Amalia and the Maid: A critical history of the representation of female domestic servants in Argentine literature and historiography from 1846 to 2008

Author: Ines Dunstan

  • Thesis download: available for open access on 26 Sep 2017.

Dunstan, Ines, 2014 Amalia and the Maid: A critical history of the representation of female domestic servants in Argentine literature and historiography from 1846 to 2008, Flinders University, Centre for Development Studies

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Abstract

This thesis addresses the representation of maids in Argentine literary and non-literary material from 1846 to 2008. Texts are interpreted in relation to the cultural, historical and political context of their production or reception, and readings are sensitive to the problems of national identity, race, gender and sexuality. The thesis argues that the figure of the maid has borne a heavy burden of historical, political, sexualised and racialised meanings. During the course of the period, the subject 'maid' was persistently constructed in response to a variety of ideological, political and socio-economic imperatives. Representations which were generated in specific contexts resurfaced in new contexts and were deployed for new political purposes. These representations include (but are not limited to) the maid as political spy; the maid who attempts to pass as an upper-class woman; the maid as both too-much-the-mother as well as the anti-mother. While this thesis also examines literature that contests persistent negative representations, it argues that even these attempts to 'rescue' the maid are vulnerable to reiterating features of the dominant discourse.

Keywords: Argentina,race,gender,class,domestic servants,colonialism
Subject: International Relations thesis

Thesis type: Doctor of Philosophy
Completed: 2014
School: School of International Studies
Supervisor: Dr Catherine Kevin