Szurmuk, Monica. Women in Argentina. Early Travel Narratives

Article excerpt

Gainsville: UP of Florida, 2001. 144 pp. ISBN 0-8130-1889-7

In this slim but inviting study, Monica Szurmuk traces the development of Women's travel writing in Argentina from 1830 to 1930. According to the author, this project was undertaken:

   ... in order to show the complexity of women's inclusion in 
   discourses of collective identities. I argue that women--and the 
   feminine--took on different roles at different moments of 
   Argentinean history. I show how white women's access to print 
   culture and political life was argued in terms not only of gender 
   but also of ethnicity. I therefore delve into questions of 
   whiteness and debate how whiteness as a characteristic, which was 
   gendered, was paramount in the opening of spaces for women's 
   political and cultural participation. This book unearths a rich 
   tradition of travel writing by women. Travelogues on Argentina by 
   French, English and North American women are read along side texts 
   by Argentinean women travelers who wrote about the interior or 
   Argentina, The United States, Europe, and the Middle East. I 
   explore the interconnections between personal and collective 
   identities and argue that travel narratives both shape and are 
   shaped by the model of Argentina as a white country. Reading texts 
   by women who belong to different literary and cultural traditions 
   and breaking down the divisions between writers in colonized and 
   colonizing contexts, I challenge the widely help assumptions that 
   women's travel writing is a purely personal interior venture, and 
   I show how women used the genre to discuss highly charged political 
   issues. This book not only discusses the relationship between 
   nation building and gender in Argentina but also invites a 
   comparative reading of the relationships of the roles of gender 
   and ethnicity in the creation of print culture in the United States 
   and Europe at that time. … 


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