Gender, Indian, Nation
The Contradictions of Making Ecuador, 1830–1925
O’Connor begins her investigations by examining the multilayered links between gender and Indian-state relations in nineteenth-century Ecuador. Disentangling issues of class and culture from issues of gender, she uncovers overlapping, conflicting, and ever-evolving patriarchies within both indigenous communities and the nation’s governing bodies. She finds that gender influenced sociopolitical behavior in a variety of ways, mediating interethnic struggles and negotiations that ultimately created the modern nation. Her deep research into primary sources—including congressional debates, ministerial reports, court cases, and hacienda records—allows a richer, more complex, and better informed national history to emerge.
Examining gender during Ecuadorian state building from “above” and “below,” O’Connor uncovers significant processes of interaction and agency during a critical period in the nation’s history. On a larger scale, her work suggests the importance of gender as a shaping force in the formation of nation-states in general while it questions recountings of historical events that fail to demonstrate an awareness of the centrality of gender in the unfolding of those events.