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Gender and Empire


El Salvador and the World History of Gender, Modernity, and Empire

Aldo Garcia Guevara


     In 1933, the editors of the Catholic newspaper El Tiempo lamented that "helpless" young women who migrated from the Salvadoran countryside to towns like San Salvador looking for work were lured into prostitution, while society simply looked on, "arms crossed." The perpetrators in this tale included "wicked" men, but more disturbing were the treacherous madams who not only flattered and lied to the women, but seduced them through offers of a life of "gifts and luxuries."1 This article argued that the Association of the Good Shepherd (Asociación del Buen Pastor), one of several Catholic charitable organizations operating throughout Latin America and the world, should be mobilized both in defense of the morality of these women and the nation. Describing a grand vision for Catholic social engineering, the author admonished the nuns of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd (Hermanas del Buen Pastor) to more effectively reform incarcerated women in the prisons it administered throughout the country.2 The work of reforming "fallen" women was also supported by matriarchs from some of the most prominent Salvadoran families through the lay organization, the Ladies of Charity, including María Zaldívar and doña Eva de Sol who served as President and Vice President respectively. Their work was eulogized in several articles in another San Salvador daily, El Día in 1931. The paper noted that the Ladies cared for wayward girls and women lodged in a halfway house, ranged in age from fourteen to fifty, by providing food, shelter and clothing. The newspaper noted, importantly, that 128 marriages had been performed under its auspices.3 Modernizing and reforming elites aggressively promoted marriage among poor and working class people. Its legal power was formidable. For example, prostitutes who married would be removed from the official police registry. Women who had been "seduced" into premarital sex, and even those who were raped, would have their honor restored through matrimony.4

     When viewed through the lens of gender and empire, this vignette illustrates several world historical forces at work in El Salvador, such as the concentration of capital and people in urban areas, and the consequent mobility of young people and diminution of family control; coordinated campaigns by elite men and women to manage the health, behavior and size of populations; and individual and collective resistance strategies of laborers, vendors, and consumers. These forces act independently of the temporal markers historians use to delineate one era from another; for example, the formal end of direct colonial rule in no way halted those forces. Because this struggle unfolded similarly in postcolonial and colonial situations, the inclusion of Latin American content into gender and empire units and courses decenters a Eurocentric approach, thus decolonizing world history. Sections of World History textbooks dedicated to empire or imperialism usually incorporate Latin American content only to the point of independence in the 19th century. It then resurfaces in later discussions of neo imperialism or globalization. I argue that modernization was an extension of European Imperialism, enacted by local elites whose race, class, and gender biases colonized poor people, especially women. Similar dynamics characterize 20th century societies everywhere whether or not they were formal colonies or independent states.

     Like the Sisters, local, national, and international religious organizations throughout the world in the early 20th century mobilized elite women to rescue wayward women, poor and working-class victims of modernization from the damages of industrialization and urbanization. But demonizing sex work and promoting marriage were far from the only way the state mobilized its citizens, including their own families, to conform to a particular vision of gender. I argue that El Salvador is a useful case study to analyze the persistence, resurrection and reinvention of imperial structures, laws and customs.5 For example, family members used the criminal court system to not only limit the physical autonomy of increasingly independent and mobile teenage girls in their households, but to impose upon them a gendered vision of modernity with colonial roots centered on marriage and virginity. In addition, some agents of the state and reformers of many stripes sought to contain, punish and/or make invisible sex workers.

     These examples from twentieth-century El Salvador can help college students in survey or upper-level courses to recognize how modernization and the legacies of empire shaped world history in the 20th century, how these processes were gendered, and how they affected women in particular. It thus offers a basic theoretical overview, followed by a brief introduction to modernization in El Salvador, focusing on two groups of women who attracted official scrutiny: prostitutes and runaways. After summarizing the issues that brought these women into the public eye, and therefore into the archives, I will suggest an assignment in which students will analyze the words and actions of female and male religious leaders, journalists and newspaper editors, government officials, and most compellingly, judges, lawyers, plaintiffs and defendants in criminal court records. Read against the grain, these sources reveal that women coopted the social, legal, and cultural processes that sought to contain their aspirations and mobility. These women resisted the physical and emotional abuse of lovers, police, nuns and public health officials; engaged in serial monogamy; and/or took action to work in towns and cities away from family supervision.


