Women Who Live Evil Lives: Gender, Religion, and the Politics of Power in Colonial Guatemala

Paperback | November 1, 2002

byMartha Few

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Women Who Live Evil Lives documents the lives and practices of mixed-race, Black, Spanish, and Maya women sorcerers, spell-casters, magical healers, and midwives in the social relations of power in Santiago de Guatemala, the capital of colonial Central America. Men and women from all sectors of society consulted them to intervene in sexual and familial relations and disputes between neighbors and rival shop owners; to counter abusive colonial officials, employers, or husbands; and in cases of inexplicable illness.

Applying historical, anthropological, and gender studies analysis, Martha Few argues that women's local practices of magic, curing, and religion revealed opportunities for women's cultural authority and power in colonial Guatemala. Few draws on archival research conducted in Guatemala, Mexico, and Spain to shed new light on women's critical public roles in Santiago, the cultural and social connections between the capital city and the countryside, and the gender dynamics of power in the ethnic and cultural contestation of Spanish colonial rule in daily life.

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Women Who Live Evil Lives documents the lives and practices of mixed-race, Black, Spanish, and Maya women sorcerers, spell-casters, magical healers, and midwives in the social relations of power in Santiago de Guatemala, the capital of colonial Central America. Men and women from all sectors of society consulted them to intervene in se...

MARTHA FEW is Assistant Professor of Colonial Latin American History at the University of Miami.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:202 pages, 8.92 × 5.96 × 0.58 inPublished:November 1, 2002Publisher:University Of Texas PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0292725493

ISBN - 13:9780292725492

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Table of Contents

PrefaceChapter 1. Contested Powers: Gender, Culture, and the Process of Colonial RuleChapter 2. Society and Colonial Authority in Santiago de GuatemalaChapter 3. Magical Violence and the BodyChapter 4. Illness, Healing, and the Supernatural WorldChapter 5. Female Sorcery, Material Life, and Urban Community FormationChapter 6. ConclusionNotesGlossaryBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

This is a significant intellectual contribution that has the additional merit of being thoroughly readable and appealing to a broad [audience].... The case studies are riveting, detailed with intensely personal, often sexually and socially charged examples, and clearly integrated with Few's overarching theoretical and conceptual framework. This is wonderful historical ethnographic material. - Grant D. Jones, author of The Conquest of the Last Maya Kingdom