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984 - Act, Do, Speak: Sex in Latin America

20.07.2012 | 08:00 - 13:30

Convener 1: Rachel, O'Toole (University of California, Irvine , Irvine, US Minor Outlying Islands)
Convener 2: Sanders, Nichole (Ud States of Am / USA)

What is sex good to think with in Latin American history and anthropology? In this symposium, scholars will examine activities, identities, beliefs, communities, and other modalities that are formed around sex in order to explore the making of bodies, slavery, and nations in Latin America. The panel will analyze pre-colonial, colonial, and modern sexual expectations, sexual demands as well as sexual desires and definitions of sexual desirability to illuminate political networks, racial hierarchies, gender roles, economic liabilities, political landscapes, and kinship dynamics. More, understanding how sex mediates, reflects, or actuates consensual agreements or coercive demands can show explicit or implicit societal expectations. Discussion of sex and sexual acts can also reveal how the body was constructed in particular times and places as well as how the body, in turn, defines institutional demands, family structures, and cultural perceptions.

Papers will also discuss the pedagogy of teaching sex. How do we bring these ideas into the classroom? What are strategies we can use to help our students understand and participate in these scholarly conversations?

In the pre-colonial and colonial section, scholars will explore these and other questions: What were the productive and reproductive sex activities of indigenous people of the Americas? How did political domination intersect with bodily containment before European colonialism? How did sex acts and sex expectations of indigenous people meet with the orthodox and unorthodox practices of the colonizing Catholic church? How did standards of white, colonizing women’s honor shape violence directed towards women of color? What was the interface between performances of masculinity and the range of possible sex acts for men during the colonial period?

In the national section, scholars will explore these and other questions: What was the relationship between sex, gender and liberalism? How have ideas about appropriate sexual behavior shaped questions of state formation and economic development? What was the relationship between sex, especially sexual violence, and revolution? How were ideas about sexual desirability and beauty linked to an emerging consumer culture? How has the physical/sexual body been understood in the modern era? What has influenced these changing conceptions? What has been the role of the transnational discourses on shifting attitudes regarding sex, sexuality, gender and the body?

By bringing together scholars whose expertise spans the ancient indigenous civilizations of Latin America to its latest transnational manifestations, we will explore how sex reveals the interior or the imaginary of subaltern communities and elite societies as well as how sex shapes political, economic and social interactions.

Keywords: Sex, gender, body, nation, colonial y pre-colonial

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