A new book co-edited by Dr. Maria Claudia André, professor of Spanish at Hope College, presents the voices of Latin American women who led the way in the struggle for gender equality and basic human rights.
The book, “Escrituras Extremas” (“Extreme Writings”), collects essays and articles written between 1880 and 1940 by 13 “anarcha-feminist” women from across Latin America who struggled to change traditional gender roles by challenging official institutions such as the government, the church and the educational system. The volume, published in Spanish by Editorial Biblos of Argentina, was co-edited with Marta Sierra of the Kenyon College faculty.
According to André, “Anarcha-feminist movements in Latin America were seeking to restructure the patriarchal establishment that curtailed women’s rights both as citizens and as individuals. In fact, several of the women were imprisoned more than once and, in spite of their impoverished condition, they paid for the publications out of their own pockets.”
The collection of essays showcases writings of women from Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Uruguay, including authors like Virginia Bolten of Argentina, who published the country’s first newspaper written by and for women; Belén de Sarraga of Mexico, who was highly critical of church-run schools for perpetuating bias in favor of men; or Laureana Wright González de Kleinhans, also of Mexico, who called for education as key for the improvement of women’s lives.
André is pleased that the book was published in Buenos Aires, Argentina since essay collections and works such as “Escrituras Extremas” are sold in bookstores to the general public, whereas in the U.S. these publications are more commonly produced for a more limited academic audience.
André and Sierra developed the book with support through a grant from the Great Lakes Colleges Association. Recent Hope graduates Meghan Loree (2016) and Regina Sánchez-González (2015) participated in the project as research students, accompanying Prof. André to locate articles in archives in Mexico City and collaborating on the transcription of the texts.
André is an active scholar and researcher who specializes in Hispanic American literature and Latin American studies in her teaching at the college, and has been a member of the Hope faculty since 1994. Earlier this year, she was named a member of the North American Academy of Spanish Language. She received a Mellon Foundation Mentoring Award in 2015.
She has presented papers at national and international conferences and published articles in multiple literary journals. She has edited or co-edited several other books, including “Chicanas and Latin American Women Writers: Exploring the Realm of the Kitchen as a Self-Empowering Site” (Edwin Mellen Press, 2001), “Antología de Escritoras Argentinas Contemporáneas” (Editorial Biblos, Buenos Aires, 2003), “Entre mujeres: colaboraciones, influencias e intertextualidades en la literatura y el arte latinoamericano” (Red internacional del libro, Santiago de Chile, 2004), “Iconos femeninos latinos e hispanoamericanos” (Floricanto Press, 2006), “Seven Plays by Argentine Playwright Susana Torres Molina” (Edwin Mellen Press, 2007), the “Encyclopedia of Latin American Women Writers” (Routledge, 2008), “En esa habitacion propia” (Sirpus, 2010), “Dramaturgas argentinas de los años 20” (Editorial Nueva Generación, 2010) and “The Woman in Latin American and Spanish Literature” (McFarland and Company Inc., 2012).
André regularly conducts her research collaboratively with Hope students. In honor of her innovative and ongoing use of technology in both her teaching and research, Hope presented her with its “Academic Computing Committee Faculty Innovation Award” in 2014.
André holds a bachelor’s degree in translation and interpretation from the Universidad del Salvador (Buenos Aires, Argentina) and a doctorate in Latin American and Spanish literature from the State University of New York at Albany.