The Secret History of Gender
Women, Men, and Power in Late Colonial Mexico
Steve J. Stern
Stern pursues three major arguments. First, he demonstrates that non-elite women and men developed contending models of legitimate gender authority and that these differences sparked bitter struggles over gender right and obligation. Second, he reveals connections, in language and social dynamics, between disputes over legitimate authority in domestic and familial matters and disputes in the arenas of community and state power. The result is a fresh interpretation of the gendered dynamics of peasant politics, community, and riot. Third, Stern examines regional and ethnocultural variation and finds that his analysis transcends particular locales and ethnic subgroupings within Mexico. The historical arguments and conceptual sweep of Stern's book will inform not only students of Mexico and Latin America but also students of gender in the West and other world regions.