Unsettling Colonialism

Gender and Race in the Nineteenth-Century Global Hispanic World

Edited by N. Michelle Murray & Akiko Tsuchiya

Subjects: Hispanic Studies, Gender Studies, Women's Studies, Postcolonial Studies, Cultural Studies
Series: SUNY series in Latin American and Iberian Thought and Culture
Hardcover : 9781438476452, 302 pages, October 2019
Paperback : 9781438476469, 302 pages, July 2020

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents

List of Illustrations
Part I. Colonialism and Women's Migrations

1. The Colonial Politics of Meteorology: The West African Expedition of the Urquiola Sisters
Benita Sampedro Vizcaya

2. Eva Canel and the Gender of Hispanism
Lisa Surwillo

3. Gender, Race, and Spain's Colonial Legacy in the Americas: Representations of White Slavery in Eugenio Flores's Trata de blancas and Eduardo Lopez Bago's Carne importada
Akiko Tsuchiya
Part II. Race, Performance, and Colonial Ideologies

4. A Black Woman Called Blanca la extranjera in Faustina Saez de Melgar's Los miserables (1862-63)
Ana Mateos

5. Colonial Imaginings on the Stage: Blackface, Gender, and the Economics of Empire in Spanish and Catalan Popular Theater
Mar Soria
Part III. Gender and Colonialism in Literary and Political Debates

6. Becoming Useless: Masculinity, Able-Bodiedness, and Empire in Nineteenth-Century Spain
Julia Chang

7. From Imperial Boots to Naked Feet: Clarin's Views on Cuban Freedom and Female Independence in La Regenta
Nuria Godon

8. Dalagas and Ilustrados: Gender, Language, and Indigeneity in the Philippine Colonies
Joyce Tolliver

9. The Spanish Carceral Archipelago: Concepcion Arenal against Penitentiary Colonization
Aurelie Vialette


An interdisciplinary analysis of gender, race, empire, and colonialism in fin-de-siècle Spanish literature and culture across the global Hispanic world.


Unsettling Colonialism illuminates the interplay of race and gender in a range of fin-de-siècle Spanish narratives of empire and colonialism, including literary fictions, travel narratives, political treatises, medical discourse, and the visual arts, across the global Hispanic world. By focusing on texts by and about women and foregrounding Spain's pivotal role in the colonization of the Americas, Africa, and Asia, this book not only breaks new ground in Iberian literary and cultural studies but also significantly broadens the scope of recent debates in postcolonial feminist theory to account for the Spanish empire and its (former) colonies. Organized into three sections: colonialism and women's migrations; race, performance, and colonial ideologies; and gender and colonialism in literary and political debates, Unsettling Colonialism brings together the work of nine scholars. Given its interdisciplinary approach and accessible style, the book will appeal to both specialists in nineteenth-century Iberian and Latin American studies and a broader audience of scholars in gender, cultural, transatlantic, transpacific, postcolonial, and empire studies.

N. Michelle Murray is Assistant Professor of Spanish at Vanderbilt University and the author of Home Away from Home: Immigrant Narratives, Domesticity, and Coloniality in Contemporary Spanish Culture. Akiko Tsuchiya is Professor of Spanish and Affiliate in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Washington University in St. Louis. She is the coeditor (with William G. Acree Jr.) of Empire's End: Transnational Connections in the Hispanic World and the author of Marginal Subjects: Gender and Deviance in Fin-de-Siècle Spain and Images of the Sign: Semiotic Consciousness in the Novels of Benito Pérez Galdós.


"…Unsettling Colonialism does not disrupt; it unsettles. Raising critical questions and presenting some compelling examples of the range of issues created by the rise, fall, and revision of Spain's colonialism, the collection represents a careful invitation to reconsider how we make meaning of Spain's global presence." — Anales Galdosianos

"Unsettling Colonialism provides a broad, yet detailed and nuanced study of the roles that gender and race playing in the Spanish colonial enterprise. The chapters are all exceptionally well written. The authors are skilled at balancing the need to recover lost voices while properly situating them within the broader field of postcolonial studies … Unsettling Colonialism should be required reading for any student or researcher of nineteenth-century Spain." — Romance Quarterly

"This volume, edited by Michelle Murray and Akiko Tsuchiya, undertakes an innovative study, probing into the discourses of gender and race that are manifest in Spanish imperialism throughout the nineteenth century … Unsettling Colonialism represents a valuable contribution to Hispanic literary and cultural studies, as well as to postcolonial studies." — Revista de Literatura

"Like Unsettling Colonialism's coeditors, many of the volume's contributors not only specialize in gender and/or race, but also approach these topics through analytical frameworks that allow for the fluidity of Spanish colonialism's geographical, temporal and archival reaches. The result is a collection of essays that provide new readings of canonical texts as well as the incorporation of neglected sources as important artifacts of empire." — Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies

"…it is necessary to emphasize that Unsettling Colonialism is an indispensable work for the times in which the US university system is living. This anthology is an essential resource for addressing the work of decolonization and the opening to diverse voices and cultural manifestations within the Humanities." — Feministas Unidas

"Together these well-written and researched essays are innovative, timely, and informative. Each essay stands on its own as an original and incisive piece of scholarship, but they are also coherently tied together by the theme and theoretical approach of [the] volume … Unsettling Colonialism is required reading for all scholars of fin-de-siglo Spain and is sure to set the course for research in the field for decades to come." — Lectora

"The delightful contributions that comprise Unsettling Colonialism reveal the complex gender and racial dynamics of Spain's overseas enterprises as the nation faced staggering imperial losses … Readers of this engaging anthology will benefit from a greater awareness of the legacies of the Spanish Empire within the nineteenth-century Hispanic world." — H-Net Reviews (H-LatAm)

"Each essay uniquely contributes to the theme of exploring the entanglements of gender and race through individual authors and texts in addition to those discourses that articulate Spanish colonialism and imperialism." — Alda Blanco, San Diego State University