Friday, December 4, 2020

Sullivan on infanticide in Reformation Spain

 Nazanin Sullivan published the following article earlier this fall: " 'Performing public piety': infanticide and reproductive agency in Reformation Spain," Women's History Review (29 Oct. 2020). Here's the abstract: 

This article focuses on infanticide prosecution in sixteenth-century Spain, and the judicial fate of women suspected of violating both criminal law and Christian precepts in the era of Tridentine reform. Through court records from the Kingdom of Navarre (annexed by the Castilian crown in 1515), the author explores how women on trial for the suspicious death of their infants co-opted language of Christian maternity and Catholic sacramental morality to craft their defense against prosecutorial allegations of murder and sacrilege. The article argues that accused infanticidal mothers used performative public piety and doctrinal ambiguity surrounding the post-mortem fate of the unbaptized to their legal advantage, not only to plead their innocence but also to assert their reproductive agency before the early modern Spanish court.

Further information is available here

--Mitra Sharafi