A well-known Chicana poem about Malinche. Tafolla took inspiration from the famous 1967 poem of the Chicano movement, “Yo Soy Joaquín,” but rewrites from an explicitly feminist perspective. The poem addresses the scene of European colonization, charting Malinche’s fate—as conquered woman, traitor, invincible survivor. Tafolla heightens the tension between traitor and survivor, raped slave and... Read More »
This selection comes from the autobiography of Bahina Bai (1628-1700), a Hindu poetess. Most of what we know about Bahina comes from her own writings, where she tells her life story. Born into a family of the Brahmin—or priestly—caste, she was married at the age of five to a widowed thirty-year-old priest, in keeping with the practices of the time. From the age of nine, Bahina traveled... Read More »
The following passages offer us a glimpse into the margins of early modern European society. Glückel of Hameln (1645-1724) was born into the Jewish community of Hamburg, a thriving German commercial center. When Glückel was four, the city expulsed its Jewish residents, forcing her family’s exile. Ten years later, Glückel married Hayim of Hameln, with whom she had twelve children. During her... Read More »
The following passage comes from one of the most famous literary works of early modern Europe: François Rabelais’s Gargantua and Pantagruel, first published in four volumes between 1532 and 1552. A satirical chronicle of the journey through France of the giant Gargantua and his son, Pantagruel, the story’s intended audience was the French aristocracy, the educated elite upon whose patronage... Read More »
This excerpt comes from Onna daigaku, or Greater Learning for Women, which is commonly attributed to Kaibara Ekiken (1630-1714), a Japanese botanist and Neo-Confucian philosopher. Ekiken was most concerned with translating Confucian doctrine into terms people from all classes could understand. His Onna daigaku is considered by many to be the most important ethical text for Japanese women, in... Read More »
French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote the philosophical treatise Emile, or On Education in 1762. In it, he imagines a situation in which a young tutor devotes 20 years to raising a single child. In the process, Rousseau lays out many of his fundamental beliefs about the nature of humans and their relationship to society.