     The incorporation of Latin American content into a world history course requires that students be introduced to theories of modernization. Broadly inclusive of an array of social and political dislocations that accompany economic development, modernization theory, first articulated by Max Weber and propagated by Talcott Parsons, holds that economic development—globalization—is an inevitable world historical process that flows from global north to global south.6 By definition, so the narrative goes, modernization challenges if not destroys tradition which is embodied in the less-developed and/or non-Western regions. Those subaltern places—Africa, Asia and Latin America—in this model, are by definition pre-modern. Although partially inspired by versions of these top-down, or Euro-centric models of modernization, subaltern people continually looked to their own pasts and cultures while they selectively plumbed examples from the developed world.

     Another potential issue in the classroom is that many students arrive in class with a preconceived model of development similar to that of W.W. Rostow, who argued that the West would bring democracy as well as modernity to the world. They have embraced the myths, propagated by governmental, and financial, and cultural leaders, that Western intervention is not only inevitable, but well-intentioned and even beneficial to colonized and formerly colonized people. Students do not recognize that the "developed" world retarded the civilizations of the global south, believing instead that the less wealthy parts of the world began and remained "backwards." In addition, they often believe in a linear and singular model of development, that takes nations from poor to wealthy, and societies from primitive to modern. Students thus need alternate theoretical models.

     As direct challenges to some of the main issues of modernization theory, assigning selections from Immanuel Wallerstein, Andre Gunder Frank and Walter Rodney yields intellectual fruit. Although expanded access to wage labor led to some increases in the standard of living, nonetheless profits derived from resource extraction, cheap labor, or markets flooded with industrial produced goods, left countries of origins to enrich Northern investors. The authors listed above analyzed the processes whereby the West created underdevelopment around the globe, challenging the Eurocentric and deterministic models articulated by Rostow and other modernization theorists.7 In addition, students should also grasp that coloniality did not end with independence, and that modernity and coloniality embodies ideas of power that become naturalized. Empire, like gender, modernizes. Maria Lugones, a prominent decolonial theorist, argues that the gender system is a colonial imposition, and not only promotes hierarchies of race, gender and sexuality, but naturalizes these power structures and relations.8 Gendered modernity manifests economic power and exploitation at the most intimate level.

     Studying intimate life in El Salvador and other parts of the world suffering from "underdevelopment" humanizes abstract theories and reveals how subaltern and nationalist elites participated in the selective modernization of their economies. They adopted capitalist modernity which safeguarded and even strengthened patriarchal traditions and attitudes, but also engaged with models that threatened to establish their racial and ethnic inferiority. In this contradictory process of embrace and redefinition, women's lives and bodies became a battleground. With the rise of eugenics, domestic science and public health, reformers focused on prostitution as the scourge of modernity. With the rise of class-consciousness and position by upwardly mobile Salvadorans, the leaders of these families looked to defend their honor in the courts and protect young women from modernity's other threats. By situating the efforts of Catholic institutions, or those of working-class families in El Salvador in a world historical context, students will gain a sense of the transnational scale of urbanization and moralizing projects, as well as their class dimensions.

El Salvador as Case Study

     At the turn of the twentieth century coffee exports were transforming the Salvadoran economy and society. Particularly since the 1870s, successive governments passed Liberal reforms that promoted export-led economic growth through various methods including privatization of common land, building infrastructure such as roads and ports, and developing a more robust banking system for agricultural investment.9 Although economic benefits disproportionately accrued to the coffee oligarchy and financial elites, the lives of the predominantly rural and poor majority were changing as well, sometimes with catastrophic results. Although the process was uneven, small farms were increasingly consolidated into massive latifundia.10 By 1930, an agrarian elite has acquired the vast majority of the country's land creating a growing rural proletariat.11 Peasant rebellion was followed by massive repression. In January 1932, the military government killed over ten thousand people, mostly peasants, and many of them indigenous. This brutal massacre, know as la matanza or the killing, anticipates the "last colonial massacre" of Cold War Guatemala decades later. In 1932 El Salvador, as during the Civil War in Guatemala, governments particularly targeted and killed indigenous people.12

     This is a world historical phenomenon. Ann Stoler notes that imperial ruination is "a political project (emphasis in the original)…that lays waste to certain people, relations, and things."13 In la matanza, and in nation-states throughout Latin America, physical colonization and conquest of indigenous people continued and often accelerated after the formal independence of Latin American nations. World history helps us understand this process, as time and again massacres marked every stage of colonialism, perhaps escalating near its formal end as in the French and US wars in Vietnam.14 Instructors interested in incorporating Salvadoran content into their world history classrooms can situate it in comparative context, whether focusing on large scale events or small.

