By Martha Few
Ladies Who stay Evil Lives records the lives and practices of mixed-race, Black, Spanish, and Maya ladies sorcerers, spell-casters, magical healers, and midwives within the social family of strength in Santiago de Guatemala, the capital of colonial imperative the United States. women and men from all sectors of society consulted them to interfere in sexual and familial kin and disputes among friends and rival store vendors; to counter abusive colonial officers, employers, or husbands; and in situations of inexplicable ailment. using ancient, anthropological, and gender experiences research, Martha Few argues that women's neighborhood practices of magic, curing, and faith printed possibilities for women's cultural authority and gear in colonial Guatemala. Few attracts on archival study carried out in Guatemala, Mexico, and Spain to shed new gentle on women's severe public roles in Santiago, the cultural and social connections among the capital urban and the nation-state, and the gender dynamics of strength within the ethnic and cultural contestation of Spanish colonial rule in everyday life.
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Extra resources for Women Who Live Evil Lives: Gender, Religion, and the Politics of Power in Colonial Guatemala, 1650-1750
By the late seventeenth century, the female casta beef sellers had organized into a hereditary gremio (guild) in Santiago. Local oﬃcials, however, tried to put a stop to the licensing because of rumors that the women shortchanged buyers, and in 1699 again outlawed all revendedora sales in Santiago. In 1703 all vendors were prohibited from selling meat in the streets. Local authorities continued to harass, arrest, and punish female beef vendors working in the central plaza into the early eighteenth century.
In particular, priests used denial of absolution to persuade female servants and slaves, who were more vulnerable. Some men and women in Santiago de Guatemala went of their own accord, without compulsion or being called, to the Inquisition tribunal. They denounced their neighbors, employers, and family members in the local community for illegal religious behavior for a wide range of reasons, including revenge, personal disagreements, the failure of sexual relationships, and the occurrence of strange illnesses and unexplained deaths.
71 By the 1690s Santiago’s political and religious oﬃcials had attempted to put a halt to Gerónima’s activities on numerous occasions. They arrested and imprisoned her in the city jail, and they also banished her from the capital. ’’ 72 Inquisition documents show that Gerónima was a well-known ﬁgure in Santiago in the 1690s. More than sixty persons referred to Gerónima by name and decribed her magical activities in the capital in detail. It is not surprising, then, that in this context residents began gossiping and speculating publicly about how Gerónima, a mulata sorcerer, avoided the grasp of the Inquisition.