This article reconsiders the model of the "alternative household" of single, unattached caste women in mid-seventeenth-century New Spain. It also explores the particular "strategies of survival" adopted by single women to challenge, to undermine, and to overcome local conditions, barriers, and norms of suppression, as well as to regenerate and reformulate change, and to effect revenge, from their alternative, familial frameworks. Benevolent and malevolent gifts shared among these women and passed on to men, as this article shows, were part of the package of such ritualized strategies and were closely tied with the rule of concubinage. A close study of the women's own testimony in these diverse tales brings forward also the need to review the inner working of the social mechanisms behind the uses of "love magic" in the New World, as well as in Europe.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)