On settler foundational stories (appropriate reproduction and Argentina): Sarah Moody, ‘Eduarda Mansilla’s Mestizo Argentina: Orphanhood, Transnationalism, and Race in Lucía Miranda (1860)’ Decimononica, 12, 2, 2015, pp. 14-29

08Jul15

Excerpt: The first known writing of the Lucía Miranda legend, a story of Argentine national origins, dates to 1612 with a work by Spanish soldier Ruy Díaz de Guzmán. Though apparently fictional, the episode appears as a chapter in an otherwise fact-based account of early European activity in the River Plate region known as La Argentina manuscrita. Later writers reworked the legend in their own ways, adapting it to the circumstances of their own historical moment, but the consistent points of the storyline focus on irremediable interethnic conflict: Lucía was a young, virtuous Spanish woman who accompanied her husband on an early expedition to the area, around 1532; she is kidnapped by the indigenous people, whose chief falls in love with her; she and her husband refuse to renounce their marital vows and die tragically as martyrs to conjugal love. The legend, highlighting the exchange of women in what Mary Louise Pratt calls the “contact zone,” where two cultures meet in an unequal relationship of power, keeps the point of view firmly on the side of the white settlers and what they considered their moral imperative to colonize indigenous spaces. María Rosa Lojo points out that “[e]l relato atribuye las causas de la Guerra interétnica (guerra de conquista, por la ocupación de suelo) a la pelea entre varones por una mujer” (32). The legend also functions as an attempt at justification for white, creole society’s occupation of collectively-held indigenous lands, with women’s bodies standing in as a metaphor of the territory to be usurped and dominated.



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