Verbal Autobiographies of Contemporary Peruvian Women

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These pieces include interviews across the Peruvian human scale and landscape: freed prisoners and police women, feminists and traditionalists, servants and human rights lawyers, doctors and market women, black, native American, mestizos, and whites. The collection offers English speaking readers a crosscut of a variety of personalities as well as the authentic flavor of various language uses. Most of the interviewed women differ in their own use of language from one another, according to walk of life, background, personality. The study seeks to convey their liveliness both in their language and in their resilience despite tremendously adverse conditions.


“Peruvian women are only recently beginning to be of interest to cultures outside the Hispanic, and this text should prove of considerable interest both to students and teachers of women’s Studies, as well as to those of Translation and Cultural Studies, while the topics touched on will no doubt entertain any reader who has even a passing interest in South America and its inhabitants…. should prove valuable for university and even high school teachers who deal with a multicultural environment…. These women differ as to social class, education, home environment, financial situation and, importantly, individual temperament in a way that should prove enlightening to specialist and non-specialist alike.” – Alita Kelley, Pennsylvania State University Commonwealth College

“This impressive collection of interviews offers a uniquely informative and pleasurable opportunity to gain insight into social change in Peru as Peruvian women reflect on their feelings, values, work, and socio-political concerns….The variety of personalities speaking out here shows how relationships in Peru have undergone profound change as women seek greater self-control and participation in decision-making.” – Marcia Koth de Paredes

“This collection of interviews is an excellent resource for courses on Latin America where one wants to provide a textured look at life to balance histories and textbooks….I can see the whole history of Peruvian economics policy from 1968 to 2000 using these interviews as a backdrop. It would also be an excellent resource for courses in Women’s Studies that might want to provide a contrast to the North American experience or provide a Latin American component to a comparative study. It is also simply a great read.” – Scott MicKinney, Hobart and William smith Colleges

Table of Contents

Table of contents:
Preface; Women Let Themselves Be Deceived; Law of Life; Born That Way; Ours is the Oldest; The Real Menace?; Ivy; Engineer; Unconfessionals; SuperConscious/Unconscious; Avalanche; Wooden Wheels; Life in a Box; Escalator; Antiphonal; Fascinating Woman; Chair; The Nobodied One (Ninguneada); Never Say Cheese; Bettering the Breed; Room for Everybody; Kitsch; Nurse; The Coherence of Power; Seven Days a Week, Week After Week; Chicken Lite; Dream Breakers (Quitasueños); Ordinary Inanity; Resentment Is Too Pricey; Daughter of the People; Blue Bubbles; Phoenix; History Has Many Faces; Appendix
[Mellen Lives No. 14]
0-7734-6834-X $99.95/£64.95 188pp. 2003
About the author: Claudette Kemper Columbus received her PhD in literature from The University of Pennsylvania. She is currently a Professor Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and in 2001 was Distinguished Professor at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Peru for a series of lectures on the role of narrative in fiction and anthropology. She has published many articles and another book, Mythological Consciousness and the Future: José María Arguedas (Peter Lang, 1986).

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