Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

 

'Mejor Amancebada que Mal Casada' : Rhetoric and Practice of Amancebamiento in Seventeenth-Century New Spain Public Deposited

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  • Following a history of tensions surrounding concubinage in medieval and early modern Spain, the Church sought greater control of religious life, particularly over the sacrament of marriage, via the Holy Office of the Inquisition. The Church exercised its strengthened restrictions and prosecuted these relationships with more frequency, as did civil courts. Still, concubinage [termed 'amancebamiento' within the archive] took place in many forms and with frequency throughout the viceregal period in New Spain. This calls into question whether public perceptions of sex and sexuality reflected those imposed by the Church. Using the lenses of colonialism, gossip, and narrative, this thesis will address the following concerns: Why did these relationships persist at the risk of prosecution? Who engaged in these types of relationships? How did the courts, including the Holy Office, prosecute these offenses? What social implications did amancebados face for their relationships? Did the Church seek to control viceregal sexuality or the propagation of dissident beliefs? Based on archival research conducted at the Archivo General de la Nación in Mexico City, this thesis argues that in spite of attempts to regulate sexuality throughout the viceroyalties, ecclesiastical rhetoric did not sexually suppress the viceregal populace, nor did it prevent lay interpretation of Catholic doctrine.
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