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Lecture: "Marianne into Battle? The Paulista Woman and the War of Sao Paulo" Oct. 18

  • 10/18/2012 | 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM
  • Location: Moulton Union, Lancaster Lounge
  • Event Type: Lecture

Lecture: "Marianne into Battle?  The Paulista Woman and the War of Sao Paulo" Oct. 18Barbara Weinstein is a professor of history at New York University. Her research has focused on postcolonial Latin America, particularly Brazil, and explores questions of labor, gender, race, and political economy in regions as diverse as the Amazon, with the world's largest rainforest, and the state of São Paulo, Latin America's leading industrial center.

In 1932 the state of São Paulo -- then, as today, the most prosperous and populous state in Brazil -- declared war against the federal government. The conflict that ensued, known as the Constitutionalists Revolution, lasted for a mere 12 weeks but became a major event in São Paulo's history, and a crucial marker of regional identity.

Among the many intriguing features of this short-lived civil war was the massive mobilization of women in support of the "causa paulista." Virtually every chronicle, account, and memoir of the "revolution" foregrounds the role of women in the movement, which might lead us to conclude that this uprising opened the way to more public and political participation by women. However, if we look at representations of women's participation, it is striking to see how the female presence is always condensed into the archetypical figure of the Mulher Paulista (the Paulista Woman), and associated with traits portrayed as intrinsic to the woman (not women) of São Paulo, who is also implicitly figured as white and middle- or upper-class.

Despite some tension in these representations -- produced by the desire to insist on the gendered modernity of the state of São Paulo -- Weinstein argues that the figure of the Mulher Paulista served to depoliticize women's participation so that the public sphere remained a largely male arena that women could enter only under extraordinary circumstances, and which continued to be alien to notions of proper femininity.

Hosted by the Gender and Women's Studies, Africana Studies, and Latin American Studies programs, the Department of History, and the Bowdoin College Lectures and Concerts Fund.