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Wives walking away: concubinage, adultery, and violence in late colonial Bahia

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>23/02/2022
<mark>Journal</mark>Women's History Review
Issue number2
Number of pages22
Pages (from-to)294-315
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date19/04/21
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This article re-examines colonial Latin American violence and adultery through the lens of concubinage and female migration. It re-evaluates heterosexual domestic violence, the socially-acceptable conditions for women to leave relationships, and the extent to which male partners were deemed culpable for their actions. It adjusts traditional narratives that dichotomise wives and concubines to instead consider wives as concubines and how this repositioning of their social status opened new opportunities for female migration, invited tacit social acceptance, and affected concubines’ power, honour, and status in their local communities. Studying the lives of three adulterous concubines, this study argues that not only was solitary migration a fairly common experience for concubines in late colonial Bahia, but that such mobility constituted a wider strategy of feminine honour negotiation through the use of ‘honour-neutral spaces’. This article offers a new perspective on gendered experiences of mobility, domestic security, and violence in late colonial Bahia.