancipated refuses to marry at her former owner's instruction. In the second, a wealthy matriarch tries to endow a family of her ex-slaves with resources for a free life. Lauderdale draws from legal and other documents to tell as much of the stories as can be known. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From the Publisher
"Two women, different roles, both shaking the structures of established male authority through the intransigence of their personal moral decisions. In this marvelous book Lauderdale Graham retrieves two sinuous stories from ecclesiastical and legal archives, and through their close analysis lays bare the stresses, ambivalences and the surprising elasticity of the slave system as practiced in a river valley in southeastern Brazil during the middle decades of the nineteenth-century. 'Brazilian Slavery' will never look the same again." Inga Clendinnen, Reader in History Emeritus at La Trobe University

"Caetana is a finely crafted book on women's lives under patriarchal planters. Readers will appreciate the author's vivid descriptions and analysis of typical Brazilian social customs and gender roles of the nineteenth century. The short length of the book combined with photographs will make this especially attractive for classroom use." The Americas

"This is a fascinating study of gender, slavery and patriarchy, written from the perspective of two remarkable, and at the same time so different, women. It combines imaginative research, engaging narrative, and solid thinking, opening a resonant new perspective on the historiography of nineteenth-century Brazil." Joao Jose Reis, Universidade Federal da Bahia

"Two women, different roles, both shaking the structures of established male authority through the intransigence of their personal moral decisions. In this marvelous book Lauderdale Graham retrieves two sinuous stories from ecclesiastical and legal archives, and through their close analysis lays bare the stresses, ambivalences and the surprising elasticity of the slave system as practiced in a river valley in southeastern Brazil during the middle decades of the nineteenth-century. 'Brazilian Slavery' will never look the same again." Inga Clendinnen, Reader in History Emeritus at La Trobe University

"Sandra Lauderdale Graham's lucidly written and meticulously researched study of women in a slave society calls to mind novelist L.P. Hartley's observation that "the past is a foreign country:they do things differently there." A fascinating read set in the expanding coffee economy of nineteenth-century Brazil, this book links the lives of two women, Caetana and Inacia, who chose to act in ways that subtly challenged the men who held power in their lives. By piecing together their lives and choices, Lauderdale Graham vividly and memorably depicts the complex and competing intersections of gender, race, family, and property that characterized Brazilian slavery." Alida C. Metcalf, Trinity University

"This is a fascinating study of gender, slavery and patriarchy, written from the perspective of two remarkable, and at the same time so different, women. It combines imaginative research, engaging narrative, and solid thinking, opening a resonant new perspective on the historiography of nineteenth-century Brazil." Joao Jose Reis, Universidade Federal da Bahia

"By exploring two mysteries that can't be fully solved, by puzzling over small kindnesses and betrayals in two plantation households, we learn the grammar of rules and exceptions that made up Brazil's nineteenth-century system. These women's predicaments show us the flexible harshness of whimsical, 'cordial' domination in agrarian Brazil." Dain Borges, University of Chicago

"Sandra Lauderdale Graham's lucidly written and meticulously researched study of women in a slave society calls to mind novelist L.P. Hartley's observation that "the past is a foreign country:they do things differently there." A fascinating read set in the expanding coffee economy of nineteenth-century Brazil, this book links the lives of two women, Caetana and Inacia, who chose to act in ways that subtly challenged the men who held power in their lives. By piecing together their lives and choices, Lauderdale Graham vividly and memorably depicts the complex and competing intersections of gender, race, family, and property that characterized Brazilian slavery." Alida C. Metcalf, Trinity University

"Graham has given us a wonderfully insightful glimpse into the history of women in postcolonial Brazil.... This is one of the most lucid and welcome additions to the literature on the subject published in recent years. Highly recommended." Choice

"Lauderdale Graham should be commended for bringing to the attention of English-speaking readers such rich and thought-provoking details of nineteenth-century Brazilian slave society and culture." American Historical Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521893534
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2002
  • Series: New Approaches to the Americas Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 1,344,030
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.47 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Maps, Illustrations, Charts, and Tables
Abbreviations Used in the Footnotes
Note on Brazilian Spelling and Currency
Acknowledgments
Prologue
Maps
The First Story
Caetana Says No: Patriarchy Confounded 1
Settings 4
Workers 17
Family 26
Godparents 44
Captain Tolosa 49
Caetana 56
Annulment Denied 62
Epilogue 72
Sample Documents 75
Luis Mariano de Tolosa's Household, 1830 75
Manuel da Cunha de Azeredo Coutinho Souza Chichorro's Household, 1835 80
The Second Story
Inacia Wills Her Way: Patriarchy Confirmed 83
The Making of the Will 85
Choosing Heirs 111
The Will Revealed 122
The Contract 134
Werneck's Sense of Order 142
Epilogue 157
Sample Documents 159
Inacia's Will, 1857 159
Francisca's Will, 1849 165
Bibliography 170
Index 178
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