Gender and History in Nineteenth-Century Latin America: The Didactic Discourses of Soledad Acosta de Samper.

Document Type



Literature (CMC), Modern Languages (CMC)

Publication Date

Spring 1999


Faced with the task of articulating the relationships among national identity, citizenship, and the individual at a time when the idea of "nation" itself was still in flux, nineteenth-century Latin American authors frequently turned towards historiography and historical narratives as appropriate and useful vehicles for their statements about the process by which (semi)arbitrary geographical boundaries could come to signify nations with distinct identities. Many nineteenth-century authors decisively rejected the Spanish colonial past and envisioned the post-Independence period as a new epoch of history whose existence depended on the violent and complete break with Spain represented by the Wars of Independence (1810-1824).1 But other authors, while recognizing the importance of the rupture with Spain and with the colonial past, created historical narratives about the Conquest, about colonial Latin America, and about the Wars of Independence in order to justify their ideas about national identities, to comment upon contemporary political and social situations, and to elucidate the historical roots of current problems. They explored the past in order to make the present comprehensible to themselves and to their readers, who were meant to learn how to be exemplary citizens of the new Latin American nations through their consumption of these narratives.

Rights Information

© 1999 INTI, Revista de literatura hispánica