     This "second conquest" of the Americas, orchestrated by subaltern oligarchs but disproportionately benefitting capitalists from the Global North, reveals how colonization and conquest continued and accelerated into the twentieth century.15 Delivering industrialization, urbanization, proletarianization and privatization, this conquest transformed the physical and social landscape. Bringing opportunities to some, narrowing those of others, and sinking others into desperation, the process was profoundly gendered. Some women without access to wage labor or family, were trapped in their communities, while others, either younger or with some resources, or through men, attempted to change their lives. We will look at some of these women, who despite being buffeted by the winds of change, nonetheless sought to chart a path of their choosing.


     Wage labor jobs provided some Salvadoran women with opportunities for greater physical mobility as well as productive and reproductive independence. In addition to the many new jobs created by the coffee and related industries, workshops in towns and cities employed scores of thousands of workers. By the 1920s a "relatively large nuclei of artisans," and about 50,000 urban workers overall, were in the departmental capitals and other primary cities.16 Alongside these formal wage-labor positions, demand for laundresses, domestic servants, street vendors, and sex workers increased. As women struggled to make a living, their mobility and independence undermined the government's efforts to have orderly streets and make parents to control their children and dependents. Officials and police removed vendors and sex workers from the streets, sometimes using violence, and arrested young women who had run away with their lovers, defying parental and societal expectations. Women intervened through Catholic rescue organizations like the Sisters and the Ladies, but also as social workers and midwives. Even mothers intervened by using the legal system to defend family interests.

     Public hygiene campaigns lent the prestige of scientific management to the obsession with containing women's sexuality, using all of the legal and medical means at their disposal, yet the implementation of policy and the political rhetoric rarely aligned. Combating venereal disease was a transnational project and every modernizing government regulated prostitution in response to newly medicalized public health concerns.17 Salvadoran military officials proclaimed that prostitutes threatened the moral fabric as well as the health of the nation, yet continued an unofficial policy of toleration from the 1920s. Because the toleration was almost always informal, and was not legal or formal decriminalization, the consequences for female workers were negative. Police and public health officials ignored the abuses suffered by women, or were the abusers themselves, and some even actively profited from the brothels themselves. Much like the economic laissez-faire ideology of modernizers resulted in repression of wage laborers, this supposedly hand-off policy existed alongside very direct intervention and abuse.

     The Salvadoran public and political leaders were aware of how governments in the global north repressed or tolerated prostitution, regulated the actions of teenagers, managed public space, or embraced particular visions of nationalism, but their vision was primarily local.18 For instance, when the regime of Hernandez Martinez debated combining assaults on clandestine houses, bars, and dance halls with a restoration of zones of tolerance, of course they referenced policies from countries. However, officials and editors who engaged in this debate during the 1935 presidential elections focused primarily on local conditions and the country's past practices. In the 1930s, there are numerous examples of town officials or local residents defending the prior decade's policies of toleration, and they too primarily referenced their own past and not global examples. In one case, a group of residents petitioned the city government of Sonsonate to restore a zone of tolerance (zona de amor libre), as they had in the prior administration, arguing that "controlled prostitution" protected the home by channeling men's sexual urges.19 However, the policies always targeted the women's bodies, as police and sanitary or "prophylactic" authorities would forcibly examine prostitutes and hospitalize them, ostensibly to prevent the propagation of venereal diseases.20 As was the case around the world, medical officials only saw women as the vectors of disease, and did almost nothing to control the behavior of the male customers.

