Gender and the Mexican Revolution: Yucatán Women and the Realities of Patriarchy / Edition 1

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The state of Yucatan is commonly considered to have been a hotbed of radical feminism during the Mexican Revolution. Challenging this romanticized view, Stephanie Smith examines the revolutionary reforms designed to break women's ties to tradition and religion, as well as the ways in which women shaped these developments.

Smith analyzes the various regulations introduced by Yucatan's two revolution-era governors, Salvador Alvarado and Felipe Carrillo Puerto. Like many revolutionary leaders throughout Mexico, the Yucatan policy makers professed allegiance to women's rights and socialist principles. Yet they, too, passed laws and condoned legal practices that excluded women from equal participation and reinforced their inferior status.

Using court cases brought by ordinary women, including those of Mayan descent, Smith demonstrates the importance of women's agency during the Mexican Revolution. But, she says, despite the intervention of women at many levels of Yucatecan society, the rigid definition of women's social roles as strictly that of wives and mothers within the Mexican nation guaranteed that long-term, substantial gains remained out of reach for most women for years to come.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Thoughtful. . . . Smith has revealed and sensitively analyzed a world awash in complexity and complication, a revolutionary world in which Yucatan women fought to be treated properly. These women, as Smith reminds us, crafted legacies to which future women could turn."--American Historical Review

"An example of groundbreaking research in gender studies. . . . Smith's research shows that women were far more active and influential than is usually admitted. . . . A welcomed contribution to the field of gender studies and will definitely force us to see the Mexican Revolution in a new light."--The Latin Americanist

"An important contribution to the emergent field of Mexican feminist theory. . . . Scholars of Mexican history, women and gender, and legal studies will learn much from this very readable book."--The Americas

"A highly readable and at times poignant social history rich with political implications."--Hispanic American Historical Review

"Studies in English on the Mexican Revolution must strike a difficult balance that is common in area studies. . . . Smith . . . does an admirable job of satisfying on all counts. . . . A lucid, accessible text. . . . Highly recommended."--Choice

"An engaging story of women who struggled to shape the revolutionary project. . . . Will find an audience among specialists, but Smith's engaging writing style and clear analysis makes this an excellent choice for classroom use as well."--H-Net Reviews

"Smith demonstrates the significance of human agency. . . [and] persuasively argues that women took advantage of the new political spaces that the revolution had opened for them."--Latin American Research Review

"Carefully researched and well-written. . . . [Smith] provides us with a unique and nuanced view of the values, concerns and daily struggles of these Yucatecan women."--Journal of Latin American Studies

"Smith's work contributes significantly to our understanding of how the Mexican Revolution affected gender in the Yucatan…Impressive original research."--Mexican Studies

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807859537
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/2009
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephanie J. Smith is assistant professor of history at the Ohio State University.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction Women and the Radical Revolutionary Laboratory 1

1 Redefining Women: The Making of a Revolution 21

2 Broken Promises, Broken Hearts: The Revolutionary Judicial System 54

3 Honor and Morality: The Church, the State, and the Control of Yucatecan Families 84

4 If Love Enslaves. . . Love Be Damned! Divorce and Revolutionary State Formation in Yucatán 115

5 Women in Public and Public Women: Prostitutes in Revolutionary Yucatán 145

Conclusion 174

Notes 181

Bibliography 217

Index 245

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