Wives walking away:concubinage, adultery, and violence in late colonial Bahia

Nascimento, Selina Patel (2022) Wives walking away:concubinage, adultery, and violence in late colonial Bahia. Women's History Review, 31 (2). pp. 294-315. ISSN 0961-2025

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This article re-examines colonial Latin American violence and adultery through the lens of concubinage and female migration. It re-evaluates heterosexual domestic violence, the socially-acceptable conditions for women to leave relationships, and the extent to which male partners were deemed culpable for their actions. It adjusts traditional narratives that dichotomise wives and concubines to instead consider wives as concubines and how this repositioning of their social status opened new opportunities for female migration, invited tacit social acceptance, and affected concubines’ power, honour, and status in their local communities. Studying the lives of three adulterous concubines, this study argues that not only was solitary migration a fairly common experience for concubines in late colonial Bahia, but that such mobility constituted a wider strategy of feminine honour negotiation through the use of ‘honour-neutral spaces’. This article offers a new perspective on gendered experiences of mobility, domestic security, and violence in late colonial Bahia.

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Journal Article
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Women's History Review
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13 Oct 2022 12:20
Last Modified:
17 Sep 2023 03:19