     Public anxieties regarding prostitution and "white slavery" became linked to anti-immigrant fears and tensions in El Salvador as well. The debate was particularly visible in the early years of military rule in the 1930s. The press fanned public fears stoking the xenophobia, anti-Semitism and racism surrounding sex trafficking. The Catholic newspaper, El Tiempo, not only blamed Jewish merchants for this practice, but repeatedly alleged Judaic threats to Salvadoran society and religion. They argued that the Sisters of the Good Shepherd through the institution of the women's prisons, were necessary to combat sex trafficking.21 In the early 1930s, Catholic and secular newspapers alike, alongside public officials, scapegoated Middle Eastern people (described generically as Turks/los Turcos even though the largest group was Palestinian) and Chinese immigrants in El Salvador for the nation's problems. Interestingly, during the conflict over the Central Market, some Salvadorans complained that the Chinese were too patriarchal, and argued that the state needed to protect Salvadoran women and their children from these predatory men. While they did not often use the explicit language of miscegenation, they mentioned the suffering of these men's Salvadoran wives.22 Similarly, officials seeking to expel Chinese and Palestinian merchants made nationalist claims about protecting Salvadoran market women. In all these conflicts and debates, ultimately the male Salvadoran merchants and owners of the Market primarily benefited most, and the mostly female itinerant vendors outside its walls faced increased repression and marginalization.


     Like the government officials and newspaper editors who sought to protect families from prostitutes, or market women from foreigners, yet promoted laws and policies that strengthened the position of men, parents and other heads of households limited the independence of female minors ostensibly for their protection and to defend their honor. Despite their attempts to leave their family homes, and establish romantic households with a person of their choosing, parents and guardians had these young people arrested, the young men accused of rapto and estupro. These charges, formally kidnapping through seduction and deflowering, are part of a history of valorizing chastity. The justification for the laws was to protect young women from the costs of losing their virginity, and to save their families from dishonor, but in many countries the number of these cases increased with the rising demands of the working class and the increased mobility of young people.

     The law's purpose was to defend the honor or middle-class or well-to-do young women, whose lost virginity would impair their ability to marry appropriately. By law and custom, people generally assumed that the seduction (rapto) of a chaste young woman resulted most commonly from a false marriage promise. Thus forcing the perpetrator to marry the victim was seen as a form of restorative justice, to which working-class and artisan families demanded access. Claiming honor to be above class, matriarchs sought to recuperate their daughters' reputations: these working-class mothers, aunts, grandmothers and step-mothers, wanted public recognition of their honor. Regardless of the outcome of the actual trial, by publicly declaring that these sexually active young women were virgins before the act, and that marriage or a "permanent" union followed, they laid claim to sexual honor in their communities. If the young woman was over 12 and not a doncella or virgin at the time of the seduction, no crime was committed. A child of twelve or younger could not consent to sex, so that act was always rape (violacion). If the couple married, the young man would no longer be guilty of seduction, and to that aim, the first step in the legal process was mediation.23

     The heads of family were willing to subject the young women to invasive and humiliating physical exams in defense of this honor. Because virginity was a prerequisite for women having honor, the courts required a vaginal exam in order for a rapto or estupro case to proceed. As early as the 1910s in Santa Ana and the largest cities such as San Salvador, the medical examiners (medicos forenses) for sex crimes were male doctors. However, as late as 1957 in Chalatenango, midwives still routinely performed the exams. Whether they were female midwives or male doctors, traditionally a master and apprentice worked together, and through the exams defended these gender codes designed to protect virginal women and distinguish them from the sexually active.

     Crimes of honor were a central part of medieval European criminal codes, therefore some scholars argue that despite their persistence into the twentieth century, they are colonial relics. However, in both Brazil and El Salvador, arrests in honor cases increased in the first half of the twentieth century, and only declined after the 1950s.24 This is the extension of what Lugones describes as the modern colonial gender system, which privileged a particular set of behaviors and norm—including marriage and premarital virginity.25 Elites, concerned about the effects of industrialization and urbanization, the changed nature of work, and of women's wage labor sought to impose these norms on ordinary people. These efforts collided with the responses by young women, who were empowered, or at least had their access to mobility increase. Transnational or subaltern elites, reformers, as well as poor and working-class women grappled with the complicated and contradictory nature of this gendered system. Of all the sources students will analyze in this course, the criminal courts cases best reveal the motivations of the women involved and are central to the sample assignments. Repeatedly, the intended subjects of these laws—young women—used the courts themselves to resist and reshape the very interpretations of honor, as well as to gain access to that valuable resource.26  We see that in the case of a young sex worker named Evelyn (see assignment below) who despite suffering abuse by police officers, public health officials and law clerks, nonetheless persisted until she was released from custody, and the perpetrators named, if not punished. In addition, we have the example of Otilia (see assignment below) who resisted efforts by her mother to deny her physical and sexual autonomy.


