Bodies and State Formation in Nineteenth-Century Peru

AHA Session 241
Conference on Latin American History 70
Sunday, January 5, 2014: 11:00 AM-1:00 PM
Columbia Hall 9 (Washington Hilton)
Bianca Premo, Florida International University
Bianca Premo, Florida International University

Session Abstract

This panel will explore several elements of state formation that reflect the ways in which in the course of the nineteenth century the Peruvian state acquired and developed capacities to regulate, that is to say to discipline but also to promote, not only particular individuals or social groups but also particular types of body, both alive and dead. State regulation of bodies, a key if largely neglected dimension of historical processes of state formation in Peru involved the establishment of authority, but also the emergence of contestation of such authority, over what those whose bodies were the subject of regulation were entitled to do as well what could be done to those regulated (or, indeed, regulatable) bodies. In “The Passport Republic: Surveillance and Control of Spatial Mobility in Postcolonial Lima, 1821-1855”, Josť Ragas (University of California, Davis) will consider the role of internal passports as a technology implemented in the immediate post independence period to regulate mobility and fix identities of a population subject to surveillance in a period of political instability. Antonio Espinoza (Virginia Commonwealth University), in “The Corporal Punishment of Minors in Lima (Peru), 1821- c.1900”, will examine resistance to state attempts to regulate the use of corporal punishment on children. In “Debating Prostitution: The Regulation of Sexual Commerce and State Formation Peru, c. 1850-1910”, Paulo Drinot (UCL) explores debates over the regulation of prostitution and the ways in which such debates, promoted by physicians and lawyers, dovetailed with broader discussion over the role of the state in managing “the social”. Finally, in “Mummy Exodus: The North American Collection of Pre-Columbian Andean Dead, 1875-1929, and the Peruvian Legal Response”, Christopher Heaney (University of Texas at Austin) will discuss debates over state ownership of pre-Columbian mummies in the context of the formation of a Peruvian archeological establishment that came into conflict with North American collectors gripped by mummy fever. Bianca Premo (Florida International University), whose important work on germane topics in the colonial period provides a compelling frame of comparison, particularly her work on the history of women, the history of children and on the law and state policy, will offer comments on the four papers and help spark discussion. This panel will be of particular interest to social and cultural historians of Latin America but also to historians working in other regional fields who are interested in comparative perspectives on state formation and in empirically grounded but theoretically informed approaches to the historical study of the state and the body.

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