Northwestern Events Calendar


Plague and Contagion in the Colonial Mexican Convent: Affect, Embodiment and Cultures of Care, A Talk by Stephanie Kirk

When: Wednesday, May 3, 2023
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM CT

Where: Kresge Hall, 1515, 1880 Campus Drive , Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Spanish and Portuguese   (847) 491-8249

Group: Department of Spanish and Portuguese

Category: Academic, Lectures & Meetings, Multicultural & Diversity, Global & Civic Engagement


A Talk by Professor Stephanie Kirk, Washington University in St. Louis:

In this talk I will examine the circumstances around the death of the seventeenth-century Mexican nun/poet Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, contextualizing it within the occurrences of plague and infection in colonial Mexico. I will also discuss how nuns created communities of care within the convent and how they mobilized different types of knowledge to treat the sick. The question of contagion will also be examined from a symbolic standpoint, showing how male religious authorities conceived of the all-female space as inherently diseased, pathologizing the female body in their writings. Finally, as a response to these negative conceptions of female embodiment, I will discuss how Sor Juana and other nuns wrote about illness in their poetry and other texts, challenging male views of their community and representing the affective bonds they maintained with other women. 

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