     Rising demand for coffee (and cotton, dyes, etc) among the consumer classes of Europe helped drive Salvadoran economic growth, build the fortunes of elite families, and motivated policies that privatized land and unmoored peasants from their farms. These same processes, driving industrialization and modernization, also brought Chinese and Palestinian merchants and entrepreneurs to El Salvador, and European Jews to Argentina or the USA. While it may seem at first that many Salvadoran issues are specific or isolated, we soon recognize that elites throughout the West deployed religion and xenophobia to blame Jews for white slavery, demonized Arabs/turcos, or promoted marriage and virginity to control "wayward" women. Because it is a poor country at the margins of world economics and politics, and was formally independent for a century, using twentieth-century El Salvador to teach the world history of gender and sexuality reveals connections we might otherwise miss.

     The cautionary tales warning girls and young women about the seductions of the big city reflect broader demographic and social changes, as increasing number of working-class women entered the wage labor force. We can compare the changes in Buenos Aires to Medellin or Mexico City, but also to New York and Chicago, to Paris and London, or to Tokyo, Shanghai, Calcutta or Lagos. Young Salvadoran women who asserted their independence and eloped in greater numbers were often not aware of their connections to women around the globe. Nor did they understand how global processes shaped their lives. However, we can now introduce undergraduates to the personal and intimate side of world historical process revelatory of a shared human history, even when we are unaware of them, by means of an assignment in comparative history. The appended assignment guides students to complete research in primary and secondary sources comparing developments in El Salvador to one other place. By conducting research on other cultures, students will actively reconstruct world history through a gendered lens. In survey courses, or in upper level courses on modernization, instructors can walk students through the theories of modernization, the basic history of El Salvador, and the particularities of women's lives in the 20th century. When compared to women's lives elsewhere, a panoramic view of the gendered aspects of the human experience comes into view, thus disrupting stereotypes of Latin America and the "third world."

Appendix: Sample assignment

In this assignment, students will complete a short research project comparing the impact of modernization on women's lives in El Salvador and one other place where similar developments occurred. How are they both part of a modern colonial gender system?

Part One:

Review Salvadoran primary sources including general public statements about women's roles (both elite rescue workers and poor wayward women); a trial of a runaway; and a trial of a prostitute

A.   Newspaper accounts in Catholic and secular (private and official/government) newspapers of the efforts and pronouncements of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd and Ladies of Charity, to save women from the "scourge" of prostitution, the moral and public health effects of sex work on society, and the causes of prostitution as presented in these articles/ accounts

B.   Selected Transcripts of Criminal Court Records (examples)—these will be translated, and edited for clarity, but students who read Spanish will have access to the original transcripts, and all students can look at the digital copies of the original court records

1)   "Exhibición Otlilia L," Archivo General de la Nación de El Salvador (AGN), Fondo Judicial (FJ), Santa Ana Criminales (SAC) 1912 (Box 83–9).

Runaway: In 1912, fifteen-year old Otilia L, was arrested despite claiming that she had done "nothing wrong," and was "shocked" when agents of the police arrested her on the street. The official written response, which came from doña Virginia Barrientos, Rector of the Departmental Women's Prison (Cárcel de Mujeres de Santa Ana), was that Otilia had committed the crime of home abandonment (abandono de hogar). Police arrested Otilia because her mother had filed a criminal petition. Otilia's mother also registered a complaint against a young man named Pedro A for kidnapping or seducing (rapto), and then deflowering (estupro) her minor daughter. Although Otilia's case was similar to many "honor" or virginity cases in previous decades, this young woman's performance before state officials was different. In the depositions that followed, Otilia not only publicly defied her mother, but also the sexual norms that expected women to protect their virginity, and if they surrendered it, to only do so grudgingly and certainly without expressing physical pleasure or sexual desire. Instead, Otilia told the judges that although she was a virgin before having "carnal relations" with Pedro, her decision to have sex with him was fully consensual (con su entera voluntad). When she used the term "carnal," as opposed to the more supplicant and common "illicit," Otilia further countered the usual scripts of these proceedings. While it is technically possible that she was unaware of the usual narratives of the court, social expectations of young women facing authority figures, and may not have fully understood the legal codes, the evidence suggests she was at least a calculating figure. After all, in an effort to protect her lover, she also lied to the authorities about her age, telling them she was 17 when she was in fact only 15. Although Otilia's mother won the legal battle by having her daughter held in prison for 30 days for home abandonment, the outcomes did not always favor or please the family members who mobilized police and judicial authorities.

