Theresa Ann Smith

in The Emerging Female Citizen

Published by University of California Press

Published in print May 2006 | ISBN: 9780520245839
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520932227 | DOI:

Show Summary Details


The story of emerging female citizens in the eighteenth century does not have as happy an ending as one might have hoped. Spain's nineteenth-century tertulias were dominated by male intellectuals, and the Madrid-based junta de damas did not play the prominent role that it had played only years earlier. Rather than constituting an abrupt shift, the angel-of-the-house paradigm that dominated women's lives in the nineteenth century was rooted in the gendered discourse that came to define women's public role in Enlightenment Spain. The debate over women's admission to the Royal Economic Society of Friends of the Country in Madrid shows just how quickly Spanish intellectuals moved away from the language of universal rights in defining women's place in the country's regeneration. In order to negotiate a place for themselves in the nation's reform movement, women reacting to the male intellectuals' circumscribed version of female citizenship often relied on arguments about the particular merits of women, rather than liberal theory's emphasis on universality and natural rights.

Keywords: Spain; women; female citizenship; intellectuals; Royal Economic Society; Enlightenment; tertulias; junta de damas; universal rights

Chapter.  1220 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.