2)   "Contra Juan Antonio Moreno por falsificación de la firma de al meretriz Evelyn M," AGN, FJ, Santa Ana Criminal Cases (criminales), 1940, Inventario no. 220

Prostitute: State officials charged with protecting these women, often took advantage of them. Arguing they were a threat to public health and morality, or simply because they were simply vulnerable, they were abused in many ways. Because of their legal status, police could arrest them, and public health officials could repeatedly transfer them from location to location, or hold them in the Venereal Hospital for weeks. For instance, sixteen year-old Evelyn was held for eighteen days. She repeatedly demanded an examination to prove her health and secure her freedom but was victimized by a local merchant and law student who promised to help her prepare her appeal, in exchange for money and apparently also sexual favors. The student collaborated with the supervising doctor, and even admitted their "arrangement" before police and Hospital officials but were not charged with any crime. Evelyn lost her individual rights once she was accused of being a threat to public health and was captured by the police and Public Health departments. The laws and social practices of the military regimes protected the men, and the social and sexual order, therefore prostitutes' individual liberties were continually trampled by police and public health agents.

SLO—Application of Historical Knowledge—Students will provide historical context for the primary sources listed above through secondary source material including required texts, lectures and discussion

SLO—Low-Stakes Writing Assignment—In an informal writing assignment, students will use evidence from primary and secondary sources to develop basic argument

Part Two:

Select another country where similar developments are documented. Identify and present three primary sources; one reference essay; one book; and one scholarly article. Include at least six sources. You can use Wikipedia in your search but it cannot be one of the sources.

Present on the research and writing process

SLO—Application of theory to examples—Students will be able to identify places and time periods where modernity (industrialization, urbanization, and government policy), state action and gender (policies towards marriage, prostitution, and juvenile girls) intersect

 SLO—Information literacy—Students will use the internet or library resources to find and evaluate an array of primary, secondary and tertiary sources.

SLO—Oral Presentation—Students will articulate, in a five minute informal presentation and discussion, their research, writing and editing process in language understandable to their classmates

Part Three:

Complete a draft of the five-page paper, bringing a copy for peer review

SLO—Writing—Students will write a five page paper, that includes an introduction, conclusion and properly cited footnotes and works cited page

SLO—Writing—Students will formulate a clear thesis supported with specific evidence

SLO—Writing/Comprehension—Students will use the terms modernity and gender demonstrating both a basic understanding of the concepts, but also how they apply to these particular historical examples.

Aldo Garcia Guevara is Associate Professor of History at Worcester State University (


1 "…seduce la oferta de dadivas y lujos.  …maldito negocio que una mujer perversa viene a ofrecerles, adulándolas, y mintiéndoles inicuamente.  …mujeres indefensas. la sociedad se cruza los brazos…" from "La Trata de Blancas, Vergüenza Social en Nuestro País," El Tiempo (21 December 1933).

2 "Trata de Blancas," El Tiempo (1933).

3 "Noble y hermosa finalidad la que sustenta la Sociedad de Señoras de la Caridad, que en esta cuidad existe," El Día (22 April 1931) and "La obra de la "Sociedad de Señoras de la Caridad," El Día (23 April 1931).

4 Salvadoran President Maximiliano Hernandez Martínez (1931–1944) passed an executive decree that repealed the provision that a registered prostitute, on marriage, was automatically removed from the register, in December of the same year. The decree, which legally increased state surveillance over these women, claimed that the provision was being abused in order to remove prostitutes from official supervision. "F.P. Corrigan to U.S. Secretary of State: El Salvador News Summary," U.S. National Archives (Washington D.C.), RG 84, DF 800.0276 (December 1935).

5 Aldo Garcia Guevara, "Imperial Detritus and the Project of Modernity: Sexuality, Honor and Power in the Bedroom and the Courtroom in El Salvador 1910–1960," The Journal of World History (December 2017)

6 Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, trans by Talcott Parsons (orig. 1937; Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2013), and Immanuel Wallerstein, World-Systems Analysis: An Introduction (Raleigh: Duke University Press, 2004).

7 Andre Gunder Frank, "The Underdevelopment of Development," Monthly Review 18:4 (September 1966): 17–31; Walter Rodney, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa (orig. 1973; Baltimore: Black Classic Press, 2011); W.W.Rostow, The Stages of Economic Growth: A Non-Communist Manifesto (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1960).

8 Maria Lugones, "Toward a Decolonial Feminism, Hypatia Vol. 25, No. 4 (FALL 2010), pp. 742–759.   In the 21st century, many more feminist scholars and gender theorists have addressed coloniality and decoloniality.

9 Political Liberalism included support for constitutional republics, popular sovereignty, civil equality, individual representation, separation of Church and state, and a division of powers. Economic Liberalism included support for privatization of land and wealth, a national banking system, infrastructure investment for export-led growth, and public investments in the wealthiest members of society. Most Latin American Liberals promoted economic development, and embraced a global division of labor, while promoting only limited popular political participation. For a classic text outlining how government support for the coffee industry drove the industry's expansion, see Hector Lindo-Fuentes, Weak Foundations. The Economy of El Salvador in the Nineteenth Century (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990).

10 Aldo Lauria-Santiago, An Agrarian Republic: Commercial Agriculture and the Politics of Peasant Communities in El Salvador, 1823–1914 (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1999).

11 Steve Topik and Allen Wells, eds. The Second Conquest of Latin America: Coffee, Henequen and Oil during the Export Boom, 1850–1930 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1997).

12 Greg Grandin, The Last Colonial Massacre: Latin America in the Cold War (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004).

13 Ann Stoler, Imperial Debris: On Ruins and Ruination (Raleigh: Duke University Press, 2013), 11.

14 Hector Hugo Trinchero, "The Genocide of indigenous people in the formation of the Argentine Nation-State," Journal of Genocide Research, 8(2): June 2006.; Andrea Smith, Conquest: Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide (Durham: Duke University Press, 2015); Helle Rydstrom, "Politics of Colonial Violence: Gendered Atrocities in French Occupied Vietnam," European Journal of Women's Studies, vol. 22, Issue 2 (2015)

15 Steve Topik and Allen Wells, eds. The Second Conquest of Latin America: Coffee, Henequen and Oil during the Export Boom, 1850–1930 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1997).

16 Aldo Lauria-Santiago and Jeffrey Gould, To Rise in Darkness: Revolution, Repression and Memory in El Salvador, 1920–1932 (Durham: Duke University Press, 2008).

17 Helle Rydstrom, "Politics of Colonial Violence: Gendered Atrocities in French Occupied Vietnam," European Journal of Women's Studies, vol. 22, Issue 2 (2015) versus Sonya Lipsett-Rivera, "The Intersection of Rape and Marriage in Late-Colonial and Early-National Mexico," Colonial Latin American Historical Review 6:4 (1997): 559–90. And even valuable studies that analyze processes across time and space are still constrained by the geographic boundaries—in this case the British Empire—of the archives themselves. Philippa Levine, Prostitution, Race and Politics: Policing Venereal Disease in the British Empire (New York: Routledge, 2003).

18 Aldo Garcia Guevara, "Prostitution and Public Health in El Salvador 1910–1960," (unpublished manuscript).

19 "Lo que dicen los diarios," U.S. National Archives, RG 84, DF 800.000 (1935).

20 "Zona de tolerancia en Santa Ana," El Día (31 May 1932).

21 El Tiempo (21 February 1931).

22 Aldo Garcia-Guevara, "Military Justice and Social Control," Dissertation: University of Texas (2007).

23 Salvadoran criminal code, 1910s and 1930s

24 Sueann Caulfield. In Defense of Honor: Sexual Morality, Modernity and Nation in Early Twentieth Century Brazil. (Durham: Duke University Press, 2000).

25 Elizabeth Dore and Maxine Molyneux, eds, Hidden Histories of Gender and the State in Latin America (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2000).

26 For just a couple of analyses of elopement in Latin America see: Verena Martinez-Aler, Marriage, Class and Colour in Nineteenth Century Cuba: A Study of Racial Attitudes and Sexual Values in a Slave Society (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1974) and Kathryn Sloan, Runaway Daughters: Seduction, Elopement, and Honor in Nineteenth-Century Mexico (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2008).

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